SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release


Philanthropist Barbro Osher to receive honorary degree

Bernard Osher Foundation chair is education advocate, cultural ambassador


SAN FRANCISCO, APRIL 26, 2012 -- Barbro Osher, a local philanthropist with an extraordinary record of generosity, will be awarded an Honorary Degree at San Francisco State University’s 111th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19.

Osher is the Consul General of Sweden in San Francisco and Chairman of the Board of The Bernard Osher Foundation. Together with her husband, who started the eponymous foundation in 1977, she has overseen bountiful investment in educational and cultural institutions locally, nationally and in her native Sweden.

A photo of Barbro Osher

As Chairman of the Board, Barbro Osher has led the Osher Foundation to become one of the nation’s leading charitable foundations. At SF State and at more than 150 other colleges and universities across the United States, the Oshers have established Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes to provide educational opportunities to seasoned adults and Osher Reentry Scholarships to help students whose studies have been interrupted for five or more years to earn their baccalaureate degree.

Through her own Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation -- Pro Suecia meaning "for Sweden” in Latin -- she has sponsored art events as well as film and lecture programs at SF State with a Swedish or Scandinavian theme. She also has contributed to presentations and exhibitions at the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other high-profile arts organizations in the Bay Area and nationally.

Osher has said that SF State’s values of diversity, tolerance and equal opportunity led her to support the University, noting they are the same values that drew her to the United States. She feels it is especially important for private donors to support higher education when public funding is declining, and has emphasized that “the path to a decent future is getting a good education.”

“Barbro Osher has helped open the doors of higher education to countless students of all ages,” said SF State President Robert A. Corrigan. “Her selfless gifts to SF State, along with hundreds of other colleges, universities and arts institutions worldwide, demonstrate her dedication to equal opportunity in learning. Her tremendous influence will be felt for many years to come.”

Honorary Degrees are awarded by SF State and the California State University. The degree recognizes individuals with meritorious and outstanding service to the CSU, the campuses, the State of California, the United States or humanity at large. The recipients also are individuals whose lives and achievements should serve as examples for CSU's student body. The CSU and each campus bestow the degrees during commencement ceremonies.
This year's honoree joins a distinguished list of SF State honorary degree recipients that includes singer Neil Young, Bridge School founder Pegi Young, South Africa President Nelson Mandela, Bay Area philanthropist Richard N. Goldman, actor Danny Glover, artist and teacher Ruth Asawa, Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.


SF State is the only master's level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls nearly 30,000 students each year. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communications arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University's more than 212,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.


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