California State University, San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales is a 2023 recipient of a Toward a Shared Vision award from Growing Inland Achievement (GIA) in the area of Student-Centered Excellence.

Robert J. Nava, CSUSB vice president for University Advancement, accepted the award on Morales’ behalf at the Oct. 26 ceremony, which was held at the Riverside Convention Center.

“I am deeply grateful for this award and am honored by the opportunity to work at CSUSB and with all of our community partners to build student success, right here and now,” Morales stated.

He expressed his gratitude for this recognition and his regret that he could not be present in person. “I believe strongly that CSUSB is an anchor institution here in the Inland Empire. We are part of the community where we are planted,” he said. He sees student success as core to the university’s mission.

“From my years of working with President Morales, I know how personal the goals of student success are to him,” Nava shared. “They have informed his career in higher education from its outset.”

Nava added, “He believes in our students here in the Inland Empire. He believes in their potential. And he sees the way forward to their achieving that potential through access to higher education.” 

Morales’ continued emphasis is on partnerships: higher education must build partnerships to secure a cradle-to-career pipeline, which will transform lives and the communities of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

“The Toward a Shared Vision Awards recognize individuals and groups making significant contributions to education attainment and economic success in the Inland Empire region while embodying core values of equity, transformation, collaboration, innovation and centering students,” said Ann Marie Sakrekoff, interim CEO of GIA.

“We received 25 nominations for individuals and groups throughout the region, all of which are deserving candidates,” said Sakrekoff. “GIA brought together a diverse panel of representatives from local education and community-based organizations who deliberated and selected 12 individuals and groups to be recognized across six categories.”

In addition to Morales, CSUSB’s Office of Pre-College Programs also received an award in the area of Excellence in Innovation.

The full list of awardees includes:

Student-Centered Excellence:   

  • Group: Children Deserve Success Program, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
  • Individual: Dr. Tomás D. Morales, President, CSUSB

Excellence in Regional Transformation:

  • Group: Ontario-Montclair Promise Scholars
  • Individual: Assembly member Sabrina Cervantes, California’s 58th Assembly District

Equity-Focused Excellence:

  • Group: College Futures Foundation
  • Individual: Dr. Henry D. Shannon, Superintendent/President, Chaffey College

Excellence in Regional Collaboration:

  • Group: Making Hope Happen Foundation
  •  Individual: Kim McNulty, Vice President of Regional Strategy, OneFuture Coachella Valley

Excellence in Innovation:

  • Group: Office of Pre-College Programs, California State University, San Bernardino
  •  Individual: Dr. Ivan Peña, Dean of Student Services and Counseling, Crafton Hills College​​​​​​​

Excellence in Regional Leadership:

  • Individual: Julie Pehkonen, Chair, Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium
  • Individual: Dr. Judy D. White, President/Founder, MOSAIC, Retired, 12th Superintendent of  Schools for Riverside County

Morales took a pivotal leadership role in pulling together the bi-county consortium consisting of the public K-12 system, community colleges, public universities and the IE’s business communities, which successfully applied for a $5 million Governor’s Innovation Award in 2015. That has evolved into the organization now known as Growing Inland Achievement. He currently serves on their board.

To learn more about GIA’s mission and initiatives, visit or contact Jake Poore at