Latinx student walking across stage during CSU graduation ceremony.
Story Diversity

Celebrating Latinx Culture and Academic Excellence

Janessa Thropay

The CSU is committed to being a leader in elevating the education and lives of students within the Latinx community.

Latinx student walking across stage during CSU graduation ceremony.

Photo courtesy of Fresno State​


Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportunity to celebrate the cultures, legacies and contributions of Latinx Americans. As Latinx individuals make up almost half of the California State University's student body—more than 47 percent—it is integral for the CSU to effectively educate and elevate students within this community.

As the CSU's first Latina leader, Chancellor-select Mildred García is committed to continuing the university's efforts and championing success for Latinx students—and all students of color.

“I stand on the shoulders of those who sacrificed so much and who came before us, with the responsibility I owe them to provide all that enter our doors, regardless of who they love, regardless of their background, regardless of their income, to a high-quality education that prepares graduates to uplift their families and be the leaders for our state and our nation," she said during her initial address to the CSU Board of Trustees at its July 2023 meeting.​

Supporting Latinx Students

With 21 out of its 23 universities designated Hispanic-Serving​ Institutions (HSI), the CSU has demonstrated its value in educating Latinx students through providing the guidance and resources necessary to promote their academic success. The HSI distinction allows institutions across the U.S. to compete for federal funding to build institutional capacity that expands and enhances educational opportunities for their students, particularly those of Hispanic descent.

To further support Latinx students, the CSU launched the Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub in 2021 to equip Latinx and other historically underserved students with the skills needed for high-demand careers in STEM. This hub, housed at California State University, Northridge, will work in collaboration with other CSU campuses and HSIs across the nation to accelerate educational equity while ensuring students have the experience to enter the workforce once they've earned their degrees.

Campus programs also allow the CSU to provide Latinx students with the tools and resources to succeed academically and personally. Excelencia in Education named three CSU campus programs as finalists for its 2023 Examples of Excelencia initiative, which recognizes programs promoting Latinx student success:

  • CSUN's Bridge to the Future Scholars Program supports up to 25 Canoga Park High School graduating seniors with a four-year, tuition-free CSUN education. Bridge to the Future students receive the necessary guidance and resources to successfully complete a bachelor's degree.
  • CSUF's Ánimo Latinx Counseling Emphasis program provides counseling graduate students high-quality bilingual and bicultural clinical training that prepares them to work with Latinx and Spanish-speaking clients. Offered in both English and Spanish, the program teaches aspiring mental health professionals how to effectively approach a variety of clinical issues, including those related to the Latinx community, such as intergenerational family conflict, ethnic identity, immigration and intersectionality.
  • Chico State's Graduate Equity Fellowship Program seeks to increase the diversity of students completing graduate degree programs at the university, encourages exploration of doctoral degree opportunities and promotes consideration of university faculty careers. It provides financial support in the form of paid research assistantships and stipends for students from historically underrepresented groups.

Celebrating the Latinx Community

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, CSU campuses will host a variety of social gatherings and workshops​ to shed light on the history of the Latinx community, while also amplifying their lived experiences and accomplishments. Here are a few examples:

  • Cal State LA had their EOP Latinx Heritage Month Celebration on September 16, providing the opportunity to connect, have fun and play traditional games, such as Loteria.
  • Cal State Fullerton presented a virtual event on September 12 called “Latinx Professionals in Science and Math" where a panel of Latinx alumni professionals who work in the science and math industry share their experience and offer advice to students.
  • CSU San Marcos hosted their Heritage Month Kickoff on September 15 to celebrate the Latinx community by listening to live music, playing games and eating cultural food. Students will have the opportunity to enter a giveaway.
  • CSU Bakersfield is encouraging Latinx students to express themselves through poetry, music, dance and other art forms during the campus's Expression Nights set to take place Thursday evening on September 29.
  • Finally, Cal State San Bernardino will host its annual Latino Education and Advocacy Days (LEAD) Summit on September 29. The event, featuring guest speaker CSU Chancellor-select García, will focus on education and violence in schools, community safety and law enforcement. The free, public summit brings together a variety of professionals and community members who share a common interest and commitment to education issues that impact the Latinx community with the intention of building toward a brighter future.

The CSU partners with Latinx communities to increase the college preparation, enrollment and graduation rates of students across the state of California. Learn more about these efforts​, and read past reflections from the CSU's Latinx university presidents.

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