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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Lakeview Center.

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San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown challenges SFSU Class of 2001 to use education as tool to improve lives of others, create social change

SAN FRANCISCO, May 26, 2001 - San Francisco State University's 100th graduating class was challenged by San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. to continue the University's long tradition of activism to improve social conditions for underrepresented populations.

"You represent the diversity that is now Californians you have the power; you must use that power. Your heritage dictates you use that power," Brown said to more than 3,500 graduates during Commencement exercises on Saturday afternoon. "If you are a true San Francisco State graduate, you will accept the challenge and move the agenda (forward) as those who preceded you."

U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was the scheduled keynote speaker for SFSU's Commencement but could not attend due to a rare Saturday session of the House of Representatives to vote on the nation's budget. Pelosi and her staff graciously helped secure Brown as the keynote speaker just one day before Commencement. Brown graduated from SFSU in 1955 with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies.

SFSU awarded diplomas to 6,575 students in the Class of 2001, one century after the University graduated its first class of 36 students. Although the University was established in 1899, its first class of 36 women graduated two years later.

During Saturday's ceremonies, SFSU honored jazz artist Wesla Whitfield as its Alumna of the Year, scholar Thomas Ehrlich as the University's Presidential Medal recipient, and philanthropist Richard N. Goldman as recipient of an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the California State University system. SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan presided over Commencement, which attracted an estimated audience of nearly 25,000 graduates, family and friends.


NOTE: To view a transcript of SFSU's 100th Commencement, visit:

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Last modified May 17, 2001, by Office of Public Affairs