SF State Alumni Hall of Fame welcomes new inductees
SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, 2010 -- A filmmaker and environmental activist will be honored as the Alumnus of the Year, and a Grammy-winning musician and producer, an advertising executive, an internationally recognized disability rights leader, a poet and community leader and a movie theater CEO will be inducted into the SF State Alumni Hall of Fame on May 21.
The 5 p.m. campus ceremony will also include the presentation of honorary degrees to Japanese alums who were attending SF State at the start of World War II, but were sent to internment camps before finishing their degrees.
Randy Hayes (M.A. Environmental Studies, 1980) will be named Alumnus of the Year. Once described by the Wall Street Journal as an "environmental pitbull," Hayes founded the Rainforest Action Network and dedicated his career to protecting the environment and turning the spotlight on environmentally destructive practices by some of the world's largest companies. While earning his master's degree at SF State, Hayes made a documentary film about strip mining on Native American land in the Southwest, which was critical of U.S. energy policy. It drew both the ire of the Reagan Administration and an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award for "Best Student Documentary" in 1983. He is currently the U.S. Director of the World Future Council, a multinational group based in Germany, which seeks implementation of long-term policies to promote sustainable living and a cleaner environment. He resides in Washington, D.C.
The other inductees are:
George Duke (M.A. Music, 1975) has transcended genres throughout his innovative and award-winning career as a musician and producer. Duke is a pioneer of the West Coast jazz fusion movement, playing with Frank Zappa and Cannonball Adderley before releasing his first Epic recording, "From Me to You," in 1976. Duke has mixed styles of music, including funk, Latin and jazz at various points in a career that has produced more than 30 albums that contained several top 10 songs including "Sweet Baby" and "No Rhyme No Reason." Collaborating with Miles Davis, he produced and composed two instrumental tracks on Davis' records. "Backyard Ritual" appeared on the 1986 release Tutu, and "Cobra," which appeared on the album Amandla. Duke has produced 16 albums that have been certified gold or platinum, won five Grammy awards and earned an additional nine Grammy nominations. He is a resident of Los Angeles.
John Gumas (B.S. Marketing, 1984) is the founder and president of Gumas Advertising, the marketing and advertising agency that he started within months of graduating from SF State. Today, it is an award-winning firm that uses innovative approaches to help smaller clients stand up against large competitors with bigger advertising budgets. Gumas has been an adjunct professor of marketing and sits on numerous boards, including the San Francisco Giants Community Fund. He grew up in San Francisco's mission district and now lives in Hillsborough.
Kathleen Martinez (B.A. Speech Communication, 1992) is the assistant secretary for disability employment policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and was nominated for the post by President Obama. Blind since birth, Martinez was placed by a disability agency in a job as a punch press operator in the Quick Set lock factory in Anaheim after high school. She now leads U.S. policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities and is an internationally recognized disability rights leader specializing in employment, independent living and diversity and gender in the workplace. She previously served on the National Council on Disability, the State Department's Advisory Committee on Disability and Foreign Policy, and the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace. Former director of the World Institute on Disability, a public policy center based in Oakland, Martinez now resides in Washington, D.C.
Janice Mirikitani (Humanities, 1966-67), who spent three years of her childhood in a U.S. Japanese internment camp, is the founding president of the Glide Foundation at San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church and the author of four books of poetry. At Glide, she developed more than 87 programs serving the poor and homeless of San Francisco, particularly women struggling with substance abuse, domestic violence, single parenting and other challenges. Named one of the "100 Most Influential Women in Business" by the San Francisco Business Times for three consecutive years, she was also named the 17th Assembly District's Woman of the Year, and Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Mirikitani was recognized by the governor and first lady with a Minerva Award for her efforts to better the lives of women and children.
Don Nasser (B.A. Business, 1963), president and CEO of the Castro Theatre, has used his creative business acumen to ensure the iconic theatre's continued success in the face of competition from big multiplexes. The theatre has been owned by his family for decades, but when Nasser took over management in 2006, he revived the theater with physical refurbishments, updated projection equipment and programming that turned it into a go-to venue for film series and festivals. Nasser worked in banking for two decades before starting his commercial real estate company, Bay Properties, which he still runs. He is a resident of Hillsborough.
The San Francisco State University Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes alumni who have earned the respect of their peers through professional, cultural and civic achievements. Previous inductees include documentary filmmaker Steven Okazaki, football legend Bill Baird, Retired U.S. Navy Commander Darlene Iskra and actor Jeffrey Tambor.
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Photos are available upon request.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters interested in covering SF State's Alumni Hall of Fame reception are asked to contact the University Communications office for media credentials and reserved parking. Please call (415) 338-1665.
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