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.

#114---May 18, 2000
Contact: Office of Public Affairs
phone: 415/338-1665


Robert Pasker, high-tech innovator and history graduate, Alumnus of the Year

SAN FRANCISCO --- May 18, 2000--- Emerging symbols of the new California ---Latino political leadership and Bay Area high-tech innovation --- will shine in the spotlight at San Francisco State University's commencement exercises for the Class of 2000 on Saturday, May 27 at 1 p.m. in Cox Stadium on the campus.

The University's 99th commencement exercises will honor the 6,539 graduates in the Class of 2000 before an expected audience of more than 20,000 people. The ceremony begins at noon with the traditional procession of faculty in academic regalia and graduates in royal purple robes. SF State President Robert A. Corrigan will preside. Entrance to the stadium is by ticket only. The ceremony will be broadcast live on San Francisco cable channel 27.

California's Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, one of the top-ranking Latino elected officials in the nation, will be the keynote speaker, and Robert B. Pasker, a former history student who went on to help create the first independent Java company, WebLogic, Inc., will receive the SFSU Alumnus of the Year award.

The University will present honorary degrees to the Rev. John P. Schlegel, president of the University of San Francisco, and David F. Selvin, noted Bay Area labor writer, editor, activist and educator.

The student speaker, representing all the graduates of the Class of 2000, will be Kouslaa T. Kessler-Mata, a Chumash and Yokut California Indian student from Albany, Calif., who has performed as a professional violinist and will attend the University of Chicago on a full fellowship to pursue a doctorate in political science.

"We are honored to have Cruz Bustamante, Lt. Governor of California, address our graduating students and their guests," said SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan. "The values he has demonstrated during his many years in public office, particularly his determination to make higher education accessible to all, and his lifelong commitment to strengthening our communities and our state, make him an inspiring exemplar for our students - for all of us."

Bustamante, who is from the Central Valley, became California's first Latino Assembly speaker in December 1996 and served until February 1998. Elected the state's 45th Lt. Governor last November, Bustamante is one of the most well known Latino leaders in California, a state in which Latinos represent a third of the population. By 2021, Latinos are expected to outnumber every other racial and ethnic group in the state. Bustamante has led efforts to have California invest in infrastructure to build for the future; to create jobs by increasing California's international trade - particularly with Mexico; to keep college tuition affordable for working families; and to protect the State's environmental and economic resources.

Bustamante, who attended Fresno State University, is a member of the Board of Regents for the University of California, a California State University Trustee and a member of the State Lands Commission. In addition, Bustamante established the Lt. Governor's Commission for One California, which promotes ethnic and racial harmony.

Alumnus of the Year and former history student Robert Pasker will be honored for his groundbreaking work in the high-tech industry.

"Robert Pasker's story is an inspiration, " said SFSU's Corrigan. "He has excelled in two very different worlds -- as an innovator in the world of high tech, and as an ardent student of history here at San Francisco State. His lasting fond memories of his years at SFSU are in considerable measure a tribute to the history faculty who obviously inspired a lifelong appreciation of the discipline. His generosity to the University will help generations of students to follow their own dreams of studying his tory at SFSU."

Two months ago, Pasker and his wife, Laurie Pitman, also one of the founders of WebLogic, gave the university a $2.4 million donation, the largest private individual gift in the University's history.

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. Pasker joins an illustrious roster of SF State alumni to receive the award, including last year's honoree, Yvonne Darlene Cagle, a physician who is one of four African American women to qualify for NASA space flight. In previous years awards have gone to alums singer Johnny Mathis, actress Annette Bening and San Franc isco Mayor Willie Brown.

Two Bay Area legends in the fields of education and labor, respectively, will receive honorary degrees at SF State's commencement. Father John P. Schlegel, president of USF since 1991 and who will become president of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, at the end of this academic year, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters. David Selvin will receive a Doctor of Laws. Each campus of The California State University nominates recipients of honorary degrees; the degrees are formally bestowed by bot h the CSU and the individual campus.

SFSU nominated Father Schlegel to recognize both his personal leadership and his accomplishments at the University of San Francisco, which include the development of a multicultural action plan and the recruitment of an increasingly diverse faculty.

"Father Schlegel has been an active and valued partner with San Francisco State and other Bay Area universities in programs that demonstrate the value of diversity and the necessity of civility and tolerance," said President Corrigan. "He shares the values which lie at the heart of this University and demonstrates that deep religious faith can not be exclusive but only inclusive."

SFSU nominated Selvin not only for his labor work but also for his commitment to human rights. "The common denominator of David F. Selvin's long, varied, and distinguished career is concern for human rights - to the labor movement and also to civil rights and greater opportunities for women and people of color," said Corrigan.


NOTE TO EDITORS: A transcript of commencement remarks will be posted on-line at the Office of Public Affairs home page, located at, immediately after the conclusion of the event.

SFSU Home   Search   Comments and Questions

SFSU, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
Last modified May 18, 2000, by Office of Public Affairs