Reaching out to the local African-American community, Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) President F. King Alexander will speak at Antioch Church in Long Beach on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 10:30 a.m. as part of the California State University’s (CSU) Super Sunday, an initiative designed to inform young African-Americans about higher education and encourage them to pursue it.
Additionally, Douglas Robinson, CSULB’s vice president for student services, will speak at City of Refuge in Gardena on the same day at its 8 and 11 a.m. services.
“Encouraging African-American men and women to obtain a college degree is more than a university endeavor,” said President Alexander, who will emphasize that college preparation begins in elementary school and discuss the pathways to college for prospective students. “It’s an important issue that requires collaboration between parents, teachers and religious and civic leaders. Building those relationships is what this Super Sunday is all about.”
The two CSULB leaders are joining CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, trustees and campus presidents who are speaking at Super Sunday events being held at nearly 100 predominantly African American churches throughout the state in February and March.
“Education is the key to a better future for California,” said White. “The CSU’s commitment is stronger than ever to motivate and encourage African-American students to prepare for college and earn a university degree.”
The Super Sunday events, which reach more than 100,000 churchgoers, are part of the CSU’s efforts to educate students and families about the requirements to successfully enter college and obtain a degree. Those in attendance also can receive information about financial aid and the CSUMentor.eduwebsite that provides the tools to plan and apply to CSU campuses.
“This also is an opportunity for us to highlight the value of receiving a college degree,” Alexander pointed out. “By 2018, about 60 percent of all California jobs will require a college degree, and we want to make sure that each year more African American students graduate from college and are able to compete for these jobs. Although more African-American students are succeeding in college, we can do better.”
In a recent report by The Education Trust, CSULB was recognized as one of the top 25 schools in the nation for improving graduation rates for African- American students, crediting the university’s success to implementing programs—such as the Graduation Initiative and the African American Initiative—to boost graduation rates and cut the completion gap in half for minority students.
The report notes that CSULB’s six-year graduation rate for African-American students in 2004 was 38.1 percent, but by 2010 the rate had improved to 50.7 percent, an increase of 12.6 percent.
After the church services, parents and students have the opportunity to talk to CSU representatives and receive a “How To Get To College” poster—a practical guide about how to prepare for college. The guide provides the list of classes that students need to take in the sixth grade through 12th grade to qualify for CSU admission. It also provides tips for parents and mentors to help students succeed.
Super Sunday 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.
Over the years, CSU Super Sunday has grown in both size—it started in 2006 with 11 churches—as well as impact on students. For next fall, the number of applications CSU received from those self-identifying as African-American jumped by nearly 6 percent.
For more information about the list of participating churches, times of service and locations, go to the CSU Super Sunday website.