Supporting Animation Students
Thank you for your wonderful article on the animation program’s successful graduates and dedicated faculty (SF State Magazine, Spring 2007).
Your readers may also like to know that there is a scholarship available to animation students. It was established in memory of my son, Gordon B. Thomas. Don earned the first M.F.A. in cinema with an animation emphasis from SF State in 2001. He taught animation classes and helped improve the program. Don died June 6, 2003, at the age of 35. This scholarship honors his memory and the values he personified during his time as a student and instructor.
I urge anyone interested in supporting students at SF State to contact the Office of University Development.
Richard N. Thomas Warrenville, IL
The Power of One
Before attending Professor DeVere Pentony’s Foreign Policy Analysis course I was a mediocre student who had no idea what I wanted to do. The course’s requirements were tough—three term papers and three presentations. The students were diverse—some had just arrived in the U.S., most were the first in their families to attend college, and there was a smattering of suburbanites such as myself. Professor Pentony motivated all of us to give our best performance. After my first presentation, he ended the dreaded “debriefing” by leaning in and saying, “You know, you’re really good at this.” It made an impression. I graduated with honors, received a Ph.D. from UCLA, and became an assistant professor at Princeton. I had other mentors along the way, but it took Professor Pentony saying I was good before I could recognize my own potential. Thank you, Professor Pentony.
Assistant Professor Julie E. Taylor B.A., ’90 Princeton, NJ
Vic Rowen’s Influence at Play
Legendary 49ers and Stanford football coach Bill Walsh, who passed away this year, was one of many who trace their success in part to former Gator Football Coach Vic Rowen. At a 1998 Gator athletics fundraiser in Rowen’s honor, Walsh thanked him for his early genius in the passing game. Meanwhile, Seattle Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren and Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid have both acknowledged Rowen’s influence as teacher and mentor during their coaching stints under him at SF State. So has Seahawks Assistant Coach Gil Haskell (B.A., ’71) and San Diego Chargers Quarterbacks Coach John Ramsdell (M.A., ’77). All-American quarterback Jim Sochor (B.A., ’60; M.A., ’65) was an assistant coach at SF State before he led UC-Davis’ Aggies to victories. Tulane’s head coach Bob Toledo (B.A., ’69) was Rowen’s quarterback, setting national passing records in the earliest incarnation of the West Coast Offense. Rowen kept the SF State football program going and nationally ranked despite the lack of scholarships for players. While SF State football is long forgotten by almost everyone except its players, Rowen’s personal legacy is well known among big-time coaches, and his influence is alive and well in major college and NFL football circles.
Don McPhail B.A., ‘66 Mountain View, CA
Editor’s Note: Your letter inspired us to profile one of these big-time coaches: alumnus Gil Haskell.
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