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Peter Yarrow to receive honorary degree

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April 2, 2003

Peter YarrowPeter Yarrow, a member of the legendary folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary and a longtime activist for the homeless, peace, human rights and education, will receive the honorary degree of doctor of fine arts from San Francisco State University during commencement ceremonies on May 24.

Yarrow, whose career spans more than four decades, has touched the lives of millions through his music and activism. He performed at Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic March on Washington, D.C., organized peace events during the Vietnam War and established the Save One Child fund at Beth Israel Hospital's Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in New York.

His most recent project, and the one he considers his most meaningful undertaking yet, involves building safer and more respectful school environments for children. Launched in 2000, Operation Respect: Don't Laugh at Me -- based on a song sung by the trio -- works with schools and youth organizations to reduce the emotional and physical cruelty some children inflict on each other through ridicule, bullying and, in extreme cases, violence.

"Peter Yarrow is a model of the values we hope to strengthen in our students," said SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan. "As exemplified by his long and varied career, he has been committed to social justice and equity. From his years of performing music of conscience with Peter, Paul & Mary to his involvement with the civil rights movement and later to the creation of Operation Respect, Peter's mission in life resonates deeply with us."

Each campus in the California State University system nominates honorary degree recipients to recognize those individuals with meritorious and outstanding service to the CSU, the campuses, the state of California, the United States or to humanity at large.

"What makes this honor most meaningful to me is the spirit in which it is offered. To be honored because I exemplify the kind of role model of commitment, humanity, vision and achievement that President Corrigan would like students to emulate is to characterize me so far beyond my own concept of myself that I am truly humbled," said Yarrow, 64.

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Last modified April 2, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs