lisa hernandez

Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2023) – In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting staff and faculty members who are a pivotal part of California Baptist University and embody what it means to Live Your Purpose every day.  

Dr. Lisa Hernández, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, shared that Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to celebrate and bring awareness to the beauty, richness and diversity of la cultura Latina. 

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 

Hispanic Heritage Month gives me a focused time to reflect on the lives of my grandparents and great-great-grandparents. I think about the sacrifices they made to provide a future for their families. I think about the values they instilled in us: God, family, stewardship and a strong work ethic. I honor my ancestors by holding to those values still.  

Can you share a bit about your own cultural identity? 

I am often asked, “Where are you from?” or “What’s your ethnicity?” I’m from here; I’m a Californian. I was born in California, my father was born in California and his mother before him. I am a fourth-generation Californian, Riversidian to be precise. However, la cultura Latina is deeply woven into the fabric of California. California was part of Mexico before it was part of the United States, after all. Since I grew up in California, I am most culturally Latina or Mexican American. My mom, on the other hand, is from Tennessee. Her roots can be traced back to a group of Quakers who came over to America in the 1700s. So, I am also a bit Southern and I am deeply proud of the heritage and legacy that side of my family gave me, too.  

What role does your faith play in celebrating cultural heritage? 

On my mom’s Southern side, my faith and cultural heritage are deeply entwined. Our ancestors were Quakers fleeing religious persecution, a critical stop on the underground railroad and completely committed to non-violence and the pursuit of holiness. In 1903, my great-great-grandparents were founding members of our church, the Church of God, and my great-great-grandfather, A.J. Tomlinson, was the denomination’s first international leader.  

On my father’s side, I attend the same local church, La Iglesia de Dios de la Profecia, that he did, my grandparents did and so on. My church is bilingual; everything from songs to sermons are done in both English and Spanish. Most of our congregants would identify as Latinos. So what does that look like? For fundraisers we sell pupusas, gorditas and sopes. And we sing worship songs in Spanish that speak to the heart like no English song could. But mostly, it’s because of my faith and my biblical understanding of God’s heart for the nations that I believe we should celebrate all cultures. God created the nations and has a plan to reconcile all nations to Him. As Revelation 7:9-10 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!’” That’s heaven. All the nations, all the cultures, worshiping God together. 

Who has served as an inspiration to you? 

My father, Luis Arias Hernández, is an inspiration to me. He grew up picking in the fields and working in the orange groves with his family. He was a first-generation college student who went on to get his master’s in education and had a long career as an elementary school teacher, positively impacting the lives of children. 

How do you live your purpose in your role at CBU? 

I live my purpose by investing in the lives of students and caring for my faculty, for the purpose of building God’s kingdom and glorifying Him in all we do. 

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504