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Alumni, emerita professor to be inducted into SFSU Hall of Fame



Christina Holmes
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-7110
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Artist, writer, poet, entrepreneur, education professor will be feted at May 23 event 

SAN FRANCISCO, May 13, 2003 — Artist Roy De Forest, San Francisco Poet Laureate devorah major, bebe boutique founder Manny Mashouf and writer and rock journalist Ben Fong-Torres will be inducted into the SFSU Alumni Hall Of Fame for 2003. Professor Violet Robinson will receive the first-ever Alumni Association Emeritus Faculty Award.

Each year the SFSU Alumni Association selects the Hall of Fame inductees by recognizing outstanding former students who have earned the respect of their peers through professional, cultural and civic achievements. The group will be honored at a campus reception on May 23.

Now a professor emeritus at UC Davis where he taught for more than three decades, De Forest, who earned a bachelor’s degree in art in 1953 and master’s degree in art in 1958, was a member of San Francisco’s “Funk Art” movement of the 1960s. His paintings evolved into vividly patterned landscapes packed with animal and human figures. He’s been in nearly 40 solo exhibits, and his print “Country Dog Gentlemen,” can be seen at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. De Forest’s wife, Gloria, and son, Pascal, are both SFSU alumni.

major, a 1975 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in black studies, is an essayist, novelist and San Francisco’s poet laureate. Her latest work, “With More Than Tongue,” will be published this month. A San Francisco resident since childhood, major captured the essence of the Fillmore District in her 2002 novel “Brown Glass Windows.”

Mashouf, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1966, started his career as a manager for rock impresario Bill Graham. But his stay in the music business was short as he moved onto women’s apparel. He opened the first bebe boutique on Polk Street in 1976. Today, with 178 shops in the United States and Canada, bebe is a cutting-edge retailer. Mashouf, bebe’s CEO, also serves on the College of Business’s Advisory Council.

Fong-Torres got his start in journalism on campus, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in radio-television-film in 1966. The former Rolling Stone magazine writer and editor has
interviewed rock music icons such as Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead, and holds the distinction of having the last U.S. interview with Jim Morrison of The Doors before his death in Paris. Fong-Torres is currently the vice president of content for Collabrys, Inc., a company that produces branded e-magazines. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Dianne, also an SFSU alum.

In addition to his induction to the Hall of Fame, Fong-Torres will receive this year’s Alumnus of the Year Award during the Commencement ceremony on May 24.

For the first time the Alumni Association will honor an emeritus professor for dedicated service to students and the San Francisco State University community. Former elementary education professor Violet Robinson, who began her career at SFSU in 1954 and taught for 38 years, will be feted.

Robinson was a passionate advocate for early childhood education. She was a founding board member of the California Kindergarten Association and served as the association's president from 1992 to 1994. Robinson continues to be active at SFSU, editing the University’s Retirement Association newsletter. She’s also working on a series of children’s books as well as a professional book on curriculum integration for elementary school teachers.

Past Hall of Fame inductees include actor Danny Glover, actress Annette Bening, Tony Award-winner musical director and conductor Paul Gemignani, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, journalist and author Melba Beals, astronomer Paul Butler and conductor Kent Nagano.

One of the largest campuses in the California State University system, SFSU was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university.


NOTE: For photos of any of the Hall of Fame inductees or to arrange interviews, contact Christina Holmes of the SFSU Office of Public Affairs at (415) 405-3803 or

Correction: This new release originally stated that Robinson organized the first conference for California kindergarten teachers. Robinson served on the California Kindergarten Conference committee for many years, but did not organize the first conference.

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Last modified April 24, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs