California State University, San Bernardino announced that Paulette D. Brown-Hinds will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) at its spring Commencement, scheduled for May 21.

Brown-Hinds is a well-known and widely respected philanthropist, business and community leader who has made significant contributions to different communities throughout the state. She is the founder of Voice Media Ventures and a second-generation publisher of The Black Voice News, the 50-year-old community newspaper and first Black American online news publication on the West Coast.

Under her leadership as the publisher, The Black Voice News has chronicled some of the most important stories impacting the lives of Black Californians by giving a “voice” to the community while expanding its scope of civic involvement, and addressing issues from disparities in health, education and wealth to police violence, social justice and civil rights battles. An award-winning columnist and John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow at Stanford University, Brown-Hinds has nearly 30 years of experience in media, communications and community engagement.

Her interest in local journalism and doing work for the public good has led her to serve on multiple influential boards, including the James Irvine Foundation, American Press Institute, California Press Foundation and the California News Publishers Association, the largest and oldest trade association for the news publishing industry in the state. In 2019, she served as president of the board, becoming the first African American elected to lead the organization. She is also the first African American to chair the Inland Empire Community Foundation board.

She is committed to strengthening the state’s information ecosystem as an essential part of the civic and community infrastructure and co-founded Media in Color, a philanthropically funded initiative designed to assist legacy media outlets serving communities of color with digital transformation. She is also leading an effort to bring together community foundations, community media and philanthropy to financially support local journalism.

As a lifelong student of African-American literature, culture and history, Brown-Hinds leads Underground Railroad Study Tours for the Black Voice Foundation, stewards a collection of rare antebellum slavery artifacts and is the founder of Mapping Black California, a community mapping and STE[A]M (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) initiative. She has published various scholarly articles on 20th century Black women writers. Additionally, she taught expository writing to students in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences as an adjunct professor at CSUSB between 1993-2013. Since 2016, she has served as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Riverside, teaching a course on connecting students in media and the arts with the broader community.

“I was born into a family that values service over self, and I have spent my life serving the community through media, philanthropy and education,” Brown-Hinds said. “It means so much to me to receive this honor from CSUSB, an educational institution that played such an important role in my development as a leader and continues to play such an important role in the region.”

Conferring an honorary doctorate upon Dr. Brown-Hinds in recognition of her profound impact and dedicated service to California, would be a great honor for CSUSB,” said the university’s president, Tomás D. Morales. “As an anchor institution in the region, we would be remiss not to recognize her long-lasting contributions to journalism, culture and arts, and providing a voice to communities.”

Brown-Hinds is a former fellow at the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, Salzburg, Austria. She earned a BA in English literature from California State University, San Bernardino and an MA and Ph.D. in English literature from the University of California, Riverside.