When Torrell Foree arrived at Cal State Fullerton in 2008 as a first-generation college student, he felt lost and isolated, unsure of what path he should take in life and what major he should pursue.
One day during his sophomore year, Foree’s life would forever change when a fellow African American student stopped him in the Quad and told him about the Alliance for the Preservation of African Consciousness, a student organization dedicated to cultural preservation and awareness and personal development for black Titans.
There, Foree took on leadership roles, developed friendships and even met his future wife.
Later, the undergraduate extended his involvement to the university’s African American Resource Center, where Foree found purpose and meaning in fellowship with fellow black students, discussing music and sports, and watching movies.
Foree graduated with a B.A. in history, African American studies and sociology in 2014, and then returned to Cal State Fullerton two years later to earn his master’s degree in higher education administration.
In 2019, Foree took the role of coordinator of the African American Resource Center at Cal State Fullerton, giving him the opportunity to ensure the next generation of African American Titans have the same resources and connections that transformed him during his university days.
The Impact of the African American Resource Center
“For our black students, they may be the only black student in their classes or major,” says Foree when asked about the unique value-add the African American Resource Center provides to students. “One of the key benefits is they come in here and see and meet other students who look like them. The center offers them a range of support, services, programs and events that help them achieve college success, especially those who are the first in their family to go to college and don’t know how to navigate higher education.”
Foree also points to the center as a place for students to springboard to other on-campus resources, such as the university-wide Career Center, Mihaylo Career Services for business students, health and counseling services, and academic advising, giving them a holistic preparation for success in their academic, personal and professional lives.
“Most importantly, students find community here,” he says. “The center is a place to call home.”
For Foree, the most rewarding aspect of his role is building relationships with the students he serves, such as providing mentoring and writing letters of recommendation for graduate school or career opportunities.
It’s all the more meaningful for Foree considering his personal experience.
“A lot of people helped me as a college student, and now I’m serving in that role,” he says. “It’s gratifying to give back, to pay it forward. And doing it at my alma mater makes it even more special.”
For More Information
Read more about Foree in this article in The Orange County Register.
Find out more about the opportunities and events available through the African American Resource Center. During the coronavirus outbreak, the center provides opportunities for student engagement through virtual formats, and Foree may be reached personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mihaylo College and Cal State Fullerton stands with our African American students, and all of our diverse student body, during this challenging time.