Vice Canchellor Loren Blanchard at the pulpit
Story Underrepresented Communities

A Call to Action from the Church Pulpit

Christianne Salvador


Vice Canchellor Loren Blanchard at the pulpit

​​​​​When Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard stood at the pulpit in the City of Refuge Church, hundreds of churchgoers witnessed his call to action to mobilize the children of the black community to get a college education. “I consider myself to be old-school, I believe that it actually takes a village approach - a community approach - to address lingering and troubling issues,” announced Blanchard.

​As part of the California State University’s African American Initiative, Blanchard, along with the chancellor, CSU leaders and campus presidents, participated in Super Sunday on February 28 – speaking at Sunday Service in over one hundred churches across the state to promote the importance of higher education.

In a church full of parents, guardians, kids and teens, Blanchard talked about the components of college planning as he addressed the “persistent and troubling” issue of black adolescents not completing a college degree. “In 2014-15, for every 100 9th graders in the United States, only three of them who goes on to earn a college degree in six years or less are African Americans. The real message today is that there is a national imperative to understand the barriers preventing our students from becoming college graduates and to remove them.”

He explained how the CSU is doing its part to address these barriers by preparing students for college, providing access and supporting student success to its underserved population. “One barrier is preparation. The CSU gets to know students early on, through programs such as Early Start, to help students strengthen their skills in math and English so that they can be prepared to excel in their coursework once they become college freshmen.

“Affordability is another barrier. The CSU recognizes that many of our students cannot afford a college education. This is why most of our undergraduates with family incomes below $70,000 have their tuition costs fully covered by grants. In fact, strong financial aid and relatively low tuition are a big part of why most CSU undergraduates who earn their bachelor’s degrees have zero college loan debt.

“And the third barrier for students of color is the need for continuous support throughout their entire college career. This support comes in the form of strong tutorial programs, strong faculty and staff, regular advisement, undergraduate research engagement, study abroad opportunities – and the list goes on. The CSU embraces its responsibility to ensure that you graduate with a degree that becomes your ticket to success.”

He added that the CSU is in the business of understanding student success, particularly for students of color, and the university is working to create infrastructures to ensure that every student who is accepted into any of the 23 campuses has the tools to graduate and become leaders in their respective fields.

Blanchard concluded his remarks by stating that the CSU community extends beyond its campuses and is part of a larger community that stands and thrives together, offering to speak to anyone in the audience who are interested in supporting his mission:

“We, as a village, have to be partners in the future success of our black children and grandchildren. Now is the time to reach back – all of us – to ensure that there are many more African American young people who can and will complete a college degree. Your support and guidance are critical every step of the way – and you can arm yourself with knowledge by speaking with my colleagues and me from the CSU following today’s service. Be ashamed to die until we have won some victory for humanity. Getting more African Americans college educated can be that greatest victory.”

Click here to learn more about the CSU's African American Initiatives, including Super Sunday.