As CSUN continues its work to deliver high-quality education for African American students, President Dianne F. Harrison delivered a simple, yet powerful, message at H.O.P.E.’s House Christian Ministries in Granada Hills: A college degree unlocks life-changing and transformative opportunities — for individuals, their families and their communities.
As part of a broader CSU effort to increase the preparation, retention and graduation of African American students, Harrison and Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students William Watkins joined CSU leaders across the state in speaking at predominantly African American congregations. The annual event, known as Super Sunday, has taken place since 2005.
Watkins spoke at Living Faith Cathedral in Lancaster on Feb. 23. Harrison delivered her address on March 1.
The university leaders emphasized the importance and accessibility of college.
Harrison noted that two-thirds of all job openings require a college degree, and that college graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn $1 million more over their lifetimes than graduates with only a high school diploma.
“A college degree can transform your life and put you on the path toward success,” Harrison said. “Students need a college degree today to be competitive in the workforce of tomorrow.”
All 23 CSU campuses rank among the nation’s best universities for providing students with upward social mobility. CSUN is nationally recognized for helping low-income students achieve financial success.
Nearly 85 percent of students who attend CSUs receive some form of financial aid, Harrison said, noting that many CSU graduates earn their bachelor’s degree with no loan debt after graduation.
As an example of the CSU commitment to student success, Harrison discussed the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 — a plan launched in 2015 by the CSU Chancellor’s Office to increase graduation rates, eliminate equity gaps in degree completion and meet California’s workforce needs by the year 2025. CSUN is addressing these issues in a campus-wide effort known as “Matadors Rising.”
“I am happy to share with you that the initiative is working,” Harrison said. “Completion rates are rising for students across the board, from every walk of life, and more students than ever before are graduating from CSU campuses.”
Harrison told the families in the congregation that CSUN looks forward to forging an ongoing partnership with them to help their children succeed. She invited families to attend the Family Education Day that will be scheduled in the fall at CSUN, which will inform the community about educational opportunities and resources to help children achieve their education and career goals.
“The CSU does not end at the boundaries of our campuses,” Harrison said. “We are all part of the same community, a community that thrives together. And together, we can ensure that every student, regardless of their background, family income or status, has the opportunity to earn a college degree.”