Living Memories: 1970s


  Wilma Mankiller, former chief of the Cherokee Nation, attended in the 1970s and studied Political Science

"In the mid-1970s the campus was alive with debates about the Vietnam War, free speech, the civil rights movement, black, brown and red power, and the women's movement. I remember a wonderfully lucid debate about whether a Ku Klux Klan member should be allowed to speak on campus. That debate caused me to think through important questions about free speech which served me well when, as an elected leader of the Cherokee nation, I was faced with dissenting voices. I remained a strong advocate of free expression and free speech in large part due to my experiences at San Francisco State."


Rupert Garcia, an internationally acclaimed artist, earned his BA in 1968 and his MA in 1970, both in Art

"My best memory of S.F. State consists of a bundle of recollections from 1966-70 stemming from a single occurrence. In May of 1966 I was discharged from a one-year military security assignment at a secret air base in Indochina, as both the Vietnam War and opposition to it at home were on the rise. In fall 1966, I came from Stockton, California to S..F. State to enroll as an undergraduate art major. The anti-war movement and mood at this time in America generally was reflected also on campus. My confrontation with the anti-war viewpoint, expressed so passionately and eloquently by students and faculty, forced me to critically reexamine my agreement with the country and my own military involvement in the Vietnam War. Never before did I have to confront directly both the personal and social formations of my values. During this period at S.F. State, my heart and my mind were unsettled deeply, for what I was questioning ultimately was the fundamental and combined makeup of me as a human being. How do I know what I know about who I am and what I believe? These epistemological questions that were so profoundly distressing to me were no mere abstract philosophical concerns; they were concrete and immediate. My years at S.F. State, along with other concurrent off-campus events, served as a nucleus where I was able to work out meaningfully the problems that began as a panic but that ended as a dynamic and rewarding learning experience: life is both given and socially constructed, and therefore, I can do something about it."


Peter Casey, creator/executive producer "Wings" and "Frasier", B.A., Radio-Television, 1975

"Each spring the [Broadcast Communication Arts] department would hold a week-long Broadcast Industry Conference, or BIC... It was a wonderful event and gave the students a chance to rub shoulders with some pretty impressive people in the industry. Some of the guests at the two BIC's I attended were Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds [creators of M*A*S*H], Lily Tomlin, and Lee Rich [head of Lorimar Productions]... I had ambitions of becoming a television writer. One of my professors, Jan Miller, was conference organizer, and was also very aware of my ambitions. She arranged for me to be the driver for one of the guests of honor, Fay Kanin, an Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated writer and one of the most gracious ladies I've ever met.
As I drove her around the city over the next day and a half we spoke about writing. I listened and absorbed as much as I could. It was an unforgettable experience for a student to have someone of Fay Kanin's talent and stature in a one-on-one situation like that and it was all made possible by Jan Miller and San Francisco State."


Kent Nagano, Grammy award-winning conductor of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, M.A., Music, 1976

"One of the singular most impressive and strongest musical encounters I have ever had the was with Laszlo Varga, professor of cello, conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra and teacher of the conducting class. At a time when education was going through the fashion of being sensitive to a student's creativity through flexibility... I recall what a shock to was to meet a professor who was relentless in demanding perfection. Compromise was not even a concept, and on matters of technique, levels of preparation, and standards of execution, Mr. Varga was simply dictatorial.
If I have been lucky enough to have had some success in my chosen profession, most certainly credit must go to the wonderful chance I had of encountering such a great teacher and artist during my formative years. I will always thank our university for making this chance possible."


Delores Johnson, Admissions Counselor at SFSU,
B.A., Psychology, 1976

"During the early 60s I remember how impressed I was at the fact that I could attend school so cheaply. I think tuition for the semester was only $33. Also, the make-up of the student body was totally different. Very few people of color, but I had a very pleasant and wonderful feeling just being on campus. I remember my drama class and my basic music class because they were very challenging. The year I graduated was a very memorable one. President Emeritus J. Paul Leonard was the commencement speaker. It was a proud day for my parents and children as well."


Nannette Morgan
B.A., Liberal Arts/Spanish, 1975; Secondary Cred., 1977

"Looking back over my years at SF State after reading the Centennial Magazine made me realize just how much I was shaped by my education there.
I was fortunate as a Foreign Language major to meet many different people and make many different friends. I was lucky to have spent 3 months at the Nat'l University of Mexico, Mexico City, studying as part of my Spanish major. I was also blessed to have learned so much from Professors Mauleon, Urbistondo, and Bremmerman in the Spanish dept. and Paola Bagnatori in Italian who lit my passion for Italian and Italy.
I am also grateful for the awareness and different ways of thinking that I developed in the La Raza dept. in Rupert Garcia and Luis Cervantes' classes not to mention all the wonderful people who shaped my teaching experience in the School of Education.
Thank you for putting out the beautiful magazine!"


Lupe Arabolos, teaching credential, 1978; MA, Educational Administration, 1985; principal at Sequoia High School in Redwood City and former principal at Mission High School and former classroom teacher

"I'll never forget the strong support system at San Francisco State that was so helpful to me. It like was joining a family, a family of educators. You could call on faculty or your fellow students if you needed help. And I'll especially remember Jake Perea who acted as a mentor and role model for me. He was the type of teacher that I wanted to grow up to be. He has been totally committed to our youth. It is because of Jake that I wanted to continue in the field of education and do things as he has done. And I always remember San Francisco State as a place that reached out and gave everyone a chance to reach their potential."


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Archived Information. Last modified March 20, 2009, by University Communications