SFSU Public Affairs Press ReleasePublished by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.
Saturday, May 27
SAN FRANCISCO-May 27, 2000-California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, one of the top-ranking Latino elected officials in the country, offered San Francisco State University graduates at today's commencement words for success in the real world and praise for reflecting California's diversity.
"The world will try to make you into what it wants," said Bustamante. "It will try to sanitize you, make you conform and make you like everyone else. You are you. There is never going to be another you. Go out there and make the world accept you. Say your name and say it with pride. Keep it in your heart. Your parents gave it to you. Generations of your family have worked hard to give you that name and this day. Take that name and make the world remember it."
Bustamante also issued a challenge to SF State's newest alumni: "Set your goals high. Work hard. Believe in yourself. Value diversity. And stay inspired, be committed and you will transform the world around you."
Under partly sunny skies Saturday afternoon, California's lieutenant governor spoke before an audience of more than 20,000 people at SF State's 99th commencement exercises to honor the 6,539 graduates in the Class of 2000. Bustamante also praised the diversity of the graduating Class of 2000, saying that diversity equals excellence.
"Diversity, as has been said, is in the DNA of California," he said. "I suggest we embrace diversity; to always see it as a blessing and not a curse. See it as a cause for celebration, not for consternation."
The lieutenant governor added: "What we share unites us far more than the differences can ever divide us. It is your destiny to transform our diversity into a common ground we can all stand on, to be one California."
SF State President Robert A. Corrigan said he hoped that SF State had prepared graduates for more than just careers. "We have sought to give you lifetime learning skills, critical thinking, persuasive teaching and most important of all the habit of measuring the world's demands on you against a few lasting values. And we trust that your years at San Francisco State have strengthened your respect for all members of our diverse society, your appreciation of our differences and recognition of our similarit ies and your enjoyment of our cultural, religious and ethnic richness," said Corrigan.
At one point in the program, Corrigan asked the graduates to thank faculty. The students then rose in a standing ovation. The faculty then returned the ovation. Robert B. Pasker, a former history student who went on to help create the first independent Java company, WebLogic, Inc., received the SFSU Alumnus of the Year award from SF State Alumni Association.
In accepting the award, Pasker thanked the SF State faculty who helped him become a student of history without previous background in the social sciences. Pasker also gave graduates some advice for success: "Do what you love. There are a lot of temptations to do other things, but if you do what you love, you'll have a successful life and a successful career."
But Pasker also reminded the Class of 2000 to remain an active part of the San Francisco State University community. "You have an obligation, a joyful obligation to support your community, and a tremendous part of your community is this university. Support the university through whatever way you can, through volunteerism, through teaching here and in any way supporting the Alumni Association," Pasker said.
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. The Pasker-Pitman gift will establish the Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Endowed Chair in History in honor of Pasker's parents and help support the history department in areas such as scholarships and technology.
The University presented honorary degrees to the Rev. John P. Schlegel, president of the University of San Francisco, and David F. Selvin, noted Bay Area labor writer.
Father Schlegel, president of USF since 1991 and who will become president of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, at the end of this academic year, was granted a Doctor of Humane Letters. Father Schlegel praised the partnership of SF State and USF. "In our mutual institutional commitment to diversity and to building an inclusive community like that which is sitting in front of me this afternoon has added to the empowerment of women and men of all backgrounds and has made our community a better pla ce to live, to learn and to serve," he said.
Civil rights activist David Selvin, 86, received a Doctor of Laws degree. Selvin played a major role in the creation of the Bay Area Council Against Discrimination, the first interracial civil rights coalition in Northern California. "I was never alone," Selvin remarked. "Friends, family, associates, colleagues, yes, and even opponents down the years, supplied not only support but also energy and effort, ideals and programs, imagination and vision no less perhaps more vital than my own."
Corrigan also presented special awards to two educators who are working to improve public schools in the Bay Area. Receiving recognition were Linda Davis, interim superintendent on the San Francisco Unified School District; and Dennis Chaconas, superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District and an alumnus of SF State.
The student speaker, representing all the graduates of the Class of 2000, was 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. Kessler-Mata told her fellow graduates that success begins with everyone working together.
"Let us continue to strengthen and build communities such as the one San Francisco State has provided us with. Our ability to accomplish our dreams is dependent upon our ability to work together," she said.
San Francisco State University is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university with an enrollment of 27,000 students. It is one of the largest campuses in the nationally recognized 23-campus California State University system.
SFSU, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
Last modified May 27, 2000, by Office of Public Affairs