History professor Keith Francis is a key facilitator of PUC's celebration of Black History Month. Francis has been a co-sponsor of Beta Sigma Phi (a student club, also called the Black Student Forum, which organizes Pacific Union College's celebration of Black History Month) since coming to Pacific Union College from England in 1990.
Francis, whose parents emigrated to Britain from Grenada in the West Indies, was born and raised in London. He earned a master's degree at King's College, London, and taught communication and history at Newbold College prior to coming Pacific Union College. Francis recently became chair of Pacific Union College's history department, where he teaches Christian history and European history. He completed his doctoral degree in church history from King's College in 1996. His thesis examined the influence of the Anglican church on Parliament in the early 20th century.
Francis sees his role as a sponsor of Beta Sigma Phi as an opportunity to promote Christian education among Pacific Union College's constituency. "I've always been interested in minority recruitment, particularly black recruitment," he said. "This is a way I can recruit while still pursing my career as a historian."
Francis, usually accompanied by members of Beta Sigma Phi, regularly visits the black churches of the San Francisco Bay Area. "When I speak at a church I talk about the importance of Adventist education and PUC's contribution to it," he said.
The students that visit churches with Francis have many opportunities to share their college experiences with the church members. "I let the congregation know that there are students visiting them as well. They can mix with the students after church, and find out what PUC is really like from them," said Francis. "For the students, it's an opportunity to get out to another church."