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S.F. State Commencement to honor four achievers Saturday, May 29:
Vartan Gregorian, Willie Brown, Gary Selnow and Chris Larsen



SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Reflecting the world's diversity, 7,500-member Class of 2004 represents 110 countries

SAN FRANCISCO, May 21, 2004 -- Four innovative achievers -- a visionary educator and community leader, a living legend of California politics, a professor rebuilding communities in Iraq and an alumnus who has transformed the consumer loan industry -- all will be honored at San Francisco State University's Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 29 at 12:20 p.m. in Cox Stadium on the campus.

The University’s 103rd Commencement will honor the 7,500 graduates in the Class of 2004 -- one of the largest in the University's history and representing 110 countries -- before an expected audience of about 20,000 people. The ceremony begins with the traditional procession of faculty and graduates in caps and gowns. S.F. State President Robert A. Corrigan will preside. The ceremony will be broadcast live on San Francisco cable channel 27. There will also be a live Webcast on the SFSU home page on the day of Commencement. Click here to link to the Webcast:

Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and a former S.F. State faculty member who later became president of Brown University, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters and deliver the keynote speech. While at Brown University, Gregorian made community engagement a hallmark of his presidency and helped found the national Campus Compact which encourages campuses such as S.F. State to become deeply involved in community service and service learning.

S.F. State alumnus Willie L. Brown, Jr., who first won elective office to the California Assembly 40 years ago and later became Speaker of the Assembly then mayor of San Francisco, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. Brown was admitted to SFSU on a trial basis and went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree in 1955 and earned 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, serving the longest tenure in California history as Speaker of the Assembly from 1980 to 1995. Brown then won consecutive terms as mayor of San Francisco, serving from 1996 to 2004.

California State University (CSU) campuses nominate honorary degree recipients to recognize meritorious and outstanding service to the CSU, the campuses, the state of California, the United States or to humanity at large. The recipients are individuals whose lives and achievements serve as examples for CSU's diverse student body.

S.F. State Professor of Business Gary Selnow will receive the President's Medal for Service for his efforts to rebuild community and health care in countries disrupted by war, conflict or rampant illness. Most recently he traveled to Iraq through grants from the U.S. Department of State to set up medical information centers at 10 locations. Selnow, founder and executive director of WiRED International, will be honored for his outstanding contributions that will have long-lasting and widespread benefits for students and faculty.

Co-founder and CEO of online lending company E-LOAN Chris Larsen has been named the University's Alumnus of the Year for 2004. Larsen, a 1984 graduate with a major in international business and accounting, founded his company in 1997 and has been one of the rare dot-com success stories. Since its inception, E-LOAN has sold more than $18.9 billion in consumer loans. Selected by the SFSU Alumni Association, the annual Alumnus of the Year award goes to former SFSU students who have gained recognition for significant contributions to their field of work. Larsen joins an illustrious roster of S.F. State alumni to receive the award, including alums Johnny Mathis, Annette Bening and Willie Brown.

With nearly 30,000 students, S.F. State is one of the largest campuses in the CSU system. San Francisco State was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university.


Note to editors: Reporters interested in covering commencement are asked to contact the Office Public Affairs for media credentials. Please call (415) 338-1665 prior to commencement.

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Last modified May 24, 2004, by the Office of Public Affairs