Credit: (source: calstate.edu)

Phyllis Kimber Wilcox |

The last Sunday of February,  Cal State University San Bernardino President Tomas D. Morales  addressed the importance  a college education can make in the lives of Black students. 

The speech took place at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in San Bernardino as part of the university’s Super Sunday, where more than one hundred  African American churches are visited by college and university presidents, administrators, students and alumni to spread awareness of and interest in  completing the goal of higher education.

Rev. Steven Shepard delivers sermon at St. Paul AME Church in San Bernardino. (source:facebook.com/stpaulamechurch.soca).

Super Sunday itself is a part of Cal State University’s (CSU’s) African American Initiative, an outreach program which addresses the importance of recruiting and retaining Black students in Cal State University schools. 

The goal of Super Sunday is to share with potential students and their families that a college degree from the CSU is possible, affordable and transformative, and to ensure our commitment to partnering with them from admission to the day they earn their degree and beyond. 

As part of the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025 we are laser-focused on eliminating equity gaps and making a measurable difference in supporting African American students to earn their degrees.

“We will continue to work tirelessly with our faith-based partners throughout the Golden State to bring the lifelong and life-transforming benefits of higher education to every student who dreams of a CSU degree.” said Sylvia Alva , Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs.

CSUSB African American Initiative Outreach Student Initiative. (source: csusb.edu).

During his speech, Morales spoke to the importance of providing encouragement to students to attend college. ” Each of you can be a tremendous help – at home, around the dinner table, in our schools, in the community and here in church – by surrounding your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and godchildren with the message that they can go to college, they must go to college, that it is affordable, and it opens the doors to a world of opportunity and progress for all.”

“I’m here with a message of hope, encouragement and heartfelt optimism. Because I know the great promise and opportunity that Cal State offers for you, your families and our communities.” 

“I’m here with a message of hope, encouragement and heartfelt optimism,” said CSUSB President Tomas D. Morales. (source: csusb.edu).

Morales’ hopeful message may be needed more  now that the Black community has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in addition to the longstanding issues that continue to haunt the Black community.

He also discussed  CalState’s 2025 Initiative. Its goal is to “… help more students achieve the dream of a college degree…”  and to assist students with the services they need to succeed.  Morales knows the difference providing comprehensive support to students can make in their lives because he  received a public school education and was a beneficiary of the educational opportunity program–a program that provided him with the help he needed to reach his goals.

“The fact is that I was poor and I was academically unprepared to go to college, I am not ashamed of that. I recognize that and celebrate that,” Morales shared. “It has taken effort and persistence, but I am reminded and eternally grateful to the opportunities that public education has afforded me throughout my life. It has built my career. I am happy to pay that back through my work, my years working in public higher education, especially here in the Inland Empire.”

The goal of CSUSB’s 2025 Initiative is to help more students achieve the dream of a college degree. (calstate.edu).

“CSUSB has a wonderful African American community of students, faculty and staff. We are proud that the percentage of African American students, faculty and staff in CSUSB is one of the highest of the 23 CSU campuses.” 

“Our Black Scholars program, the Black faculty, staff and Student Association, our Pan African Student Success Center and our many Black student organizations provide a supportive community. A Cal State degree provides our children with direct access to the high-demand, meaningful, well-paying careers of the future.”