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Fresno State Leaders to Visit Black Churches on CSU Super Sunday
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By News
Published 2 months ago on
February 23, 2024

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Nine Fresno State leaders will visit Black churches on Sunday to inspire a college-going culture and build relationships.

The CSU system has partnered with faith-based leaders in local communities to host CSU Super Sunday since 2005.

Nine Fresno-area churches are part of more than 100 predominately African American congregations participating statewide.


Seeking to inspire a college-going culture among African American youth while nurturing relationships between the university and faith leaders and congregations, nine Fresno State leaders — including President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval — will visit local churches on Feb. 25 as part of CSU Super Sunday.

“Our students are the thread that weaves our community together, and we value the role that congregations play in the life and culture of members,” said Dr. Kent Willis, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Fresno State. “Nearly 60% of our students graduated from a high school in Fresno County. By getting our message out into the community at every level, including neighborhood churches, we are helping future Bulldogs see a place for themselves here at Fresno State. Most of all, we’re working to maintain a connection with families, mentors and community leaders who are all key individuals in the lives of our students.”

The California State University system, through its 23 campuses statewide, has partnered with faith-based leaders in local communities to host CSU Super Sunday since 2005. Campus leaders take a message of access, opportunity, and the transformative power of a CSU degree to Black students in the neighboring community.

Nine Fresno-area churches are part of more than 100 predominately African American congregations participating statewide. During the event, CSU leaders, staff and alumni visit these congregations and speak from the pulpit to encourage future students to pursue higher education.

Jiménez-Sandoval will represent Fresno State at St. Rest Baptist Church’s service at 10 a.m. St. Rest is at 1550 E. Rev. Chester Riggins Ave. in Fresno.

Since its launch in 2005, more than 1 million people have participated in this signature awareness event.

“As we collectively work to advance Black student success across our university system, we want to build lifelong relationships and make sure every one of our Black students attains the life-changing benefits of a CSU degree,” said Dilcie Perez, deputy vice chancellor of CSU Academic and Student Affairs and chief student affairs officer.

In the fall 2023 semester, 2.9% or about 693 students at Fresno State were African American. In 2022-23, 110 African American students earned bachelor’s degrees and 26 earned graduate degrees (including six who earned doctoral degrees).

After the worship services, parents and students will meet with the speakers, alumni and university outreach counselors to receive information about preparing for college, applying to a CSU campus, and applying for financial aid, said Martina Granados, senior director of Outreach and Special Programs at Fresno State.

Several other local churches will also participate, with other speakers:

  • Willis will be at Fellowship Baptist Church.
  • Dr. Rashanda Booker, university diversity officer for Fresno State, will be at Family Community Church.
  • Terree Stevenson, associate vice president and dean of students, will be at Second Baptist Church.
  • Dr. Bernadette Muscat, dean of Undergraduate Studies and interim dean of Library Services, will be at Carter Memorial AME Church.
  • Varselles Cummings, director of Fresno State’s Cross Cultural and Gender Center, will be at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Dr. Robert Mitchell, medical services director of Fresno State’s Student Health and Counseling Center, will be at Mt. Olive Baptist Church.
  • Sade Johnson, interim director of the Black Student Success Initiative, will be at End Times Ministry in Fresno.
  • Dennice McAlister, a counselor with Fresno State’s Student Health and Counseling Center, will be at Saints Community Church of God in Christ.

For more information, contact Martina Granados at martinag@csufresno.edu or (559) 278-5374.

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