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San Francisco D.A. to keynote SF State Commencement



Denize Springer
SF State Office of Public Affairs & Publications
(415) 405-3803
(415) 338-1665

Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Crowd of 20,000 expected to attend May 26 exercises

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9, 2007 -- San Francisco's first woman district attorney, Kamala D. Harris, will be the keynote speaker as San Francisco State University's 106th Commencement on Saturday, May 26. Harris, who has held her post since 2004, is also the first African American woman D.A. in California history.

Harris grew up in Berkeley as the daughter of two college professors and civil rights activists who demonstrated a strong commitment to justice and public service. Since taking office Harris has aimed to prosecute crime while also maintaining a commitment to rehabilitation and preserving civil liberties. Since taking office, District Attorney Harris has increased felony conviction rates to 67 percent, the highest in a decade; secured a 40 percent increase in state prison sentences; and more than doubled the conviction rate for felony gun trials to 90 percent in 2006. Her rehabilitation innovations include the Back on Track re-entry program, the expansion of community courts and free legal clinics in immigrant neighborhoods.

"I am honored to be selected to speak to the graduates of a university known for its commitment to social justice," Harris said. "I know there will be many in this graduating class who are taking their first steps toward public service, and I want to encourage them to take up a lifelong commitment to their communities."

"Throughout her trailblazing law career Ms. Harris has demonstrated her commitment to youth in a variety of ways," Robert A. Corrigan, SF State's president, said. "She is a leader in mentorship programs, has authored legislation to fight child exploitation and is dedicated to finding ways of keeping youth from careers in crime. I have no doubt that our new graduates will find her inspiring."

Harris, a graduate of Howard University and University of California Hastings College of Law, is a member of the National District Attorney's Association.

SF State is the only master's-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls about 29,000 students each year and graduates about 7,000 annually. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields — from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communication arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University's more than 150,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.


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Last modified April 9, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications