Citing his leadership not just in higher education, but also as a representative of the region, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) honored Tomás D. Morales, president of Cal State San Bernardino, with its 2023 Larry Sharp Inland Empire Leadership Award.

The award, formally given to Morales at the IEEP’s Annual Dinner and Awards Reception at the Hilton Hotel in Ontario on Jan. 11, recognizes individuals who go above and beyond their work in their profession and also display strong leadership in the two-county region of San Bernardino and Riverside.

The award is named for the late Larry Sharp, who, including his lifetime work as a business and community leader in the Inland Empire, served as vice president of University Advancement at CSUSB and also was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university.

Morales, who could not attend the awards dinner in person, said in a video shown at the event that he was honored to be a recipient of the award. Morales and Sharp worked together at CSUSB when he arrived in 2012 as the university’s fourth president.

Sharp, he said, was deeply embedded in the community, just as the university is, “and both recognizing and strengthening that connection has been key to my efforts here at this university of which I am so very proud.”

“I speak a lot about student success — and we cannot build that student success if we are not firmly embedded in the community from which our students come,” Morales said. “The related personal connection here is that Larry supported our work in Advancement and fundraising here at CSUSB as a vice president of that division. I know that he believed in higher education as one of the drivers of creating the future of our IE home.”

Past winners of the Larry Sharp Inland Empire Leadership Award include former San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford, former Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, Lewis Group of Companies Senior Executive Vice President Randall Lewis, Goodwill SoCal Regional Operations Officer Lowell King, and Inland Action Inc. CEO Carole L. Beswick.

The IEEP’s mission is to serve as the two-county region’s voice for business and quality of life. IEEP works to support efforts in job creation, leadership infrastructure and regional advocacy for Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

For more information, visit the Inland Empire Economic Partnership website