BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - As part of black history month, CSUB hosts Super Sunday later this month. An event gathering church partners, as CSU campuses across the state, join together to improve graduation rates of African American students within the CSU system.
Cal State Bakersfield President Dr. Horace Mitchell is the University's fourth president and the first African-American to serve as president in the school's 35-year history.
We spoke about his vision for the future of the university and the reasons why he celebrates black history throughout the year.
Dr. Horace Mitchell's career in education spans nearly 50 years from humble beginnings in Clarksdale, Mississippi to prestigious roles as Vice Chancellor at the University of California as well as the first African-American President of Cal State Bakersfield University -- for the past 13 years. "I do feel that there's a responsibility of being the first African American in whatever the role might be because there are many areas where there's never been an African American CEO or, you know, head of an organization," said Dr. Horace Mitchell, CSUB President.
A role, the 72-year-old explains, holds certain responsibility. "This certain amount of pressure on needing to make sure you're successful, alright, because we look around and the history is if a person of color has been in a particular role and they weren't successful then people say, 'Maybe we shouldn't go that way anymore,'" said Dr. Mitchell.
But success has never been far from Dr. Mitchell who is also a first-generation college graduate. In fact, each of the six members that make up his presidential cabinet are also first-generation college graduates.
Broken down, the Cal State University system graduates half of all the African American and Chicano students who graduate from college in the state.
As many celebrate black history this month, Dr. Mitchell explains the overall significance of black history. "For folks who are African-American, or black, it's more than a month, it's the whole year, you're thinking about black history, you're thinking about what's going on in our country, what is it that our forefathers have achieved and what is it that we really need to be paying attention to now," said Dr. Mitchell.
Dr. Mitchell says he has plans to retire in the next few years.
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