From the moment the service began, it was clear that the people of Maranatha Christian Center could relate to their guest speaker from San Jose State.
After welcoming rain-soaked congregants indoors with song, Praise and Worship Leader Kimberly Christmas, ’93 Communication Studies, greeted the guest with a big hug.
It turns out Coleetta McElroy, director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, helped Christmas back when she was an SJSU student, sparking a lifelong friendship.
McElroy was one of four SJSU administrators to attend church services statewide as part of the CSU Super Sunday program.
She “knows about the money,” as Pastor Tony Williams so aptly put it, drawing a clear “Amen!” from the pews.
But McElroy presented all aspects of planning for college, given the goal of the CSU campaign is to increase African American college graduation rates.
Yet it was the personal connections that will leave lasting impressions. Speaking from the stage, McElroy shared her journey, as first in her family to graduate from college.
She went on to receive a master’s in public administration in 1997 from San Jose State, progress that she said continues to inspire her nieces and nephews.
After the service, Zeke Staples, ’08 BS, ’12 MA, Kinesiology, answered questions while placing college brochures in as many hands as he could.
Though he kept this to himself Sunday, his story inspires, too. Staples runs his own fitness business while working as an SJSU admissions counselor and recruiter.