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Transcript of SFSU's May 25 Commencement


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PRES. CORRIGAN: Ladies and gentlemen, this academic year is ending, as all academic years do, in the joyous celebration of a new class of graduates. However, this year began in a way that we will never forget -- in the shock and grief of September 11th.

The San Francisco State community lost some of its' own that day. And I think it fitting to remember them now at this, the major event of the University's year. Here, with campus and community gathered together, we mourn and we remember.

At the World Trade Center, we lost Gerald Fisher, class of 1968; Christian Regenhard, a student of art; Mauricio Gonzalez, son-in-law of Deborah van Dommelen, the director of our Learning Assistance Center; and from American Airlines Flight 11, David Angell, longtime friend and creative partner of our Alumnus of the Year, Peter Casey.

Please join me in a moment of silence in their memory and that of all who died on that day.

Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, would you please rise to the singing of the national anthem. The processional was performed by the San Francisco State University Symphonic Band, under the direction of Gregory Magie. Our soloist for the national anthem is Anishka Lee-Skorepa. She's a junior who's majoring in vocal performance.

(National anthem.)


PRES. CORRIGAN: Please be seated. And thank you, Ms. Lee-Skorepa. It was a marvelous start for a commencement celebration.

Members of the San Francisco State University class of 2002, good afternoon. Bienvenidos! Huan Ying! Mabuhay! Konnichi-Wa! Shalom! Saalam!

Welcome to all of our guests and families on an absolutely spectacular occasion. What a glorious San Francisco State University type of day, a joyous day, a serious day, a day of lifetime significance to you, our graduates, a day of pride and joy for your families and friends who have joined us. It is a day of celebration.

To help us recollect the spirit in which we have gathered here this afternoon, I am honored to invite to the podium two individuals of different backgrounds but shared values: Cantor Roslyn Barak of San Francisco's Temple Emanu-El, and Imam Souleiman Ghali, president of the Islamic Society of San Francisco.

IMAM GHALI: Oh, mankind, indeed, we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you.

CANTOR BARAK: We acknowledge that we are God's own creation, made in the very image of the divine. And God created us through one human being to teach us that whoever destroys a single human soul has destroyed an entire world. And whoever sustains a single human soul has sustained an entire world.

And a single human being was created for the sake of peace that no one may say, "My lineage is greater than yours."


IMAM GHALI: And if they incline to peace, then incline to it. And rely upon God. Indeed, it is he who is the hearing, the knowing.

CANTOR BARAK: A divine voice calls us to a covenant of truth and peace, a law of justice and love. But peace will remain a distant vision until we do the work of peace ourselves. If peace is to be brought into the world, we must bring it first to our families and communities. On this day, when memory and promise are one, the song of our lives and deeds goes forth to the God enthroned within us.

IMAM GHALI: We cannot pray to you, oh, God, to banish war, for you have filled the world with paths to peace, if only we would follow them.

We cannot pray to you to end starvation, for there is food enough for all, if only we would share it.

CANTOR BARAK: We cannot merely pray for prejudice to cease, for we have the ability to see the good in all that lies before our eyes, if only we would use them.

IMAM GHALI: We cannot merely pray to root out despair, for the spark of hope already waits within our hearts to be fanned into a flame.

CANTOR BARAK: We must not ask of you, oh, God, to do the tasks that you have given us. We cannot avoid our obligations or flee from responsibility.

IMAM GHALI: Therefore, we pray, oh, God, for wisdom and wealth, for courage to do and become, for fear to evaporate and strength to increase.

BARAK AND GHALI (Together): For your sake and ours, speedily and soon, let it be: That our land may be safe, that our lives may be blessed. Amen.


PRES. CORRIGAN: Thank you, Imam Ghali and Cantor Barak, for your inspiring words, words that reflect so well the spirit of this graduating class.

Joining us on the platform today are special guests who will be introduced by Professor Martin Gonzalez of our Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, our announcer for today's commencement activities.

ANNOUNCER: Would our special guests please stand as your name is called. Audience, please hold your applause until everyone has been introduced.

From the Board of Trustees of the California State University, Mr. William Hauck. From the California State University chancellor's office, executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer, Richard West; and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, Gary Hammerstrom; from the San Francisco State University Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Stephen Dobbs. And seated with our guests in the audience, Mr. Zeppelin Wong.

From the campus, Pamela Vaughn, Chair of the Academic Council Senate; Rhonda Newt?Scott, President of the Associated Students; Deborah Masters, Librarian of the University; James Collier, Vice President for the University Advancement; Leroy Morishita, Vice President for Physical Planning and Development; Don Scoble, Vice President for Business and Finance; LucyAnn Geiselman, Dean of the College of Extended Learning; Paul Barnes, Dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development; and Kenneth Monteiro, University Dean for Human Relations.


PRES. CORRIGAN: Class of 2002, it is a real joy to be here today at this, our 101st University commencement. Graduation is surely the most important event in any university's life, and the happiest. And you, our graduates, have every right to be proud of yourselves. For many of you, this has been more than a four?year path.


PRES. CORRIGAN: You have had to balance work, perhaps even family responsibilities, with your academic studies. But you have persevered. And we congratulate you for your achievement.

You are a virtual world unto yourselves. In all, you are the native sons and daughters of 103 nations. Some of your families have been in the United States for longer than this University has existed. Others of you arrived but two or three years ago. Virtually all of you are California residents, mostly from the Bay Area. But almost one-quarter of you, that is, 25 percent, were born outside of the United States.

You, the members of the class of 2002, are a richly diverse community and your very life experiences, cultural backgrounds and perspectives have made this campus a richer, more exciting place.

In your diversity, your energy, your creativity, and determination to make a difference, you are a microcosm of this nation, a visible reminder of what makes this University so singular. And as you leave San Francisco State, we pray that you will take with you far more than factual learning. We have sought to give you lifetime learning skills and lifetime values.

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Last modified May 25, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs