Alumni Hot Shots {University Communications}

Image: Photos of SF State alumni

Public Service

Photo of Tom Ammiano Tom Ammiano
This California State Assemblyman and LGBT rights activist was an SF State student in the '70s. He returned to campus in the '90s to teach a course called "Sex, Power and Politics."
Photo of Paul Ash Paul Ash
Director of hunger-relief organization
The executive director of the San Francisco Food Bank, he uses the skills he picked up in the business administration program to bring donated food to the tables of hungry people across the city.
Photo of John Avalos John Avalos
Supervisor, City/County of San Francisco
After earning his master's degree, he worked as a community organizer and brought San Francisco neighbors together to safeguard and expand services focused on health care and youth employment.
Photo of John Bell John Bell
Founder, foundation/summer camp for families affected by childhood cancer
His Novato-based Camp Okizu brings smiles to the faces of children coping with life-threatening illness while offering emotional support to their families -- contributions that have earned him a Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Photo of Judy Bretschneider Judy Bretschneider
Founder, nonprofit dance academy for children
This psychology graduate, founder and president of the Persidio Performing Arts Foundation and the Presidio Dance Theatre, received a Jefferson Award for Public Service for her commitment to bringing dance to children who otherwise could not afford it.
Photo of Willie Brown Willie Brown
San Francisco's 41st mayor, who grew up poor in Mineola, Texas, did not meet SF State entrance requirements but talked an administrator into admitting him on a trial basis.
Photo of John Burton John Burton
This all-league guard for SF State's basketball team went on to the political big leagues as a congressman and the president pro tempore of the California state senate.
Photo of Brian Cahill Brian Cahill
Former director of charity organization
In his role as executive director of Catholic Charities CYO, this master's of social work grad helped families, aging and disabled adults and youth.
Photo of Ron Dellums Ron Dellums
This ex-Marine attended SF State on the GI Bill and went on to serve as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. In 2006, he became Oakland's 48th mayor.
Photo of Val Dolcini Val Dolcini
State executive director, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
First appointed to his position by President Clinton and later by President Obama, he oversees 30 county offices tasked with supporting California's farmers and ranchers.
Photo of Dr. Saeb Erekat Dr. Saeb Erekat
Chief Palestinian negotiator
This international relations major supported himself working nights behind the counter of a San Francisco delicatessen. He went on to play a major role in world affairs as the Palestinians' chief peace negotiator.
Photo of Heather Fong Heather Fong
Former San Francisco police chief
Heather Fong had already been voted "SFPD Officer of the Year" when she entered the SF State master's program in social work to help her better understand the child abuse investigations she was leading.
Photo of Reuben Greenberg Reuben Greenberg
Former police chief
As police chief of Charleston, South Carolina, he made his officers accessible to citizens. The city's crime rates dropped, his department became a national model -- and he became a media celebrity.
Photo of Richard Hongisto Richard Hongisto
Sheriff/police chief
He studied sociology at SF State by day and walked the streets of San Francisco as a cop at night. He went on to become county sheriff, a San Francisco supervisor and police chief.  
Photo of David Inocencio David Inocencio
A graduate of the master's program in social work and a Jefferson Award winner, he launched a weekly publication, The Beat Within, to give troubled youths a way to work through their personal issues.
Photo of Darlene Iskra Darlene Iskra
Ship commander
This recreation major joined the Navy after graduation but had little time to play. She became the first woman commander of a U.S. sea vessel, the diving and salvage ship U.S.S. Opportune. More...
Photo of Willie Kennedy Willie Kennedy
She was a journalism major at SF State but got her name in the papers for her work as a San Francisco supervisor and BART director.
Photo of Fred Lau Fred Lau
Former police chief
As a student, he tried to join the San Francisco Police Department but was too short. After the 5'8" height minimum was lifted, Lau stood tall as the department's first Asian-American chief.
Photo of Nicole LeFavour Nicole LeFavour
State senator
After earning a teaching credential at SF State, she taught writing to at-risk youth. She continued to advocate for these students as an Idaho senator.
Photo of Chris Marr Chris Marr
Former state senator
Known as a leading advocate for the environment in Spokane, Washington, he was named Legislator of the Year by Washington Conservation Voters in 2008.
Photo of Kathleen Martinez Kathleen Martinez
Assistant secretary for disability employment policy, U.S. Dept. of Labor
Appointed by President Obama, she advises the Secretary of Labor and leads a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities. More...
Photo of Jake McGoldrick Jake McGoldrick
This former San Francisco supervisor paid for his education by doing construction work, earned an M.A. in teaching English as a second language and taught at Presentation High School, City College and the University of San Francisco.
Photo of George Miller George Miller
Elected to represent the East Bay's 7th District in 1975, he co-authored the "No Child Left Behind Act," the education reform bill passed by Congress in 2001.
Photo of Ronald Quidachay Ronald Quidachay
As an urban studies undergrad, he cofounded the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavors organization and worked to establish the University's School of Ethnic Studies and Educational Opportunity Program. He went on to serve as the presiding judge of the San Francisco County Superior Court.
Photo of Jim Richards Jim Richards
Nonprofit executive
This recreation administration major started a youth summer camp after graduation and has been helping young people ever since. For more than three decades, he has worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including a 15-year stint as head of the organization's San Francisco chapter.
Photo of Pierre Salinger Pierre Salinger
Presidential aide/journalist
The press secretary to President John F. Kennedy and longtime chief of ABC's Paris bureau started his journalism career as managing editor of the Golden Gater in 1943.
Photo of Bill Thomas Bill Thomas
Former congressman
As head of the House Ways and Means Committee, this Bakersfield Republican was one of the most powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Photo of Javad Zarif Javad Zarif
Iran's former ambassador to the United Nations was an SF State student when he unintentionally launched his diplomatic career by volunteering at the Iranian Consulate-General in San Francisco.


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