SF State News {University Communications}

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Processional and National Anthem

On reaching their places on the platform, the processional participants remained standing for the National Anthem.

Ladies and gentlemen: would you please rise for the singing of the National Anthem. The processional was performed by the San Francisco State University Wind Ensemble under the direction of Robert Busan. Our soloist today for the National Anthem is Michael Montgomery, who graduates today with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance.



Introductions and Welcome

Thank you, Mr. Montgomery. What a stirring opening for our Commencement celebration! Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. Members of the San Francisco State University class of 2008 -- good afternoon!

A special welcome to all of our guests and families. For you, as our graduates, this is a historic day! You have looked forward to this ceremony almost as eagerly as our graduates, and your presence adds greatly to their pride and pleasure.

Today as we mark SF State’s 107th Commencement, I'm pleased to report that this graduating class is not only our largest, it's our most diverse and it's the most accomplished class in the history of the University.

Today marks a milestone in your lives. And while I take great pride in you and in acknowledging that milestone, acknowledgement is not really enough. I want to leave you with a challenge: to go out and live by the values that this singular University has stood for for over a century -- the values we hope we have been able to impart to you.

We believe that it is our responsibility to educate hearts as well as minds. We are proud to be a University of activism, of personal responsibility, of concern about major issues and determination to be engaged with those issues.

Where but at San Francisco State would you find a university that has made a commitment to social justice and equity the first of its fundamental goals -- living out that commitment in many ways. Hiring, for example, the most diverse faculty of any university in the United States.

Where but at SF State would you find a faculty who care so passionately about the world beyond the campus and have constantly encouraged you, the students, to take an active role in the community. They have helped you to apply what you are learning to the needs of those around us -- the elderly, immigrants, disadvantaged teens, families whose children -- with your help -- may one day sit where you are sitting.

Where but at San Francisco State could you be so challenged by a diversity of views yet so supported in learning how to disagree strongly -- indeed passionately -- but without hatred -- a skill the world sorely needs.

Where but at San Francisco State would you be asked so often to apply an ethical perspective to the subjects you have studies -- whether that subject is the enviornment, health care, the media, business management, public education -- vitrually any field I could name.

I've said repeatedly that we try to make this campus a model of the kind of world in which all of us want to live.

So now that you are moving from the campus into a new stage of your lives, I ask you to hold that model in your mind, and in your heart.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you can do that, you will have more than met our expectations of you, and we will take great pride in you as graduates of SF State.

Joining us on the platform are some special guests who will be introduced by our announcer for today’s Commencement exercises, Associate Professor Martin Gonzalez of the Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts.

Please stand as your name is called. Audience, please hold your applause until everyone has been introduced.

From the Board of Trustees of the California State University:

  • Board Chair Robert Achtenberg

  • Board Chair-Elect Jeffrey Bleich

  • Trustee Goerge Gowgani

  • Trustee Peter Mehas

From the San Francisco State campus:

  • James Kohn, chair of the Academic Senate

  • Natalie Franklin, president of the Associated Students

  • Deborah Masters, librarian of the University

  • Leroy Morishita, vice president for Administration and Finance, and chief financial officer

  • Gail Whitaker, chair of the board of directors, San Francisco State University Foundation

  • Marilyn Verhey, dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development.

Also with us on the platform are representatives of the group that is the true heart and soul of the University -- our outstanding faculty. While you have been students here, they have helped you to gain knowledge of self and of subject matter, and have both challenged and supported you.

Principled men and women of intellectual distinction, they care deeply about you. I know that as they sit facing you, they will feel both pride in your achievements and a touch of sorrow as you prepare to leave us.

Please join me in a round of applause for these dedicated faculty members who have devoted their lives to teaching and learning.

To help us recollect the spirit in which we have gathered here this afternoon, I'm honored to invite to the podium an individual I have long known and respected for his great contributions both to his congregation and our community at large -- the pastor of Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco, the Reverend Calvin Jones.

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Opening and Invocation

I will not give you a Baptist prayer, so we will not be here all evening. Let us bow our heads out of reverence. God, we come this day with joy in our hearts, celebrating this occasion where so many young people, enjoying the graduation of this great day, not a graduation beyond this school, but moving on in their lives to be a help to this community, to this state, to this country, and to this world.

God, we ask your choice blessing on their lives, bless them to realize that they have been chosen to be a blessing, not only to their families and their friends, but to this world.

We ask your choice blessing, God, as we look around the world and things are happening, God. We need people with trained minds and trained hearts willing to care for one another for we truly live in a community, a world community.

God, we look out as we rejoice this day across the seas in China and in Burma, Lord, we ask your choice blessing on the tragedies happening around the world and even in California, down south, God. But we rejoice this day, thanking you for this opportunity and celebrating with each one of these young people their graduation from San Francisco State University. And God, if we can ask for one thing, Lord, we ask that you teach us how to work together even when we disagree, even if we believe differently, God. Help us to work together, for we truly are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Help us now, God. In God's name, amen.


Thank you, Reverend Jones, for your inspiring words. You remind us in that in all our wonderful diversity, this campus is linked by strong shared values.

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Introduction of the Student Speaker

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Penny Saffold will now introduce the student speaker.

From surfboard entrepreneur to dual degree undergraduate to admission to Stanford's Ph.D. Program in management science & engineering -- that has been Andrew Hines' journey over the last three years. As a teenager who found the "real world" far more engaging than the classroom, Andrew founded a company that manufactured surfboards using computer-aided design technology.

The company flourished, and not long after graduation, Andrew was "bought out" by a competitor. Then, he reconsidered college.

Here at SF State he has excelled in every aspect of university life. An outstanding student, he graduates today Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, selected by the College of Business as its hood recipient -- its outstanding 2008 graduate -- and with not one but two bachelor’s degrees. The second, from the College of Science & Engineering, is in statistics.

A strong leader, he launched the Decision Sciences Student Association. A generous peer, he created a tutoring program for freshman business majors. He worked at Cisco Systems in a group primarily of Ph.D.s, and he wrote a business column for CNET Networks. And he did find time to surf.

After earning his doctorate, Andrew intends to work at what he calls "the intersection of economic competitiveness, social equity and environmental protection." I am delighted now to present, representing the Class of 2008, Andrew Hines.

Student Speaker for the Class of 2008

Thank you. When I was a little kid, I didn't like vegetables, which really is quite funny because I'm a vegetarian. But I knew that vegetables -- supposedly -- were good for me, so I developed the strategy where I would just eat them really fast to get it over with. Now, in the realm of decision sciences, one of the most important concepts is constrained optimization, which deals with problems where you have to either maximize or minimize something in the face of some constraints. And these constraints may be finite resources or certain policies which can't be broken.

Now, with this idea of constrained optimization, I can look back and see that my vegetable eating strategy makes perfect sense from an analytical point of view. That is, you could say that I self-imposed a policy of eating vegetables, and with that constraint, I developed my super-fast vegetable eating algorithm in order to minimize sensory displeasure.

Candidly, I took a similar approach to university education when I first came to SF State. I knew that supposedly, college was good for me, but I wasn't expecting it to be the most enjoyable experience. So I determined that the optimal strategy would be to take as many classes as possible, every semester, including summer, in order to graduate in the shortest period of time. Again, a perfectly logical strategy.

But then I observed a remarkable phenomenon, one that I never would have expected and one that has changed the course of my life forever. That is, I discovered that I love to learn. I found that the experience of learning is expansive, light, and free, and that the more I learned, the more I desired to learn.

Now, as we transition to a new stage in our lives, learning may not be so easy as it was at SF State. At this university, we were bound to learn, learning is the modus operandi, and we had every learning resource at our disposal. Among these resources, of course, the most important is SF State's outstanding faculty. When we leave today, we will lose the regular insight of their wisdom. And steadily, we will become occupied with our careers, our families, and with whatever leisure we can manage to find.

Sooner or later, learning may take a back seat to the daily errands of our lives. That would be a tragedy. Our ability to continue learning is what ultimately will determine our success. And to continue learning we must seek out new experiences with an eager mind, searching for insight and meaning at every turn. That is our challenge now: To keep up the thoughtful inquiry that defines the life of the student, no matter the circumstances of our lives.

The challenge now for each of us is to be a student forever, but at this very moment, class of 2008, we can forget all that and just be happy.

Congratulations, and rock on.


Thank you, Andrew, for speaking so personally and powerfully to -- and for -- your classmates.

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Presentation of Faculty Emerita/Emeritus

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John Gemello will now present the emeritus faculty.

It is appropriate that at Commencement we acknowledge the contribution of those faculty who, like our graduates, are leaving the University. These individuals have served with distinction, and upon their retirement, are being granted emeritus status.

Mr. President, I am pleased to present them to you today. Will the faculty emeriti please rise as I call their names:

  • John Hewitt, Professor of Broadcast & Electronic Communications Arts;

  • Demetrius Jim Kitses, Professor of Cinema;

  • Larry Kroeker, Professor of Psychology;

  • Laura Rifkin, Lecturer in Recreation & Leisure Studies;

  • James Smith, Professor of Mathematics;

  • David Tabb, Professor of Political Science;

  • Jean Van Keulen, Professor of Special Education;

  • Marilyn Verhey, Dean of Faculty Affairs & Professional Development and Professor of Nursing; and,

  • Cecilia Wambach, Professor of Elementary Education.

My friends and colleagues. It is with great pride and deep admiration that, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I confer upon each of you the title of Professor or Lecturer Emeritus or Emerita of San Francisco State University. May you find fulfillment in this next stage of your life -- and remember that you will always be a part of the San Francisco State University family.

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Recognition of Alumnus of the Year

The Vice President for University Advancement, Lee Blitch, will now present the Alumnus of the Year.

Today you end your student careers and you start new ones as proud State alums. You're joining a special group that includes more than 200,000 people and stretches around the world. Please remember that wherever you go, you will always be a part of SF State.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce to you our 2008 Alumnus of the Year, Dr. Joseph L. White. Professor White, would you please join me?


Widely considered "the father of black psychology," Joseph White has forged a legendary career that has been described as "a potent mix of academics and social activism."

At the height of the civil rights movement he emerged as a powerful voice of change. He challenged colleges and universities to open their doors wide to ethnic minorities. And he demanded that psychologists learn to better understand the unique experiences of ethnic minorities.

In both these causes, he succeeded brilliantly. With an article in Ebony Magazine titled "Toward a Black Psychology," he shook, and then helped to transform his profession. Today, cross-cultural psychology and multicultural counseling have become mainstream.

Joseph White also changed the face of universities throughout California. The Educational Opportunity Program he helped create has enabled more than 300,000 students of color earn degrees from SF State and other California State University Campuses.

Dr. White has had a profound influence on this University. After earning two degrees here, followed by a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, he returned to SF State. It was a time of ferment. As Dean of Undergraduate Studies in 1968, he helped to establish our landmark Black Studies Program -- the start of what is now our College of Ethnic Studies.

He would go on to a long and distinguished career at the University of California, Irvine, where he is professor emeritus of both Psychology and Psychiatry.

We are proud to claim Dr. Joseph White as one of our own and delighted to honor him as the University's 2008 Alumnus of the Year!


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Response by Alumnus of the Year

Thank you very much. As they used to say in the old Fillmore District when I was an undergraduate here 58 years ago, you're looking good. You're all looking good.

And I know that this is a very happy day, not only for you, but for your parents, your spouses, your significant others, your cousin, your grandmamma, your auntie, your uncle and anybody else that might be here, right? And I want you to know that we need you in this big world beyond San Francisco State. We need you big-time in this big world. And why do we need you? We need you to take us the next step of the way. We need you to take us into a future, a future where we can look at people who are different than we are, who are a different color, walk different, eat different foods, look different, have different sexual orientation, and we need you to guide us toward mutual understanding, mutual enrichment, finding common ground and reconciliation. And why would I say something like that?

As all of you know, 500 years ago, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. 500 years ago, you learned in the second grade that Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And since that time, there's been a long history of conflict, oppression, people being abused, Native Americans, black, Asian American, Chicano, whatever, fights over power and this and that. Finally, after 500 years, we finally have reached a level of tolerance.

It's taken us 500 years. And now we have classes out in that big world you're going out into on diversity training where they teach you not to say bad words to another person. Can you imagine that? We pay people $3,000 a day to tell you that, 500 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

And you know what happened to me the other day? I got called to task. A lady got all up in my face because I used the term "Dago Red." Let me repeat; "Dago Red." "Dago Red" comes from Italian boys that used to live down the street from me in Minneapolis and we used to make our own wine. And they called the wine "Dago Red." Well, I'm not allowed to say that anymore. So, now I have to say, "we used to make 'Italian red wine.'" That's 500 years it's taken us to get there, but you all have been part of a unique experience in America. During your tenure here at this university, you have reached across ethnic lines, cultural lines, sexual orientation lines, religious lines. You all have more diversity than exists anywhere around America, and you all have learned to get along; right?

You all have gone the next step in moving toward mutual understanding, mutual enrichment, finding common ground and reconciliation. And you all have even had secret romances across some of these little old gender and racial lines. And let me tell you what happened to me; I was here two years ago and I got lost from my daughter -- who's on the faculty -- and I tried to buy me a hamburger in the student union. I came across some people having a big old argument, they were different genders, different religions and different races. I thought they were going to get in a fistfight, and I would have to intercede, but I was late going to the Behavioral Science building so I grabbed my hamburger and I ran out out the door. And two hours later, when I came back, it was getting dark and the same two students that was arguing big time was kissing up behind the student union. Can you believe that? Can you believe that? So you all need to teach us what you have already learned. 'Cause, during your tenure here, you've been on committees together, you've been in classes together, you've been in study groups, you've worked on community projects, and you've had a number of close encounters with each other, and you have learned to make it work through direct experience. So we need to learn what you know. You need to take us the next step; mutual understanding, mutual enrichment, finding common ground, and racial reconciliation where we have never been in 500 years since Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

We are depending on you to take us to where Martin Luther King, the good Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, asked us to go 45 years ago when he said we should move toward the beloved community in America. We should move toward the beloved community where we all get together and work and relate as a family, as sisters and brothers. Where we move beyond these unproductive dichotomies of who is good and who's bad, who is going to rule and who is not going to rule. So we were depending on you to move us to that beloved community.

Let's all now stand and join hands together. I'm going to ask you to do one more thing for me. Stand and join hands together. Let's all join hands together. Let's all join hands together. Stand and join hands together. And we're going to follow the good reverend who prayed for the rain to stop, and it stopped. And so -- so we're going to follow the good reverend into the get-down Baptist church and do the call-response. You all will pick it up as I say it.

They say that freedom is a constant struggle, how long? Not long. Let me hear from you: how long?

AUDIENCE: Not long! SPEAKER: How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

WHITE: Working together, we can turn dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

WHITE: How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

SPEAKER: The late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy once said, "it is not too late to build a better world." How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

WHITE: How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

SPEAKER: Remember the words of the ancient Chinese proverb, "a journey of a thousand miles, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

WHITE: How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

SPEAKER: Remember the words of the poets that I learned right here on this campus 57 years ago, the words of the poets, I believe it was Mr. Tennyson: "The woods are lovely. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, dark and deep and we have promises to keep, promise to keep, and miles to go before we sleep and miles to go before we sleep." How long?

AUDIENCE: Not long!

WHITE: Come and grow old with me. The best is yet to be. Thank you, Jesus. How long? Not long.

SPEAKER: Not long!


Thank you, Dr. White. You helped to shape this University at a critical time, and I hope you are as proud of what it has become as we are of your stellar career

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Conferral of the Honorary Degree on Walter Johnson

At Commencement, we not only recognize and honor all that you, our graduates, have achieved as students, we look ahead to what you can accomplish as educated and concerned citizens.

And so, each year, we choose this day to honor outstanding individuals who can serve as stirring models of the highest values and achievements to which you can aspire.

You have met one such person already -- our Alumnus of the Year. Now we will present the remarkable individuals on whom we have chosen to bestow the academic world's highest award -- the honorary doctorate.

Joining me for the first of honorary degree conferrals are two members of the California State University Board of Trustees: Board Chair Roberta Achtenberg and Trustee Peter Mehas.


Good afternoon! And congratulations to the Class of 2008! At the opening of this ceremony, President Corrigan issued a challenge to you. I would like to do the same. You are where you are today because the California State University gave you opportunity. I now challenge you to do your utmost to see that the young people who follow you have that same opportunity. The CSU needs and deserves your support. The future of our state -- and that of hundreds of thousands of students -- depends on this great institution.

I hope you will be ambassadors for the CSU, helping to ensure that its doors will remain wide open for your successors, the classes of the decades to come. And again, congratulations!

Would Mr. Walter Johnson please join us.


Walter Johnson, in a lifetime committed to the cause of organized labor, you have been engaged with the great social issues of our era. For almost half a century, you have championed the rights of working women and men, and your heart has gone out most strongly to those who have most needed support.

You, Walter Johnson, have fought to knock down workplace barriers for people of color and win them not just jobs, but good jobs. You have done the same for women, for members of the lesbian and gay community, for all who, over the decades, came forward to claim their full and rightful place in the proud ranks of workers.

As leader of the San Francisco Labor Council, which unites more than 100,000 workers with one voice, you have won better working conditions, better wages, and better opportunities for people who are the very backbone of our community. You have said that labor should be "the conscience of our city," and your record of achievement shows how well you have lived by those words.

You have given time and energy to more than a score of community organizations. We at SF State are grateful for your contributions, both to our president’s advisory board and labor studies archives.

Walter johnson, you are guided by the highest values of the California State University and San Francisco State University. We are delighted to honor you today.

By the authority vested in me by the board of trustees, and in the name of the California State University and San Francisco State Iniversity, Ii hereby confer upon you, Walter Johnson, the degree of doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, with all the rights, honors and opportunities which it imparts.



Response by Dr. Walter Johnson

I've been ordered to keep it very short. In other words, I've been told to shut up and sit down. But being a labor person, you're not just going to be able to do that. I didn't know that you were describing me when you made that statement. But I never had a graduation before, this has a great meaning for me to be here with you all.

But we -- and one thing that is important, and I know many people I've met along the way, and one thing, we should all realize that we're different, but we're also the same. Everybody is the same type of individual, has the same rights, and so as we're here, and I wish I could say more, but when I go in my own high school graduation reunion, I go in a phone booth and sing my school song, "I Walk Alone."

But as you leave here today, and you go out into the world, be who you are, not trying to be somebody else, to get somebody's great attention. Be who you are. And remember, this, that we don't know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. We hold the future, and we are going to change it. We're going to end the war, we're going to bring better education and get in and say, we're going to do it because we're going to do it together.

Thank you very much for this great honor. Thank you.



Thank you Dr. Johnson. You are an exemplar for us all.

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Conferral of the Honorary Degree on Isabel Allende

I would now like to invite Trustee Chair-Elect Jeffrey Bleich and Trustee George Gowgani to join me at the podium.


For all of you in the Class of 2008, and for your families and friends, this is a great day! We applaud you all.

I would like to add to Chair Achtenberg’s challenge. You got on the road to college, and you have traveled that road successfully. I hope you realize what powerful role models you can be. I hope you will take time to encourage and guide youngsters who may not know how to get on track for college, or who may not realize how life-changing a college education will be for them.

You are about to experience the tangible benefits of having earned your SF State degree. As you go into the work force job-ready and life-ready, I encourage you to let friends, colleagues, legislators, and community leaders know how important the CSU has been to you and how much access to it will mean to the generations of students who will follow you.

Best wishes for the future!

Would Ms. Isabel Allende please join us?

Isabel Allende, when you write, you speak to the world. Since the publication 26 years ago of your first novel, your work has been translated into 30 languages and sold more than 51 million copies. You have become the most widely read Latin American woman author in the world.

You, Isabel Allende, have received numerous international literary awards, been hailed by critics as "a genius" and "a literary legend." Though you have experienced trauma and tragedy, you give us a vision of a world where we can be sustained in the darkest times by the brightness of our own spirit.

Yet, Isabel Allende, it is not for your literary gifts alone that we honor you today. With a heart as powerful as your creative imagination, you have determined to help members of our most vulnerable populations to achieve social and economic justice. The Isabel Allende Foundation, which you established as a tribute to your late daughter, Paula, has reached out to women and children around the globe.

Your life has made you keenly aware of the challenges of our time. Yet you remain confident that the best in us will prevail. You have said, "we have the capacity to save ourselves and the planet, and we will use it."

Isabel Allende, you are using that capacity to splendid effect. You model characteristics that we have sought to develop in our students, and we are delighted to honor you today.

By the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, and in the name of the California State University and San Francisco State University, I hereby confer upon you, Isabel Allende, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, with all the rights, honors and opportunities which it imparts.



Response by Dr. Isabel Allende

Well, congratulations to all of you, this is a happy, happy day, for you and for me.

In 1987, I came to California on a book tour and I met the last heterosexual bachelor in San Francisco. I fell in lust with the man and in love with the land. I moved into his house without an invitation. And twenty years later, I'm still in lust with the man and in love with the land.

In California, I have written fourteen books and put together an extended Chilean-American family, our little tribe. I'm a first generation Hispanic immigrant. This country has been very good to me. It has given me freedom, space, privacy and the opportunity to give something back. I belong here. I want my ashes to be scattered in the woods of West Marin where my daughter's ashes are. I'm very, very grateful for this honorary degree, and I will do my very best to deserve it.

Thank you.



Thank you, Doctor Allende. Your creativity sustains our spirits and your social conscience inspires us.

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Conferral of the Honorary Degree on Manny Mashouf

For this honorary degree conferral, I would like to invite Trustee Chair Achtenberg to join Chair-Elect Bleich at the podium

Would Mr. Manny Mashouf please come forward?

Manny mashouf, your story is both an American and a San Francisco State University classic. You came to this country as an immigrant, with little English, but equipped with intellect, drive, creativity and confidence. With those attributes, you have achieved much and contributed much to your adopted nation.

Here at SF State you juggled multiple responsibilities -- father, student, breadwinner. And you infused all you did with the passion to learn and to experience that have shaped your life.

Just six years after your graduation, you took the first step on a path that has made business and fashion history. You opened a boutique in San Francisco, and it became a retail phenomenon: the international chain of more than 300 women’s cutting-edge fashion stores known as bebe.

As bebe has grown, so has your conviction that you have an obligation to use your wealth for the greater good. One of your greatest causes has been education. You have called it "the most effective way to improve the quality of our lives for the future."

And how you have lived by those words! Three years ago, when we honored you as our Alumnus of the Year, you brought this stadium to its feet when we announced your multi-million dollar gift -- the largest in our history. It will make possible the Mashouf Creative Arts Center, a gift both to this campus and to the Bay Area community.

Manny Mashouf, your life reflects the commitment to social justice and equity that is SF State's hallmark value. With integrity and generosity, you are leaving a splendid mark on the world around you, and it is with the greatest admiration that we honor you today.

By the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, and in the name of San Francisco State University and the California State University, I hereby confer upon you, Manny Mashouf, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, with all the rights, honors and opportunities which it imparts.



Response of Dr. Manny Mashouf

You've been told a few times that you're all looking good. I have to say, you're also wearing the most fashionable color of the year.

President Corrigan, members of the Board of Trustees, thank you. This is indeed a great honor. It means so much to me. I only wish my father was here to see this. He was a learned man with many degrees, and I think that he was a little surprised when his son chose to go in a completely different direction. He would have been delighted to see me, that my decision to follow my heart worked out well for me.

It is humbling to be called a model for this graduating class. If I am, I would say that I gained many of the values that have shaped my life here at San Francisco State. When I was a student, the campus was a place of idealism, social action, and we got involved with civil rights, women's liberation, free speech, anti-war protests, and other huge issues. We graduated with the feeling that we could change the world. And I think we did.

I hope you're graduating with the same sense of passion, determination and confidence. President Corrigan challenged you at the start of the ceremony to live by your San Francisco State values. I want to add one thing to that. Please believe that your influence, your individual choices and actions and your lifestyles, can make a huge difference to our society not just for you and not just for your family, but for the entire world. Everyone likes to give graduates advice on commencement day. I'll keep mine very short. Do what you love the best, not just what is expected of you. Embrace honesty and integrity in everything you do in life and give back. Contribute to worthy causes such as institutions like this great University.

It is a joy to be part of your day, this great day here. To all of you in the class of 2008, my sincere wishes for your happiness and success. Thank you. Thank you.



Thank you Doctor Mashouf, for joining your talents with a generous heart.

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Presentation of Commencement Speaker

From the start of his career in public service, Gavin Newsom has made social equity and an educated, progressive society his priorities. He has won recognition far beyond the bay area -- even beyond the state and nation -- as a dynamic, charismatic and above all, principled political leader. In fact, the World Economic Forum has named him one of its young global leaders.

Since he took office as San Francisco's mayor in 2004, Gavin Newsom has tackled San Francisco's most persistent and vexing problems. Homelessness, educational opportunity for underserved populations, the need for health care -- he has worked on them all, frequently with spectacular success.

In just a few years, the "Care, Not Cash" and "Homeward Bound" programs Mayor Newsom created in his first term led to a 39 percent decline in San Francisco's homeless population. For those still on the streets, "Project Homeless Connect" -- another Newsom initiative -- links the homeless with a comprehensive range of services. "Homeless Connect” is now being copied by major cities around the country.

Last year, Mayor Newsom introduced "Healthy San Francisco," a program that provides high-quality health care for all San Francisco residents without health insurance.

SF State is proud to partner with the mayor in another major initiative, "SF Promise," which starts San Francisco students on the college path in middle school, and guarantees acceptance to the University for all high school graduates who qualify.

Two weeks ago, the California Supreme Court sustained the legality of same-sex marriage, thus affirming Mayor Newsom's action early in his first term to have the county clerk issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is a truly visionary leader whose policies and practices embody this University's values. I am honored to present to you now, our 2008 Commencement Speaker, the Honorable Gavin Newsom.

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Commencement Address

Thank you Bob. Congratulations, class of 2008. How are you feeling, San Francisco State?

It is good to be here and it's an honor to be asked to speak to you. Now, I did -- I did a little bit of research before I decided to accept this. I asked my staff, I said, "Tell me about your graduation speaker at college." They all are college graduates, by the way, and not one of them could remember who spoke at their graduation. So let me introduce myself to you as the guy you will soon forget that spoke at your graduation here at SF State.

It is my honor to be invited to share with you not a political speech, but to share with you just some thoughts and ideas that I have been jotting down in the last few days, some of the things I've picked up along the way. But I would be remiss not to pick up on what some of the previous speakers have said, particularly some of the passionate eloquence of Dr. White who sounded more like Reverend White when he spoke about our composite strength. And, I think, it is important to reflect on this.

Bob Corrigan, your president, reflected upon it in his opening remarks of this the 107th graduating class. He commented to me when we were walking up, he said, "I don't know if you know this Mayor, but there are 107 countries represented in this graduation, here today, which is extraordinary." And that deserves some consideration because for the rest of your lives you're going to be identified with San Francisco State University. You're going to be identified with a city that is among the most diverse cities in the most diverse region in the most diverse State in the world's most diverse democracy.

And people are living together, advancing together, and prospering together across every conceivable difference, that's the magic of our city, that's the magic of your university, that's the magic and spirit that unites us all here today. In addition -- and by the way I know you're thinking, "how long?" I got you. Don't worry. Not long.

I was thinking about, though, what makes -- beyond that composite strength -- the fact that we are celebrating all our interesting differences, but at the end of the day, we're uniting around our common humanity and things that unite us. I also was trying to think about what makes San Francisco such a unique and special place, why it's often been described as 47 square miles surrounded by reality.

Think about that.

A city of dreamers, a city of doers, a city of entrepreneurs, a city of innovators, a city that is always on the leading and cutting edge of new ideas. At its core, it's people who live their lives out loud.

And this is what I want to impart to you and challenge you to think about: it's passionate people that have found their purpose, the things that drive them. And the more I go around and the more I go through life, I am now starting to understand this distinction between committed people and interested people. And the difference therein lies my belief of the determinative nature of success: that committed people find ways of getting things done. Interested people find excuses. And where that commitment comes from is passion. Pursuing something you love.

When you graduate as you are in a moment, formally, what you do next should be in that pursuit. Do not take a job for what it pays you. Take a job because of how it inspires you and what you can learn from it. I have met so many people that are utterly disconnected with happiness because every single day they're waking up and they're going to work. And they don't particularly like their jobs because they haven't found their passion. If you don't like your job, you're not going to excel it at it, period. But if you find something you love, you'll find that connection, you'll find that commitment, and you'll find your bliss, and you'll find your connection to something much bigger.

And that's why I just want to challenge you to answer this question -- I have on my desk a little plaque that says, "what would you do, what would you do if you knew you could not fail?"

What would you try to achieve? Who would you try to become if you knew it was impossible to fail, what would you try to do? And if you can answer that question, and if you can live and manifest the answer to that question, then I believe you guys are well on your way.

Another key determinant of success in life is failure. And I want to focus on this. A lot has been written and discussed about the importance of failure, but I need to underscore this point because you have all been trained in a way that makes you less likely to fail as often as I would like you to.

And what I mean by failure is the willingness and ability to take risks, we are so risk-averse, specifically in the public sector. And the purpose for me of taking risks is that mistakes are portals of discovery. When you fail -- and I challenge you to fail forward fast -- when you fail, you're learning something new. It's remarkable to me, and this is interesting, that all the great discoveries in physics have been made by people 25 years and younger. And the reason why is they just don't know what they don't know. And as a consequence, they're willing to try new things. And so I challenge you as you move forward in life, do not become risk averse. I want you to do what Winston Churchill said when he answered the question, "what is the secret of all success?," Winston Churchill, he said it was moving from failure to failure with enthusiasm.

Think about it. If it's that easy… Wayne Gretsky commented, "You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take." The point is, if you think those two did all right, consider some of their colleagues who somewhat shared similar fates. Guys like Elvis Presley and Michael Jordan, Dr. Seuss, Henry Ford -- if you don't know him you probably drive one of his automobiles -- all of them had failure in common. Jordan was literally rejected from his high school basketball team. Michael Jordan wasn't good enough. That guy Churchill finished last in his class, whoever you are, congratulations… there are a number of you, I see.

Henry Ford went bankrupt not once, not twice -- three, four, five times went bankrupt. Dr. Seuss tried to publish that darn green eggs and whatever ham, not once -- five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-three times he was rejected. Until a publisher finally said, "all right, what the heck do I have to lose?" And Elvis Presley got an F in music.

My point, I think, has been made.

I want you in that context -- and I heard it a moment ago, and it's just so right on -- to also preserve a sense of being different. Learn from but don't follow others. We get so consumed by how someone else is doing in terms of defining our own success in life. I kind of love what the late, great Jerry Garcia said, Grateful Dead, I know you, some of you still know who the Grateful Dead are. And I love the idea that a politician could quote Jerry Garcia. Only in San Francisco. But he said, "you do not want to be the best of the best." Let me repeat that, this is what he said, he said, "you do not want to be the best of the best. You want to be the only one that does what you do."

Think about that. And by the way, that described the Grateful Dead, didn't it? It describes them day. Everyone has a unique, latent talent. Everyone's expression is unique, celebrate that. Don't try to become someone else and something inherently you are not. That's the opportunity. Live your life out loud for you to find the ability to be fully expressive, and that is the opportunity of originality. That's what each and every one of you inherently possess.

Another point, we heard it a moment ago, as well. And that is lifelong learning. This is important. I keep reminding my staff when they come in and lecture me is that they need to first seek to understand, then to be understood. A lesson my mother taught me. This was codified so many times over in so many books that I've read, but probably best by the greatest basketball coach in history. The greatest coach in history who said, it's what you learn after you know it all that counts. That was John Wooden. Think about that. It's important.

Learning doesn't end here today. It's the beginning of a process. If you're green, you are growing, if you are ripe, you are rotting. Be green.

Also, learn to listen. And I know many of you are not. But listening is the only way to find out what you are missing. There is a great story, I just read this in a book about president Teddy Roosevelt who was an admirer of listeners and practiced it himself. And he was at this big, fancy gala out at the White House. It's a true story. And everyone came up all these silent pleasantries, nice to meet you Mr. President, keep up the good work. And the President would say a few words, thank you that's great. He recalled no one was paying a damn bit of attention to him. So he said the following to everyone he met, with a big smile on his face at this big, fancy gala with all these fancy people. He said with a smile when he shook their hand, he said "I killed my grandmother this morning." True story, he said that. And everyone went by and everyone said, "that's wonderful, Mr. President, nice to meet you." He kept repeating it until one very seasoned diplomat leaned over and whispered into his ear -- into the president's ear and said, "Well, Mr. President, I'm sure she had it coming." Learn to listen.

We heard from Manny [Mashouf] about the importance of generosity. This is also important because I'll tell you the three people that were honored today -- Walter, Isabel and Manny -- were honored for one reason. Not because of the things they have received but because of things they have given. This is important in life. Because we kind of sometimes forget that. It's the old lesson of the candle. It doesn't lose at all it's brightness by lighting another candle.

There's a story I heard a couple years ago, and bear with me very briefly, about the Special Olympics, This friend of mine, Michael Pritchard, told this story about the Special Olympics. They're all lined up, and there was a very large woman, taller than the rest, bigger, stronger, named Judy. Judy starts running around the track. She's well ahead of everybody else. And people are enthusiastically cheering her on, saying keep going, Judy, keep going. She gets about fifteen yards from the finish line, and people say, come on Judy, the gold medal, the gold medal. she slows down and stops, she's shaking her head. Come on Judy, fifteen yards, fifteen yards, you've got it. She keeps shaking her head. Until she turns around and waits for every single person – this is a true story -- to come right up and she puts out her arms and wraps around every single shoulder and they all walk across the finish line together. That's generosity. That's the spirit of generosity. That's what it's all about, guys, and I hope you think about that.

Two final points. Forget pursuit of power. Forget the pursuit of power. I'm talking Gandhi, King, Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, I could go on. But I challenge you to think with me, think about Gandhi in 1935, Dr. King, 1959, Havel, '85, how about Mandela in 1988. What did they all have in common? Jail time. None of them had formal authority. Theirs was the pursuit of purpose, not power. They had moral authority.

You do not need a title to have moral authority, you do not need a title to change the world. There's just simply enough evidence to prove that point. Think about those four leaders the next time you are desperate for that job that you must have to finally be someone. Do not forget. It's not about being someone, it's about doing something. Not about being some governor or president so that you can finally do something. You have moral authority. Use it.

I'll close by saying this, as well, that one thing about success I've also learned is it's not a place and it's not a definition. It's a direction. There is no having made it. I'd like to tell you that there was. So I just want to make you think a little bit about an old line that it's important to happily achieve, not achieve to be happy. I know that you've achieved something great today, but I hope you've enjoyed the process. And I hope whatever new goals and sights you is set for yourself remember that, this is it, tomorrow, the next day, this is it. So, the point is calm down, reflect upon it, and enjoy it and know that there are no experts. I am learning this, and if you didn't believe me, just think about weapons of mass destruction. There are no experts. We're all winging it. So relax. Don't take it or yourselves too seriously. Final words, how long? Not long.

I've always believed that the best way to predict the future is simply to go out and create it. And a lot of people talk about the future being in front of us, but at the end of the day, don't ever forget it -- this is the spirit of what Walter talked about a moment ago -- the future is not just in front of you, it's inside of you. You've got to have the courage to manifest it. To take the risks. To live your lives out loud. To be driven by passion and purpose. Remember purpose is what it's all about, not power. Live your life out loud, be fully expressive, recognize your fate is connected to every single person next to you, in front of you and around you and relax and enjoy and -- and regale in this great day in your accomplishments as graduates 2008 at San Francisco State. Thank you all, and have a great afternoon.


Thank you, Mayor Gavin Newsom. You remind us of the power and the value of public service.

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President's Remarks

Listen up, Class of 2008! In just a few minutes, we will arrive at the part of the program for which you all have been waiting -- the awarding of degrees!

Always remember that you are as exceptionally talented and as well-educated a group as can be found anywhere.

You are graduating into a world of extraordinary challenges; we know that you will rise to meet them!

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Conferring of Doctoral Degrees

We now begin the Conferral of Degrees. Provost John Gemello and Dean of Graduate Studies Ann Hallum will present the candidates for the Doctoral Degree

By the joint action of the board of Regents of the University of California and the Board of Trustees of the California State University, we are awarding one doctoral degree today. We are conferring this degree with the University of California, San Francisco.

Will Benjamin Boyd please come forward for hooding by Dean Hallum.


Mr. President, subject to the completion of all requirements as prescribed by the Board of Regents of the University of California, the Trustees of the California State University, and the faculties of the University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco State University, Benjamin Boyd is presented for receipt of the degree Doctor of Physical Therapy Science.

Upon the recommendation of the administrative and teaching faculty of San Francisco State University and of the University of California, San Francisco, and by the authority vested in me as President of the University by the State of California under the provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act, I confer upon you, Benjamin Boyd, the degree, Doctor of Physical Therapy Science, with all the rights, honors and opportunities attached thereto.


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Presentation of the Hood Recipients

It is time to introduce the graduating students on the platform whom President Corrigan mentioned earlier -- our 2007 hood recipients.
It is an academic custom to invest those earning degrees with hoods that designate the degree bestowed. Time does not allow us to present each of the graduates here today with a hood. Therefore the graduate program has chosen an outstanding student to represent all of these receiving their master's degree and each college of the University has chosen an outstanding student to represent those earning undergraduate degrees. These students will receive the hood on behalf of their fellow members of the class of 2008. Would the hood recipients and the respective deans please come forward?


Audience, please hold your applause until all the hood recipients have been presented. Representing all students receiving their master's degree today is Mr. Ravindran K. Subramanian, who is receiving a Master of Public Administration degree.


The public administration faculty agree that Mr. Subramanian ranks at the top of students they have seen in the last decade. While earning his degree, he rose to a major post in the information services bureau of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. He is now a division director for the California Public Utilities Commission, where he is already giving back to SF State, by adding our computer science and public administration students to the paid internship program.

Dean of the Graduate Division, Anne Hallum, will now present the hood.


Ms. Katherine Anketell Kramer, an Economics major, has been selected to receive the investiture in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.


While working in San Francisco's hospitality industry, Katherine Kramer became interested in how businesses can be run so as to benefit people and the environment. In economics she found a field that could address her concerns. Through her study of environmental economics, she is exploring the ways that effective incentives can be provided for businesses and individuals to protect the earth. She will pursue these issues further next fall, when she returns to SF State to pursue a master’s in economics.

Joel Kassiola, Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences will now confer the hood.


Representing all of today's graduates in the College of Business is Mr. Andrew C. Hines, a Decision Sciences major.


Andrew Hines has committed himself to completing all his course work as quickly as possible. He maintained such an outstanding academic record that his petitions each semester to exceed the maximum allowable unit load were always approved.

College of Business Dean Nancy Hayes will confer the hood.


Mr. David Michael Silverman, an Art major, has been selected to receive the hood on behalf of all graduates in the College of Creative Arts.

Earlier in his career, David Silverman worked extensively as an actor, performing alongside such stars as Holly Hunter, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver. But his longstanding interest in painting and teaching remained alive. While involved with a Los Angeles arts group serving disadvantaged youth, Mr. Silverman met several SF State art professors and chose a career change. Here he has excelled. His plans now include an MFA degree and a career as both a working artist and an art educator.

The Dean of the College of Creative Arts, Ron Compesi, will confer the hood.


Ms. Marie Clavere Held, a Communicative Disorders major has been selected to receive the hood for the College of Education.


While in community college, Marie Held began working with adults and children with autism and other special needs. She realized that she had found her profession, and moved on to SF State's communicative disorders program. Here, she has seized every opportunity to put learning into practice, working in our clinic with SF State graduate students and faculty and volunteering at a Sonoma County school. Next fall, she will enter our master's program in communicative disorders in order to become a speech-language pathologist.

The Dean of the College of Education, Jake Perea, will confer the hood.


Ms. Morrigan Yaayaginaxíx Shaw, a major in American Indian Studies, has been selected to receive the hood in the College of Ethnic Studies.

Morrigan Shaw is the first student to earn our newly established bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies. A member of the Tlingit and Haida tribes, she has focused on cultural preservation and revitalization. She is particularly intersted in applying traditional environmental knowledge to contemporary American Indian issues related to cultural, land and resource management. Ms. Shaw has been accepted into the graduate program in American Indian Studies at UCLA and plans to work for her tribe to repatriate native american remains and sacred objects.

The Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, Kenneth Monteiro, will confer the hood.


Ms. Nicole Greaves, a Kinesiology major, has been selected to receive the investiture in the College of Health and Human Services.


Nicole Greaves' professors describe her as one of those rare students who challenges their thinking as much as they hope to challenge hers. While making the dean's list every semester, she has made time to mentor fellow students and volunteer in the community. Ms. Greaves will enter our master's degree program in kinesiology this fall. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in either kinesiology or physical therapy and then develop innovative strategies to help older adults cope with physical impairments.

The Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, Don Taylor, will confer the hood.


Ms. Lisa Victoria Rau, a double major in Communication Studies and Creative Writing, has been selected to receive the hood on behalf of all graduates in the College of Humanities.


Lisa Rau's course of study reflects her varied, interrelated interests. She has examined feminist rhetoric and representations of women in the media, taken playwriting and ensemble performance workshops, written monologues and mastered debating strategies. She is an outstanding communicator. As a novice member of our nationally-known speech and debate team, she was named Platform Speaker of the Year by the Northern California Forensics Association and was just named to the American Forensics Association's 16-person all-American individual events team.

Paul Sherwin, Dean of the College of Humanities, will confer the hood.


Mr. Batbileg Bor, a Biochemistry major, has been selected to receive the hood on behalf of all graduates in the College of Science and Engineering.


When Batbileg Bor arrived in the U.S. eight years ago seeking political asylum from his native Mongolia, he did not speak English. But by his senior year in high school he was taking advanced placement biology and had discovered his passion for biomedical science. Last summer, Mr. Bor won a place in the highly selective Genentech Scholars Internship Program. This fall, he will enter the doctoral program in biology at UCLA on a full scholarship. He plans a career in cellular or molecular biology research.

Sheldon Axler, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, will confer the hood.


Ms. Courtney Elise Good, a Liberal Studies major, has been selected to receive the hood on behalf of all Liberal Studies and Special Major graduates.


Courtney Good found in her interdisciplinary major a way t unite her interests in science, art and performance. At SF State she has learned American Sign Language; worked as a storyteller, and served as the student representative on the Graduation Requirements Task Force, helping to shape the vision of an SF State undergraduate education. She was just intiated into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honorary society. This fall, Ms. Good will enter a seminary program in Seattle, where she will explore how science, performance and spirituality connect.


Dean of Undergraduate Studies Gail Evans will now confer the hood.


We are tremendously proud of these outstanding students. Please join me in a round of applause for our 2008 hood recipients!
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Conferral of Master's Degrees

We now begin the conferral of degrees. Provost John Gemello will present the candidates for the master's degree.

Will all the candidates for the degree Master of Arts please rise.

  • The candidates for the degree Master of Fine Arts.
  • The candidates for the degree Master of Business Administration.
  • The candidates for the degree Master of Music.
  • The candidates for the degree Master of Public Administration.
  • The candidates for the degree Master of Public Health.
  • The candidates for the degree Master of Science.
  • And the candidates for the degree Master of Social Work.

Mr. President, subject to the completion of all requirements as prescribed by the trustees of the California State University and the faculty of San Francisco State University, these candidates are presented for receipt of the appropriate master's degrees.

Upon the recommendation of the administrative and teaching faculty of San Francisco State University, and by the authority vested in me as President of the University by the State of California, I confer upon each of you who has completed the requirements, the master's degree for which you are listed in the commencement program, together with all rights, privileges and responsibilities attached thereto.

Will the master's degree recipients please be seated. In a few moments, the faculty marshals will be guiding you to the stages, row by row. And now will the deans please go to their respective stages.

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Distribution of Diplomas to Master's Degree Candidates

Will the faculty marshals please direct the master's degree recipients to the stages, starting from the front. We ask that graduates please wait for the marshals' instructions. After leaving the stages, graduates will proceed to the rear of the stadium and will be guided out.

Coming forward to the stage on the right of the Jumbo screen will be graduates from the Colleges of Health and Human Services, Creative Arts, Humanities, Science and Engineering, and Education.

And to the stage on the left of the screen, Liberal Studies/Special Major graduates and graduates from the Colleges of Business, Ethnic Studies, and Behavioral and Social Sciences.


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Conferring of Bachelor's Degrees

And now, the moment for which so many have been waiting!

Will the candidates for the degrees Bachelor of Arts please rise. The candidates for the Bachelor of Music, and the candidates for the degree Bachelor of Science!

Mr. President subject to the completion of all requirements as prescribed by the trustees of the California State University and the faculty of San Francisco State University, these candidates are presented for receipt of the appropriate baccalaureate degrees.

Upon the recommendation of the administrative and teaching faculty of San Francisco State University, and by the authority vested in me as President of the University by the State of California, I confer upon each of you who have completed the requirements, the baccalaureate degree for which you are listed in the commencement program, together with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities attached thereto.

It is customary that those receiving the baccalaureate degree move the tassels of their caps from the right side to the left side. I ask that you who have just received your degrees move your tassels now. You've just graduated!

Members of the audience, I present to you the class of 2008. Please join me in a round of applause for all of them. Class of 2008, as you leave us today, you take with you our affection and respect, our belief in you and our hope that you will fulfill all of your dreams, God bless you all!

The faculty marshals will now guide the bachelor's degree recipients to the stage, row by row, starting from the front.

Coming forward to the stage on the right of the Jumbo screen will be graduates from the Colleges of Health and Human Services, Creative Arts, Humanities, Science and Engineering, and Education.

And to the stage on the left of the screen, Liberal Studies/Special Major graduates and graduates from the Colleges of Business, Ethnic Studies, and Behavioral and Social Sciences.


Distribution of Diplomas to Bachelor's Degree Candidates 

Deans distribute diplomas as before, students exit stadium after receiving their diplomas.

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