In recognition of Stater Bros. Markets’ work with Cal State San Bernardino to promote higher education, and education in general, and its ongoing service to the community, the university will name its online bachelor of arts in administration program after the grocery chain.

The program will be known as the Stater Bros. Markets Online Bachelor of Arts in Administration Degree Completion Program in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. The California State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved the name at its meeting on May 24.

Through this partnership, the university will offer the online program to create a pathway for the grocery chain to provide a significant educational opportunity to its employees to earn a BA degree in administration through the nationally and internationally ranked, and AACSB accredited (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration (JHBCPA), which is named after the company’s late, legendary chief executive officer and philanthropist, Jack H. Brown. The program will be taught by the award-winning JHBCPA faculty.

The partnership will also have a major impact in providing access to a high-quality educational program and opportunities to increase the college attainment rates of Inland Empire residents. The inland region has a population of 4.5 million residents, but less than 20 percent of the residents have a bachelor’s degree.

“We’re honored to be working with our long-time supporters, Stater Bros. Markets, in this wonderful program that will provide a great opportunity not only for its employees, but also for Inland Empire residents to earn a bachelor’s degree and ultimately help enhance their futures,” said university President Tomás D. Morales. “This is an exceptional example of Stater Bros. Markets’ determination in helping improve the lives of residents in the Inland Empire.”

Pete Van Helden, chief executive officer of Stater Bros. Markets, in speaking to the Board of Trustees after its vote, said that years ago, he found himself unlikely to advance in his career because he didn’t have a bachelor’s degree and went back to school online to obtain a degree.

“It’s with great excitement that I am able to, along with the Stater Bros. Markets team and along with this partnership, create a pathway for many of our teammates who also find themselves in a place where they would like to have a bachelor’s degree to grow their career, but are unable to do so,” Van Helden said. “Not only for the teammates at Stater Bros. Markets, but also for residents of the Inland Empire who will also be able to participate. Looking forward, we are so excited and supportive for years to come when we will be able to recognize hundreds or perhaps thousands of new graduates of this program. Again, thank you very much for your support and a very bright future ahead of us.”

Tomás Gómez-Arias, dean of the Jack H. Brown College, said the college looks forward to partnering with Stater Bros. Markets.

 “We are very pleased to further strengthen the college’s engagement with Stater Bros. Markets through this wonderful educational partnership. As one of the region’s largest employers, Stater Bros. Markets stands out for its work in the community through its commitment to furthering the career growth opportunities of its employees and residents in the Inland Empire,” Gómez-Arias said. “JHBC is proud to engage in this partnership by offering its cutting-edge degree program taught by our amazing faculty and supported by our dedicated staff to make a significant impact in the region.”

The new online degree completion program will provide residents and the workforce an opportunity to complete their business education in a flexible, fully online asynchronous format. The Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration is listed in the top 50 colleges nationwide for transfer students by Money Magazine and rated “Best Regional College” in the West by Princeton Review.

Stater Bros. Markets is the largest privately owned supermarket chain in Southern California with 171 stores, 18,000 employees, and nearly $5 billion in annual sales. It has proudly provided quality grocery products and outstanding customer service to Inland Empire communities for over 85 years. Stater Bros. Markets’ civic and philanthropic commitments since 2008 include $80 million in food and funds donated to numerous local organizations and institutions – including Cal State San Bernardino – in support of education, health, hunger relief, children’s well-being and addressing the needs of veterans and active-duty service members.