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President García, Chancellor White Encourage Dreamers

Feb. 24, 2014

Father and son look over material on how to prepare for college.

Yvonne Cuaresma, Titan delegate, left, shares information about the CSU with Aaron White and his 15-year-old son, Caleb, after the service.

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Buoyed by the high energy of a church service filled with joyous song and dance, Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García smiled broadly Sunday when she stepped up to the pulpit to encourage congregants and their families to pursue higher education.

“I am honored to be here with Reverend Whitlock and with all of you,” she said, greeting the more than 300 gathered at Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine for the second service of the day.

Mark E. Whitlock, senior minister, had welcomed her participation in the CSU’s annual Super Sunday effort. During the month of February, the chancellor, campus presidents and members of the board of trustees fan out across the state to speak in churches about how financial aid can make college affordable and how prospective students can start early to prepare for college.

The CSU Seeks Community Partners

Now in its ninth year, Super Sunday, which began with 24 churches, has expanded to include approximately 100 churches throughout the state and has led to the development of a companion college fair event held in August, called Super Saturday.

“Reverend Whitlock and I talked this morning, and we have agreed we’re going to strengthen our partnerships to ensure that all children have the opportunity to come to the California State University system and reach the dreams that they’re supposed to dream with their college education,” said García, who was applauded and affirmed with responses of “amen” throughout her brief remarks.

She asked the congregation to “help us in partnership” to ensure that students in K-12 complete the proper course work to prepare themselves for college entrance and spoke of the financial aid available “so that children can reach their dreams.”

García also urged attendees to visit the information table outside the church entrance, where university staff members and students were distributing materials about CSUF and about preparing for college.

“If every single one of us helps one child get a college degree, what a wonderful place this would be. God bless all of you,” she said. Following the service, García greeted congregants and shook their hands.

Make Education Your Dream

Chancellor Timothy P. White sounded similarly heartfelt notes in his remarks to the members of Trinity Baptist Church in Los Angeles at the 10:30 worship service that same morning.

Thanking Rev. Alvin Tunstill Jr., the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, for the invitation to speak, White told his audience that "the CSU is a national model for very modest costs, very high quality and open doors for anybody and everybody who has the aptitude and the willingness to do the work. Not a lot of universities can say what I just said."

"We have 350,000 undergraduates on our 23 campuses and another 100,000 graduate students. One hundred-and- fourty-thousand of our undergraduates are students whose families earn $20,000 or less annually. So don't let money get in the way of thinking about the dream."

"It's never too early or too late to go to college," White noted. "Last year, our oldest graduating senior was 70 years old and our youngest was 16, with both a bachelor's and a master's degree."

Ending with a reference to the words of Nelson Mandela, White promised the congregation that "through education, we will change the world — for you, and your family, your community, California, this nation and this world." 

White remained with the congregation after the service, visiting and speaking with parents and grandparents of prospective students.

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