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Coppola's Casablanca Room

Fall 2010 SF State Magazine Cover

When I read of August Coppola's passing I recalled our time working together during my undergraduate days.

In 1986 August and I met to talk about creating a meeting space for the newly established Creative Arts Student Association. His immediate thought for decorating the room: "Casablanca." He had me view the movie right there in the space where I was soon commissioned by him to design and paint in the style of "Rick's Café," Moorish architecture: horseshoe arches and decorative tiles with rustic and textured walls.

1989 photo of Emmanuel Montoya and August Coppola

In 1989 we had a great party celebrating the completion of the murals and the official opening of The Casablanca Room. August told me that he had showed my work to his brother Francis Ford, who was impressed with the space. It was an exciting time!

Emmanuel C. Montoya
B.A .,'86; M.F.A., '91

Someone saved my life when I was in 10th grade.

I had been kicked out of my first high school and I was struggling at a new one. A young coach named Mike DeNatale, just graduated from SF State, brought a college-level training program to my inner-city school. He whipped into shape a lot of young men from single- parent households. We were destined to be failures but most of us went on to college. One became an All-American; another was a finalist in the NCAA. Mike didn't have to do any of this but he dedicated his life to helping us succeed, not only in sports but in life.

--Esteban G. Burchard, M.D., former Gator wrestler (see his success story in Alumni & Friends)

Esteban G. Burchard, M.D., former Gator wrestler


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