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Former mayor Willie Brown to be awarded honorary degree at S.F. State commencement



Ted DeAdwyler
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1665

Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


SAN FRANCISCO, April 5, 2004 -- San Francisco State University alumnus Willie L. Brown, Jr., who first won elective office to the California Assembly 40 years ago, later became Speaker of the Assembly and then mayor of San Francisco, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree during Commencement ceremonies at San Francisco State University on May 29.

"Willie Brown has served our state and our city with great distinction and dedication," said S.F. State President Robert A. Corrigan. "His outstanding record of public service and political leadership has helped make our communities better for all. Willie Brown's countless contributions to society are a true reflection of the values of the CSU and San Francisco State University."

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

"It is the highest honor to have the University that gave me the first step on the ladder to higher education recognize what I have accomplished with my degree," Brown said.

A nationally known political figure on issues facing urban America, Brown has led a distinguished career in California politics from his modest start. He left his hometown in east Texas in the early 1950s and arrived in San Francisco in search of a better life.

Brown was admitted to SFSU on a trial basis and went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree in political science and earn his law degree from Hastings College of Law in 1958. He was elected to the California State Assembly in 1964 and re-elected 16 consecutive times. While in Sacramento, Brown served as Speaker of the Assembly from 1980 to 1995, the longest tenure in California history and in the process became one of the most powerful politicians in state government.

After enactment of term limits, Brown then returned to San Francisco and won consecutive terms as mayor of San Francisco, serving from 1996 to 2004.

Brown, one of the most popular mayors in San Francisco's history, left office with an impressive list of accomplishments that included construction of what had been known as Pac Bell Park, the development of the Mission Bay campus of the University of California, San Francisco, renovations to the Ferry Building and the building of a new and expanded Asian Art Museum in the Civic Center area.

Since leaving the mayor's office, Brown, who turned 70 in March, has been part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's transition team.

The honorary degree will be the third major honor Brown has received from SFSU. He earned the President's Medal in 1996 for his outstanding work as an elected official and he gave the commencement address that year. Brown was also named SFSU's Alumnus of the Year in 1981.


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Last modified April 20, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs