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.

#072--May 3, 1999; For Immediate Release
Contact: Ligeia Polidora 415/338-1665

Astronaut Yvonne Cagle named S.F. State’s centennial commencement speaker and Alumna of the Year

One of only 4 African American women astronauts in the U.S., Cagle will address largest graduating class ever on May 29 during University’s Centennial commencement ceremony.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--May 3, 1999--Yvonne Darlene Cagle, a NASA astronaut and medical doctor at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, has been selected as the 1999 Alumna of the Year by San Francisco State University’s Alumni Association and will also give the University’s Centennial commencement keynote address. She will speak before an expected audience of approximately 22,000 in Cox Stadium on the university campus. The Saturday ceremonies recognize the 6,646 graduates of the Cl ass of 1999, the largest class ever in the University’s 100 year history.

Cagle, who is one of four African American women astronauts, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry from San Francisco State in 1981. She will be honored and will deliver the keynote address to graduating students and their guests during the University’s 98th commencement exercises on May 29 at 1:00 p.m. in Cox Stadium on campus. Founded in 1899 as San Francisco State Normal School, a teacher training institution, the University’s first graduating class in 1901 consisted of 36 women.

"We are honored to welcome Yvonne Cagle, alumna, doctor, and astronaut, back to campus. She personifies the outstanding science education available at San Francisco State, and with her subsequent accomplishments she provides an inspirational role model to all of our students," said Robert A. Corrigan, president of San Francisco State.

Born in West Point, NY, Cagle, 40, was raised in Novato, CA, where her father was stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base. She considers the Marin County community to be her hometown. Cagle graduated from Novato High School before attending San Francisco State. She earned her doctorate in medicine from the University of Washington in 1985 and completed residency in family practice at Eastern Virginia Medical School. She has an appointment as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

A reserve officer with the U.S. Air Force, Cagle is certified as a flight surgeon and a senior aviation medical examiner. From 1994 until 1996, she served as a physician in the Johnson Space Center’s Occupational Health Clinic before being selected for the astronaut-training program, which she completed last year. She is currently qualified for flight assignment aboard future space missions.

"The journey through time and space is advanced by such great institutions as San Francisco State University that fearlessly engage the yearning mind," said Cagle. "And, with the courage to teach, they establish new frontiers of humanitarianism and exploration that ensure a future rich with promise for all."

Cagle’s previous honors include being named an Outstanding Young Woman of America, receiving a Distinguished Scientist Award from the National Technical Association, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Air Force Achievement Medal.

The Alumnus of the Year Award goes to former San Francisco State students who have gained recognition for significant contributions to their field of work or to the community. Previous recipients include San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, actress Annette Bening, and United Airlines CEO Stephen Wolf.

Throughout the year of 1999, San Francisco State University is celebrating its centennial year of service to San Francisco, the Bay Area, California, and beyond. A highly diverse community of 27,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff, San Francisco State University is one of the largest campuses in the nationally recognized 23-campus California State University system.

Note: A transcript of the commencement will be posted online at the office of public affair's home page shortly after the conclusion of the event.


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