Super Sunday 2009 Blog
Greatness through Service
Super Sunday is not an end unto itself. It is the first step of a yearly journey towards broader, deeper and stronger ties between the CSU and the African American community.
The momentum of Super Sunday does not stop on March 1 – and neither do I or the 23 presidents who visited churches up and down the state. We will keep working as hard as we can to make our campuses even more welcoming to all of California’s richly diverse communities.
Certainly Super Sunday – while not an end – is a great beginning. Super Sunday is great because the people who serve make it great.
To the countless ministers, deacons, educational liaisons, and parishioners who have embraced us so warmly, thank you for your kindness and spirit. To the CSU’s 220 participating staff members and volunteers, thank you for your time and passion.
It is always amazing for me to watch as CSU staff and volunteers remain at the table after a Super Sunday service until every question has been answered, every concern addressed. I smile whenever I hear a CSU staff member say, “If you have any trouble at all, you call my personal number or you email me.”
Too often, big institutions can feel impersonal or cold. All I sense during Super Sunday is personal connection and warmth.
I marvel at how far we’ve come, from reaching hundreds of people to reaching tens of thousands. This month, we visited 70 congregations and next year we will strive for 100. Yet, the success of our program is not measured by the numbers of churches but the degree to which we can serve and prepare large numbers of California’s students for a college degree.
With that, I will close with the same quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that I shared from the pulpit, “we all can be great, because we all can serve.”
Getting on and Staying on Track
As I walked through the congregation at St. Stephen’s Church in Fairfield, I was pleased to see so many young people in attendance because I had a message for them. I told them that I came to this country from Cuba. My parents sent me to live with an uncle when I was 15—with only a dime in my pocket.
My uncle knew the value of learning and saw to it that I had an excellent educational experience. I graduated high school, went on to college and earned my Ph.D. in Political Science in 1983. I am proud to say that having a solid education changed my life and I wouldn’t have been there talking to them without it. More...
A Critical Imperative for the Nation: Higher Education for All
This past Sunday, I was honored to speak at “New Philly” – the New Philadelphia AME Church in Rancho Dominguez. Rev. Sherman Gordon and the congregation were very gracious and welcoming to me and the CSU Dominguez Hills staff and students who attended, and I was constantly struck by how critically important it is to reach out to the communities we serve and to establish strong ties in order to support the young people in our region. Seeing so many of our alumni at these services was particularly gratifying. More...
Experiencing a Transformation
In writing this blog entry, we began to think about what ‘education’ means. True education comes down to the transformation of a person. A student becomes a novice, a novice becomes an expert, and an expert becomes a teacher.
Throughout the four years of the CSU African American Initiative, which includes the Super Sunday program, we have witnessed countless transformations. Having watched Chancellor Reed take on the role of an advocate of the community, rallying a congregation to their feet and answering shouts of “Amen,” we have felt truly inspired and transformed.
Not infrequently, the passion of a Super Sunday speaker has brought tears to the eyes of those in the congregation.
Across California we’ve seen communities ready for change, hungry for transformation. At the first Super Sunday in West Angeles cathedral the CSU provided a few boxes of materials, thinking what we had would be sufficient. We were cleared out of fliers, posters and cards after the first service. More...
Super Sunday 2009 Takes Steps-to-College Church-to-Church
We Still Have Much to Do
During the last four years, CSU Super Sundays have offered me the wonderful opportunity to visit African American churches and encourage youth to go to college and graduate with a degree. These activities by CSU leaders have contributed to increasing African American students’ college undergraduate attendance by 20 percent in the CSU.
While this is a significant increase, there is still much to do for these students. Currently only 19 percent of African American high school graduates are college ready in California. Further, two out of three African American college graduates are female. Thus, we must continue to address the decline of African American males in higher education.
As a society, we must continue all efforts to improve the college-going rate of all of our youth. However, the real benefit of the last four years is establishing relationships between higher education and churches representing their communities.
One Word: Algebra
On Sunday morning, I had the privilege to address the congregation at Full Harvest International Church in Gardena. The hospitality was warm and gracious; and, as a participant in every past Super Sunday, I was once again inspired by the unyielding commitment to build a just society through faith and education.
I outlined how the path to success travels through higher education. I said that path is open to those determined to prepare themselves for its rigor. I also told the assembly that there is one word I especially wanted them to remember in the days to come: Algebra.
Why? Because the biggest obstacle to CSU admission is not money. California and the CSU have a great deal of financial aid and scholarships available. Also, because CSU fees are comparatively very low, our students finish college with much less debt than students at other state universities and private institutions. More...
Fulfilling the University's Mission
Though I've spent a lifetime in public higher education, attending, teaching and working on campuses from Washington to West Virginia to Texas, I have never experienced greater diversity than I've found at San Jose State. I'm a new president, having taken office this past July, and when I first visited SJSU at the time I was being interviewed for the job, I immediately recognized its diverse students, faculty and staff as a real asset. Not only are we at SJSU fulfilling our commitment to access, but also greatly enhancing our educational environment. More...
Continuing to Prepare Ourselves
As Super Sunday approaches, the buzz is in the air and excitement fills the pews of the Worship Center Community Church. It’s hard to believe that a University President will be visiting our church to recruit and inform students of the benefits of attending one of the many California State Universities. More...
Be Prepared to Succeed
When asked to participate in the Cal State University system Super Sunday program, an excellent recruiting effort, I accepted with pleasure. It is more critical now than ever to make sure all of our youth have access to and know the importance of a good college education, an essential survival tool in our fast-changing world. As change is embraced by our nation, especially with the Obama Administration, let’s continue to motivate and prepare our young people for college. Families, community and business leaders, mentors -- we must all do our part to support and inspire them.
While it seems like light years ago when I attended college (electronic calculators were a big deal back then), all of the learnings still apply. Solid written and verbal communications skills, knowing how to adapt to technological advancements, staying connected to the community -- these are all elements developed and strengthened by a college education. More...
An Invitation to Super Sunday Southern California
Attention Parents: Now is the Time to Prepare
There is more to the college admission process than just filling out an application. The process takes time, thought, effort and organization. Preparing yourself prior to junior year is the key. I started having conversations with my son the summer before he entered high school. We discussed the high school graduation requirements, his preference regarding in-state vs. out-of-state, urban vs. rural location, small vs. large student population, potential majors, and finally as a starting point the admission requirements to a four-year university in the state of California. Those early conversations helped narrow his selection of which university to apply to. You have an opportunity to start preparing on Sunday, February 22, 2009. More...
College Preparations Begin Now
We have a tradition every semester at Sacramento State’s commencement ceremonies.
We ask those who are the first in their family to graduate from college to stand, and we give them a round of special applause. More...
Yielding Real Results
What exciting and inspiring times we live in. Today, an African American is president of the United States. Young men and women in our communities can look to the highest office in the nation – some may say the most powerful position in the world – and see a role-model.
I have long held high expectations for what our nation could achieve. Every child has the ability to succeed and should be afforded the opportunity to do so.
President Obama has shown the heights that can be reached; it is for us to realize those heights. I can tell you that the California State University (CSU), as the largest university system in the country, is committed to delivering on the promise of higher education. More...
An Era of Change
This past Sunday, those of us from the CSU had the great privilege of being hosted by Temple Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino.
President Albert K. Karnig of Cal State San Bernardino addressed a packed house during the 9:30 a.m. youth service. To rounds of applause and shouts of Amen, the president spoke of an era of revolutionary change. “Moments like these can change history, but only if they’re seized. Only if you capture them,” he said. More...
Look Ahead and Dream
There is an elementary school in Oakland where a sixth grade teacher has decided to name her classroom after Cal State East Bay as part of that school’s effort to create a college-going culture for students.
The teacher and her students are decorating their classroom at Elmhurst Community Prep Middle School with Cal State East Bay posters, pennants and other items to remind themselves of the importance of goal-setting and how preparation, even in middle school, is the key to getting into college.
“We’re hoping to create a future class of CSUEB students,” the teacher told us.
These youngsters are learning a valuable lesson at a school where positive reinforcement is considered fundamental in order for students to dream, plan for, and achieve their goals. Every student graduates ready to continue their college preparation in high school. More...
An Invitation to Northern California’s Congregations
My name is Bishop Yvette Flunder, and I’m the senior pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ, San Francisco, CA.
We are in partnership with the California State University system in the Super Sunday program. State wide, this program reaches out to communities that have been historically marginalized and underserved. More...
A Million Dollar Decision
Education is an increasingly vital element in the success of young people. It must start early, with students learning to read well and do simple mathematics. And it's crucial that they understand that a successful high school education is an essential step toward a productive career.
But given the powerful trend toward a knowledge-based economy, a college education has become increasingly valuable - with college graduates on average earning a million dollars more over their lifetimes than those with only high school diplomas. And when students graduate from college, they bring their incomes and many additional skills back to the community. More…
Extending an Open Hand
I have been privileged to participate in events for a number of important causes during my involvement with the CSU. Super Sunday stands out among these events, because it serves the cause of access to higher education so strongly.
I believe in access. Previously as a member of the Board of Governors for the Community Colleges, and now as a CSU trustee, I have often advocated policies that protect access and quality in California higher education. More...
Transforming People’s Lives
When I was asked to write this blog for Super Sunday I began to reflect on my life as a member of Antioch Church of Long Beach and the transformation it has gone through as well as my personal transformation. I have been a member of Antioch for 31 years, back when it was Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. I went to Sunday school there, I was baptized there, I sang in the youth choir and I was married by the church’s pastor. The church congregation was at one time large, then small, then large again. We were shaken by the death of Reverend Joe Chaney but renewed by his grandson Pastor Wayne Chaney, Jr. More...
Unlocking Our Brightest Future
District Trustee John Futch.
I am so pleased that Cal State leaders are visiting our inland community. We have great potential, but too much of what we could be has not been realized. Unlocking our brightest future requires united action by our community’s civic leaders, businesses, colleges and universities.
For nine years I worked at Cal State San Bernardino. I spent many of those years directing the Cross-Cultural Center, and serving as a mentor to students. I learned something very important during that time – culture matters. More...
A Renewed Sense of Purpose
Welcome to California State University’s Super Sunday website, and our Super Sunday blog.
Super Sunday is always a great way to start the year. I personally feel a renewed sense of purpose after speaking in front of a congregation and meeting with parents, students, community and religious leaders. It is truly reaffirming of the university’s mission of access and academic excellence.
For the last four years, in scores of churches throughout the state, Cal State leaders have issued a call to action: "Now is the time to prepare for college!" More...