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Marching toward success: SFSU's top grads
to rehearse for Commencement




SFSU Office of Public Affairs

(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs

Top grads include former high school dropouts, 23-year-old aspiring doctor from Nigeria, fledgling poet -- all who plan to make a difference in the world; Friday's rehearsal prepares grads for Saturday's Commencement, where they represent graduating class of nearly 7,200

SAN FRANCISCO, May 22, 2002

WHAT: San Francisco State University's Hood recipients, the top graduates chosen to represent the nearly 7,200 students in the class of 2002 -- the largest in SFSU history -- will rehearse on Friday for Saturday's Commencement ceremonies, where a crowd of 22,000 is expected.

WHEN: 3 p.m., Friday, May 24.

WHO: Each Hood recipient is an outstanding student with a unique story and an ambitious plan for the future. Here are several of their stories:

  • A former high school dropout, Kirsten Leising, 38, is now one of the first students at SFSU to earn a degree in the new environmental studies program. She encourages others who have struggled in school to never give up on their goals and dreams. "I want to let people know that comebacks are possible," says the resident of San Francisco's Richmond District. Outside of class, Leising co-founded SFSU's environmental studies student group and has engaged herself in the Bay Area community, working with the San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition and tutoring high school students in math. Leising plans to work in the field of watershed restoration.
  • After leaving her home in Nigeria at age 18 to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatrician for underprivileged children in her country, Olubukola Esho has excelled as a biochemistry major at SFSU with a 3.96 grade-point average. In addition to working to support herself, the 23-year-old San Leandro resident volunteers as a youth activities supervisor for her church and tutors underserved middle school children in Oakland. Esho's parents also sacrificed to help ensure her dream. When her father, himself a physician, became ill, her mother worked multiple jobs to help meet her tuition needs.
  • Born and raised in a small rural area of Germany near the French border, 41-year-old Ute Prince was forced to quit high school at age 16 to enter the workforce. After moving to the United States, the mother of two daughters went back to school and earned her GED -- but she didn't stop there. This fall, Prince, a Millbrae resident, will return to SFSU to earn a teaching credential. She is a teaching assistant at Lomita Park Elementary School in Millbrae and plans to teach elementary school herself by fall 2003.

WHERE: Cox Stadium, behind the San Francisco State University gymnasium, 1600 Holloway Ave. (at 19th Avenue), San Francisco.

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Last modified May 23, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs