Cal State San Bernardino’s University Diversity Committee will present its annual Conversations on Diversity speaker series, featuring five-time world and international boxing champion Mia St. John, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, from noon-1:30 p.m. in the Santos Manuel Student Union.

St. John’s talk, “Overcoming Obstacles,” is free and open to the public. Parking at CSUSB is $6.

St. John, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge, is a first-generation Mexican-American born in San Francisco. She made her pro-debut in boxing on Valentine’s Day in 1997, knocking out her opponent in 54 seconds into the first round. At age 40, St. John became the World Boxing Council (WBC) International Boxing Champion and then captured the WBC Super Welterweight Championship of the World at age 45.

St. John also founded the El Saber Es Poder (Knowledge Is Power) Foundation to empower individuals suffering from mental illness, homelessness, addiction and poverty by providing programs to better educate, inform and improve physical and mental health.

“I was put in this position of fame to enable me to help further the position of my people and to be an inspiration and a role model to Latinos everywhere,” St. John said. “I want them to know that with education, unity, and believing in ourselves, we can overcome any obstacle placed in front of us.” 

In 2014, St. John’s son Julian lost his life after battling schizophrenia and addiction.

“He was the light of my life and I will continue to fight for mental health until I take my very last breath,” St. John said of her son.

Along with eight others, St. John was named a “Mental Health Warrior” by CNN in 2015.

Conversations on Diversity will also feature “The Movement,” presented by Larry Jay Tish, in winter quarter 2018, and “Humanizing War: The Experiences of Soldiers and Civilians During Conflict,” presented by Haider Newmani, in spring quarter 2018.

The University Diversity Committee started Conversations on Diversity in spring 2005, and strives to bring three renowned speakers every academic year to CSUSB on a specific topic of diversity, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, women’s issues, gender and sexual orientation.

To learn more, visit the Conversations on Diversity website.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit