San Diego State hosted the 22nd annual Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education on Saturday. More than 1,200 students traveled from across the state to attend the event, many arriving on buses after traveling the long distance from Northern California.
According to the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education website, the forum began in 1991 and is designed to educate and help minority and low-income students in furthering their education beyond the bachelor’s degree. The ultimate goal is to have more minority, especially Latino and African-American students, achieve doctorates and ultimately have more diverse college faculties which better represent the diverse communities that encompass most universities.
The students began the day with a plenary session held in the Open Air Theatre and were welcomed by the SDSU pep band. Guest speakers included SDSU’s new Vice President of Research and Dean of the Graduate Division Stephen Welter, President Elliot Hirshman, Chief Diversity Officer Aaron Bruce and Education Opportunity Program Director Reginald Blaylock, who gave the keynote address.
“You were selected and this is the only kind of fair in the nation. This is the only time in America that we do something like this. There are over 200 universities waiting to meet you, greet you and tell you they want you,” Blaylock said.
The emotionally charged and inspirational nature of Blaylock’s speech set the festive tone of the event as students battled the briefly windy and rainy weather.
Following the plenary session, students made their way to various classrooms and lecture halls in order to attend the various workshops and lectures. The workshops, which included information on financial aid, furthering education and taking essential exams such as the Graduate Record Examination, were designed to give potential graduate students vital information regarding post-graduate education. At noon, the students ate lunch and were then able to visit more than 200 different university representatives stationed along Campanile Walkway.
“I came to figure out how to fund grad school and get information I need to start the process and seeing what programs are best,” Mathew Zemaneke, a student from California State University San Bernardino, said. “I’ve received a lot of great information and I’m very pleased with everyone I’ve met so far.”
Following the lunch, students continued to attend additional workshops and lectures. The day-long event is hosted in different locations annually.