San Francisco State University, Established 1899, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF, CA 94132

SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#079; Media Advisory
Contact: Ligeia Polidora (415) 338-1665


Alumna of the Year Dr. Yvonne Cagle will be SFSU’s Centennial Commencement keynote speaker. A physician and 1981 graduate of SFSU, Cagle is one of four African American women astronauts in the U.S. SFSU will also honor Daly City school teacher and SFSU alumnus Reno Taini for his outstanding career and student Meghan Oxelson for her outstanding scholarship.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 24, 1999 -- SFSU will confer degrees on 6,646 students at its Centennial Commencement on Saturday, May 29. Wearing special royal purple robes in honor of the occasion, the Class of 1999 represents that largest graduating class in the 100-year history of the university.

The commencement ceremony begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 29 and is expected to attract an audience of over 22,000 to the campus’ Cox Stadium. With President Robert A. Corrigan presiding, the ceremonies will be televised live over San Francisco cable channel 52. Entrance to Cox Stadium will be by ticket only.

Yvonne Cagle, NASA astronaut and medical doctor at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston will give the ceremony’s keynote address.

Cagle, who received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1981, is also SFSU’s 1999 Alumna of the Year. Widely recognized for her achievements, Cagle is expected to fly aboard NASA space missions in the near future.

"The journey through time and space is advanced by such great institutions as San Francisco State University that fearlessly engage the yearning mind," said Cagle.

Daly City teacher Reno Taini also will be honored at commencement. He will be SFSU’s representative as CSU begins its year of "Celebrating Teachers" next fall.

Taini who was the subject of a 1988 public television documentary, "Reno’s Kids," earned a bachelor’s in 1964 and a master’s in 1978 from SFSU. Among his innovations was the founding of a Wilderness School for at-risk teenagers to increase their confidence and help them stay in school in Daly City’s Jefferson Union High School District.

The senior class speaker is Meghan Oxelson, who is completing a year of study in Argentina. She entered the university four years ago as one of the first Presidential Scholars, and she will leave the university Saturday with a Phi Beta Kappa key and a degree of her own design in Mediation, Reconciliation and Family Communication.

Oxelson will join nine other students who are being honored as the outstanding graduates of each of SFSU’s nine colleges. They are: Svetlana G. Attestatova (Political Science), College of Behavioral & Social Sciences; Ann M. Foley (Accounting), College of Business; Jedediah Olson Gildersleeve (Radio and Television), College of Creative Arts; Margaret Marie Bourne (Communicative Disorders), College of Education; Paula Chiyoko Katayanagi (Black Studies), College of Ethnic Studies; Patricia Ann Nugent (Hea lth Science), College of Health & Human Services; Barbara Eaton Campbell (Italian), College of Humanities; Erin Denise Rentz (Botany), College of Science & Engineering; and Esther K. Yuen (Liberal Studies), Liberal Studies/Special Majors.

On behalf of their classmates, these students will receive the "investiture of the hood," during the ceremony. Each will be given colorful, formal academic regalia to wear, symbolizing achievement at the bachelor’s level in a tradition that dates back to the European Middle Ages.

Throughout 1999, the university is celebrating its centennial year of service to San Francisco, the Bay Area, California and beyond. A highly diverse community of 27,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff, San Francisco State University is one of the largest campuses in the nationally recognized 23-campus California State University system.


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