Former AFAM Studies chair Dr. Wacira Gethaiga earned his masters in Education from UC Berkeley and earned a doctorate from Claremont University. He was one of the founding fathers of CSUF’s Ethnic Studies Department, along with Dr. Michael Finney, Dr. Diego Fuentes and Dr. Roberto Ceros. The department hoped their curriculum would increase Black enrollment at the university. Gathaiga and others visited surrounding high schools to build a black presence on campus. The Ethnic Studies Department can be found in Humanities 314.
As the black population rose on campus, Dr. Gathaiga strived to create a space for students to socialize and receive coursework tutoring. It would suffice as a gathering space to replace congregating in the quad. He proposed to University Administration to establish the African American Resource Center, and its approval was a gradual process. The African American Faculty & Staff Association was established during this time as well.
Students talked to President Milton Gordon to place the center in the second floor of Humanities. Vice President Dr. Robert Palmer spearheaded funding the AARC. His Secretary, Ellen Shaw identified the needs of the center. Now the AARC is currently located in PLS 182 thriving in all of its black excellence glory.