SDSU’s Tajuddin Henry receives CSU’s first-ever Black Student Success Scholarship

The junior is one of six California State University students honored for their leadership in community service and advocating Black excellence

Friday, June 14, 2024
A smiling Tajuddin Henry is photographed holding his certificate.
SDSU student Tajuddin Henry is joined by California State University Chancellor Mildred García and Jack Clarke, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees, during the Black Student Success Scholarship ceremony at the 2024 CSU Juneteenth Symposium, Friday, June 14, 2024. (Raquel Herriott/SDSU)

Since middle school, Tajuddin Henry said he couldn't wait to get to college. 

Higher learning presented him the opportunity to pursue his true passions – nurturing his creativity, passion for public service and building community, things he felt he couldn’t truly pursue during his secondary education while growing up in South Los Angeles. 

“While I was nurtured and grew into who I am because of the lessons I learned in school, my best traits as a student and person were overlooked by traditional educational metrics,” Henry said. “I saw college not just as an educational institution, but as a vibrant community where I could actively shape and be shaped by diverse experiences and perspectives to ensure that students, especially those from backgrounds similar to mine, feel seen, supported and empowered.” 

Since his arrival at San Diego State University in Fall 2022, Henry has made his vision of college a reality, pursuing multiple avenues of co-curricular, social and community involvement. 

The California State University System is honoring Henry’s exceptional record of academic success, service and involvement, as it was announced Friday that he is one of six students to receive the inaugural Black Student Success Scholarship.

Sponsored by the CSU Foundation, students receive a $5,000 award for the 2024-25 academic year. The recipients were selected for demonstrating leadership in increasing equitable access to higher education and undertaking community service that promotes anti-racism work and cultural change to elevate Black excellence, according to a news release. 

“These scholars represent the highest ideals and brightest future of our university system and embody our commitment to creating a culture and community throughout the CSU where all students, faculty and staff have equitable representation, holistic support and an authentic sense of belonging,” CSU Chancellor Mildred García said. 

Henry, a rising junior who was on hand in Sacramento to receive the award during the CSU Juneteenth Symposium, said the scholarship is a game changer for him.

“Being awarded the Black Student Success Scholarship represents not only a recognition of my efforts thus far but also an affirmation of my commitment to my academic and community-centric goals,” Henry said. 

“I have always cared about bettering my community and investing in those around me, and by alleviating my financial burden, this scholarship will enable me to further dedicate time to advocating for the needs of and striving to uplift those around me,” Henry said. “It reaffirms that the path I have chosen—one of service, advocacy, and education—is not only viable but valued.” 

Henry is double majoring in Africana Studies and Public Health with a minor in leadership development and holds a 3.45 grade-point average. He was elected to the Associated Students executive board for the 2024-25 school year as executive vice president. He serves as events chair for the Student African American Brotherhood, an academic coach at the Black Resource Center (BRC) and is an active member of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

He also serves as residential advisor and is actively involved in Swipe Out Hunger, serving as a policy advocate. 

Leilani Anderson, a senior business administration major who worked alongside Henry at the BRC, said that she isn’t surprised that he is being honored with the scholarship.

“Taj truly embodies what this scholarship means through his dedication to uplifting the black community at SDSU,” she said. “I’m excited to witness his continued contributions and impact.” 

SDSU staff who have watched Henry blossom during his time on campus say there’s no one more deserving of the honor. 

“Tajuddin being awarded the inaugural Black Student Success Scholarship is a testament to his academic achievements and deep commitment to leadership,” said Christina Brown, executive director of Associated Students. 

“As the newly elected Executive Vice President of A.S., his passion for inclusivity and student empowerment are commendable. This scholarship honors his achievements and also provides him with the support to further his mission of creating a positive and impactful environment.”

BRC Assistant Director Donnae Prather said Henry’s involvement at the center provides a glimpse into his commitment to service. 

“Taj has shown leadership and service on so many levels,” Prather said. “I am looking forward to continuing to see him shine and make a difference.”

SDSU offers a number of programs and services to foster and promote Black excellence, including the Henrietta Goodwin Scholars Program and Harold K. Brown Knowledge, Education and Empowerment Program, Black Transfer Student Support, the African American Mentoring Program and the Black Research Symposium, among others. Most operate out of the Black Resource Center, which Henry said has been pivotal to his success at SDSU.

“The Black Resource Center has nurtured me as a student since before I came on campus; it is the sole reason I have been so willing to become involved or felt comfortable committing to SDSU as my home for my undergraduate experience,” Henry said. “As a student, a leader, an employee and as an individual the BRC has helped me grow into the man I am today, and my community and staff have done nothing but support me with open arms and open ears.”

Henry, who said he is motivated by paying his success forward to the next generation of students and championing holistic student development, has ambitious goals for the 2024-25 academic year. 

In addition to personal goals of raising his GPA and developing his future career skills as a policy advocate, researcher and public health professional, Henry said he plans on applying for the Quest for the Best and Donald A. Strauss Scholarship Foundation scholarship, running for Homecoming Court and seeking membership in the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. 

“By leading and participating in initiatives that advocate for holistic student development and success, not only do I feed my inner child, I hope to influence positive changes that will benefit current and future students,” Henry said. 

After graduation, he wants to pursue a master’s degree in Public Health and Public Policy, which he said will allow him “to advocate for the erasure of disparities that minoritized communities face at various levels in social, educational, medicinal and political fields.”

Henry eventually plans to earn a doctorate in Public Health and Africana Studies. 

“This support emboldens my resolve to continue pushing for systemic change both within my university and in broader communities, ensuring that my academic journey is not just about personal achievement, but about fostering collective growth and success,” Henry said. 

The 2024 inaugural CSU Black Student Success Scholars are:

  • Armand Jovaughn Egere, CSU Dominguez Hills
  • Asad Franklin, Sonoma State
  • Tajuddin Henry, San Diego State
  • Olympia Joy Pereira, San Francisco State
  • Aliyshah Shamburger, Cal State San Bernardino
  • Chloe Thomas, Cal State Long Beach
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