For his “unwavering commitment to students’ academic excellence,” California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) President Thomas A. Parham was honored on Feb. 5 with the City of Los Angeles’s Hall of Fame award for “Outstanding Achievement in Education” in the City Council chambers at City Hall.
Hosted by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Our Authors Study Club, the awards ceremony commemorated the contributions of Southern California African Americans in the areas of education, religion, the arts, culture, and the humanities, and kicked off the city’s annual celebration of African American History Month.
The city council also presented recording artist Jeffrey Osborne with the Living Legend Award, and comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish with the Trailblazer Award. Michael Lawson, president of the Los Angeles Urban League, was honored with the Hall of Fame Award for Economics and Civil Rights, and Sandra Evers Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation, received the Hall of Fame Award for Business.
Parham accepted his award on behalf of CSUDH.
“In honoring me, you honor the California State University system, and the campus of Dominguez Hills in particular,” he said. “The CSU is the largest system of higher education in America. Why is that special when it comes to Dominguez Hills role in our region? Because we are a campus of more than 17,000 students who represent a diverse and important demographic. So when you’re looking for diversity, look no further. It sits at your doorstep.”
During his opening remarks, Garcetti said that while many Angelinos are ardent students of history today, they have always been history makers. “Los Angeles has never been a passive bystander of the civil rights struggle, or the advancement of African Americans and those of African descent.”
L.A. City Attorney Michael Feuer offered a few insights about the Hall of Fame inductees. He had met Parham for the first time that morning, so he shared a quote he had read about the president. “When you listen to him speak, you hear a lot of things about Dr. Parham, but most of all, you just feel a lot better,” Feuer read.
“This quote really speaks to what you have cared about the most throughout your life, Dr. Parham,” he added. “It’s apparent that you want people, especially young people, to feel as well as they can about themselves so they may achieve their goals.”
As he closed his remarks, Parham referred to CSUDH as an “international and multicultural mecca of talent that is being trained as the next generation of professionals.”
“Even as we commemorate African American History Month, it is critical to remember that the greatest threat to the lives of people of African descent, in my opinion as a humble psychologist, is not drugs, gangs, poverty, or racism. It is the need for mental liberation,” Parham said. “At Cal State Dominguez Hills, we have committed ourselves to unlocking the shackles of conceptual incarceration that keep people blinded to the possibilities of potential.”