Serving as an advocate on the critical importance of a college degree in today’s society, Cal State San Bernardino president Tomás D. Morales told the congregation of an African-American church that “education is the key to a better future for our young people,” on Feb. 24.
“It is a known fact that education is the key to a better future for our young people. It has become the necessary admission ticket to good jobs and a middle-class lifestyle,” Morales told members of the Principles of Faith Christian Center in Fontana. “In today’s information-based economy, higher education has replaced a high school diploma as the gateway to a better life, a fact that is confirmed study after study.”
Morales, who is in his first year as CSUSB president, spoke at the Sunday service as part of the California State University’s outreach efforts throughout the state to promote the value of a college education and early college preparation to congregations at African American churches.
Called Super Sunday, California State University Chancellor Tim White, along with university presidents and other representatives from all 23 CSU campuses, have been speaking at nearly 100 predominately African American churches. They’ll travel throughout the state on Sundays in February and March to speak about preparing for college and about applying to a CSU campus and for financial aid.
Morales said it was important that more education opportunities be available to African-American students as well as other minorities.
“I’m personally committed to further strengthening CSUSB’s partnership with this wonderful congregation and other African-American churches, organizations and businesses in the inland region and beyond,” Morales said.
Morales said the university’s outreach efforts have fueled an increase in the number of African-American students applying for freshman admission at CSU campuses, including Cal State San Bernardino.
“At CSUSB, nearly 10 percent of our student body is African American—one of the highest percentages in the 23-campus system. And our first-to-second year retention rate for African Americans also ranks among the best in the CSU,” Morales said. “But there is still more work to be done and we’ll continue to seek your guidance and counsel as we strive to improve in this and other areas.”
Though his talk at Principles of Faith Christian Center was his first opportunity to be part of Super Sunday, Morales has been a longtime advocate for early college preparation.
“It’s critical that we partner with K-12 school systems throughout the region to increase the number of students who are ready to enroll in college-level courses after high school,” he said.
Along with Morales, Milton Clark, CSUSB associate vice president for undergraduate studies, and Jean Peacock, a CSUSB professor of psychology, spoke Sunday at separate services at the Ecclesia Christian Fellowship Church in San Bernardino. CSUSB Athletic Director Kevin Hatcher previously spoke at Temple Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino on Feb. 10.
Since 2006, the Super Sunday event has brought CSU leaders to churches throughout California to educate students and families about the requirements to successfully get into college and ultimately earn a degree. Participants at the services receive information about financial aid and the CSUMentor website that provides the tools to plan and apply to CSU campuses.
More than 70 percent of CSUSB graduates come from families in which neither parent has a college degree, Morales added. Cal State San Bernardino is also the most diverse university in the region, and there is no majority ethnic group on campus. Further evidence shows the achievement gaps among the various ethnic CSUSB student groups are narrowing.
Cal State San Bernardino ranks first in the CSU system for first-to-second year retention for Hispanic students, with 90.5 percent of first-time Hispanic freshmen enrolled at CSUSB in fall 2010 returning in fall 2011. The first-to-second-year retention rate for African-American students on campus also ranks among the leaders in the CSU and is far above the system average.
The annual Super Sunday event is produced by the CSU African American Initiative – a partnership between CSU campuses and African American religious leaders with the goal of increasing college going rates among African American students. Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. Reed founded the initiative eight years ago with the support of CSU trustees, presidents, faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Visit the CSU Super Sunday website for more information.
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.