SF State Magazine { University Communications }

Image: Photos of SF State alumni and scenes from around campus as featured in the Spring/Summer 2008 SF State Magazine

Alumni & Friends

Gator Generations -- A Longtime Family Tradition

In the fall/winter issue we asked readers to share stories about their families whose attendence at SF State includes two or more generations. Here are just a few.


My family's ties to SF State reach across several generations and more than five decades. Beginning in the 1950s, a White family member has always been part of the campus community as a student, faculty member or administrator. My parents met at the Buchanan Street campus in the 1950s and they were among the first class of students to arrive at the new Lake Merced campus. My mother, Myrtle Escort White, who enjoyed a career in nursing and public health, fondly remembers being shuttled back and forth between campuses on yellow school buses.


Lisa White with her parents, Myrtle Escort White and Joseph L. White

Lisa White (center) with her parents, Myrtle Escort White and Joseph L. White, SF State's

2008 Alumnus of the Year


















My father, Joseph White, experienced SF State as a student, faculty member and administrator -- a path I later followed. After receiving his B.A. and M.S. from SF State in psychology in the 1950s, he earned his Ph.D. at Michigan State University and spent five years on the faculty at California State University, Long Beach. During the tumultuous strike of 1968–69, he was recruited to the post of dean of undergraduate studies and professor of psychology, often getting caught between student demands and administrative policies. His efforts and those of his activist colleagues throughout the California State University system led to the creation of the first Educational Opportunity programs.


In the years before my sister Lynn White Kell and I arrived on the SF State campus in the late 1970s, my aunt Bertha Waterfield completed her teaching credential and began a long career in the San Francisco Unified School District.


Growing up in San Francisco in the 1960s and '70s, I knew the University as a happening place. My parents spoke fondly of their experiences at the institution, reminding me and my sisters of how many prominent San Franciscans, particularly from the African American community, got their start at SF State.


As a student in the 1970s and ‘80s, I found a nurturing environment that encouraged my interest in the geosciences. When I joined the Geosciences Department faculty in 1990, it completed the circle, connecting the SF State community to my childhood, my family history in higher education in the CSU system, and my San Francisco roots.


-- Lisa White (B.A., '84), associate dean of graduate studies and professor of geology


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