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May 23, 2002

When commencement takes place Saturday, the top graduates from each of SFSU's eight academic colleges and the Liberal Studies Program will stand before a crowd of more than 25,000 people and accept academic hoods on behalf of their peers from the Class of 2002.

These hood recipients are all outstanding students and come from diverse backgrounds. The recipients include:

  • A former high school dropout, Kirsten Leising, 38, is now one of the first students at SFSU to earn a degree in the new environmental studies program. She encourages others who have struggled in school to never give up on their goals and dreams. "I want to let people know that comebacks are possible," says the resident of San Francisco's Richmond District. Outside of class, Leising co-founded SFSU's environmental studies student group and has engaged herself in the Bay Area community, working with the San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition and tutoring high school students in math. Leising plans to work in the field of watershed restoration.
  • After leaving her home in Nigeria at age 18 to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatrician for underprivileged children in her country, Olubukola Esho has excelled as a biochemistry major at SFSU with a 3.96 GPA. In addition to working to support herself, the 23-year-old San Leandro resident volunteers as a youth activities supervisor for her church and tutors underserved middle school children in Oakland. Esho's parents also sacrificed to help ensure her dream. When her father, himself a physician, became ill, her mother worked multiple jobs to help meet her tuition needs.
  • Born and raised in a small rural area of Germany near the French border, 41-year-old Ute Prince was forced to quit high school at age 16 to enter the workforce. After moving to the United States, the mother of two daughters went back to school and earned her GED -- but she didn't stop there. This fall, Prince, a Millbrae resident, will return to SFSU to earn a teaching credential. She is a teaching assistant at Lomita Park Elementary School in Millbrae and hopes to have an elementary school classroom of her own by fall 2003.

For information on all of the hood recipients, see the press release.

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Last modified May 23, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs