2005 Distinguished Alumna
Erin J. Gruwell
1994, M.A. English;
1993, Single Subject credential in English
The College of Education and Liberal Studies now honors its Distinguished Alumna Erin Gruwell (gru-WELL). She earned her secondary teaching credential in 1993 and her master’s in English in 1994.
Erin has been the face of “The Freedom Writers.” Through the power of writing a book, a group of Wilson High School students who were written off as failures, proceeded to graduate high school and attend college. In the last six years, their inspiring story has been featured in such media as “Oprah,” “Good Morning America,” “Los Angeles Times,” National Public Radio, and “Cosmopolitan.” A film adaptation of “The Freedom Writers Diary” starring Hilary Swank as Erin is projected for release in 2006.
“The Freedom Writers Diary” was selected as Long Beach Reads One Book in 2004, where she and her students spoke at dozens of schools, libraries and community venues. Their other speaking engagements has taken them across the nation at over 500 events.
For her work, Erin has won numerous educational and humanitarian awards and media accolades. The CSULB Distinguished Teacher in Residence is the founder and president of the Erin Gruwell Education Project, a non-profit organization that assists her former students through college.
From Alumni Awards 2005 program