SF State celebrates 112th Commencement: transcript
- Processional and National Anthem
- Welcome and Introductions
- Opening Reading
- Introduction of Student Speaker for Class of 2013
- Student Speaker Kathleen Downing's Remarks
- Conferral of the President’s Medal on Nancy Hayes
- Presentation of Distinguished Faculty Awards
- Conferral of the Honorary Degree on Adele Corvin
- Presentation of Commencement Speaker
- Commencement Address by Larry Baer
- Conferral of Doctoral Degrees
- Conferral of Master's Degrees
- Distribution of Diplomas to Master's Degree Candidates
- Conferral of Bachelor's Degrees
- Distribution of Diplomas to Bachelor's Degree Candidates
[AS THE PROCESSIONAL BEGAN AT APPROXIMATELY 12:20 P.M., COMMENCEMENT ANNOUNCER MARTY GONZALEZ BEGAN ANNOUNCING]
Good afternoon and welcome: mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and all other family members and friends of the Class of 2013! Welcome to San Francisco State University on this historic afternoon to celebrate our one hundred twelfth Commencement exercises! I am Marty Gonzalez, professor of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, the announcer for our Commencement ceremony today.
Again this year, thanks to our Disability Programs and Resource Center, we have interpreters for those who are deaf and hard-of‑hearing so that more of our guests can enjoy the ceremony. Our interpreters, Nuno Raposo and David Hahn are standing in the front on the north side of the stadium floor. Our ceremony is also being captioned on the large screen.
We would like to remind you that assistance is available for anyone who experiences a medical or other emergency. In the event of a general emergency, please follow directions from University Police and professional event staff.
Our graduates will enter the stadium first, followed by the University faculty. Concluding the processional will be the platform party, led by Faculty Marshal Lawrence Hanley, professor of English and chair of the Academic Senate.
Our graduates will be marching into the stadium in four separate lines by College, two lines on the north side of the stadium, two on the south.
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, Kathryn Danielson receiving a Master of Science degree in Biology, to represent all those receiving their master’s degree, and each college of the University has chosen an outstanding student to represent those earning undergraduate degrees. The undergraduate hood recipients will carry their college banners as they lead in the graduates from their respective colleges.
And now, entering the stadium on the north side -- led by hood Alfonso Solis receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema -- are the graduating students from the College of Liberal and Creative Arts, with degree programs in American Studies, Anthropology, Art, Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts, Chinese, Cinema, Cinema Studies, Classics, Communication Studies, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, English, French, German, History, Humanities, Industrial Arts, Industrial Design, International Relations, Italian, Japanese, Journalism, Liberal Studies, Modern Jewish Studies, Museum Studies, Music, Philosophy, Philosophy & Religion, Political Science, Social Science, Spanish, Theatre Arts, Technical and Professional Writing, Visual Communication Design, and Women and Gender Studies.
Also entering on the north side -- led by hood Tyler Borrman receiving a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics -- are the graduating students from the College of Science & Engineering, with degree programs in Applied Mathematics, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, Earth Sciences, Geology, Geography & Human Environmental Studies, Geosciences, Marine Science, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Psychology, and Statistics.
Entering on the south side -- led by hood Juan De Anda receiving a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Latina/Latino Studies and Journalism -- are the graduating students from the College of Ethnic Studies, with degree programs in Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Raza Studies.
Also entering on the south side of the stadium -- led by hood Kathleen Downing receiving a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management -- are the graduating students from the College of Business, with degree programs in Economics; Electronic Commerce; Finance; Hospitality & Tourism Management; Labor & Employment Studies; and Business Administration, with concentrations in Accounting, Corporate Finance, Decision Sciences, Entrepreneurial & Small Business Management, Financial Services, Information Systems, International Business, Management, and Marketing.
Now entering on the south side -- led by hood Taylor Baldry receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders -- are the graduating students from the Graduate College of Education, with degree programs in Communicative Disorders, Special Education, Educational Leadership, and Education, including concentrations in Adult Education, Early Childhood Education, Educational Administration, Elementary Education, Equity and Social Justice in Education, Instructional Technologies, Language and Literacy Education, Mathematics Education, and Secondary Education.
And entering on the south side of the stadium -- led by hood Lobsang Marcia receiving a Bachelor of Science in Health Education -- are the graduating students from the College of Health and Social Sciences, with degree programs in Apparel Design and Merchandising, Child and Adolescent Development, Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, Criminal Justice Studies, Dietetics, Environmental Studies, Family and Consumer Sciences, Gerontology, Health Education, Interior Design, Kinesiology, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Science, Public Administration, Public Health; Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration, Sexuality Studies, Social Work, Sociology, School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, and Urban Studies and Planning.
And now, entering the stadium this afternoon, representatives of the faculty of San Francisco State University! Led by Mercilee Jenkins, professor emerita of communication studies who represents those faculty who are retiring this year and who have devoted their careers to our students.
[AFTER THE FACULTY WAS ON STAGE, THE PRESIDENT'S PARTY ENTERED]
Entering the stadium for Commencement 2013, San Francisco State University’s one hundred twelfth Commencement exercises, the President's Party, led by Faculty Marshal Lawrence Hanley, chair of the Academic Senate, with San Francisco State University President Leslie E. Wong; Chair of the California State University Board of Trustees A. Robert Linscheid; California State University Trustee Roberta Achtenberg; President’s Medal recipient Nancy Hayes; Honorary Degree Recipient Adele Corvin; San Francisco Giants President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Baer, and other honored guests.
[ON REACHING THEIR PLACES ON THE PLATFORM, PROCESSIONAL PARTICIPANTS REMAINED STANDING FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM]
Ladies and gentlemen would you please rise for the singing of the National Anthem. Providing the music for the processional and throughout today's ceremony are the Alexander String Quartet, the Andrew Speight Quartet and the Holloway Quartet.
Our soloist today for the National Anthem is Charles Blake Quin, who graduates today with a Bachelor of Music in classical vocal performance.
[MR. QUIN MOVED TO HIS MICROPHONE, SANG THE NATIONAL ANTHEM]
Thank you, Mr. Quin, what an impressive opening for San Francisco State's 112th Commencement celebration! Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. Members of the San Francisco State University Class of 2013 -- good afternoon!
A warm welcome to all of our guests and to the families of our graduates. For you, as it is for them, this is an historic day. You've looked forward to this ceremony almost as eagerly as our students and your presence this afternoon adds greatly to their pride and pleasure.
Today as we mark the completion of San Francisco State's 114th year, I am pleased to report that this graduating class is one of the largest and most diverse -- and certainly one of the most accomplished classes -- in the history of this great University.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
I'm particularly proud to announce that among the members of the class of 2013 who are seated here today are 133 individuals to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude -- veterans of the armed forces who chose to serve their country before pursuing their degrees.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
To our veterans -- thank you for all that you have done on our behalf. Please accept our congratulations and deeply felt gratitude.
Joining us on the platform are some special guests who will be introduced by our announcer for today’s Commencement exercises, Professor Marty 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 California State University:
- The Chair of the Board of Trustees A. Robert Linscheid, and
- Trustee Roberta Achtenberg
From the campus:
- Lawrence Hanley , chair of the Academic Senate
- Gail Evans, dean of Undergraduate Studies
- Deborah Masters, librarian of the University
- Sacha Bunge, dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development
- John Gumas, board chair of the San Francisco State University Foundation
- Nancy Hayes, vice president and chief financial officer
- Robert Nava, vice president of University Advancement, and
- Adenike Hamilton, president of the Associated Students.
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, as they have both challenged and supported you.
Principled women and men of intellectual distinction, they care deeply about you. I know that as they sit facing you, they will feel both deep pride in your achievements and a hint of sadness 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.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
To help us frame the spirit of our gathering this afternoon, I am honored to invite to the podium Ms. Sage Russo, graduating today with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies. Ms. Russo will read a poem written by Mr. Jackson Meazle, who is graduating today with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
Over the course of our educational journeys, we've read a lot. Short stories, long stories, speeches, novels, business proposals, research reports, peer reviewed academic journal articles, a lot of Facebook, Pinterest, BuzzFeed and other procrastination tools and so much more. With a mass of words constantly bombarding, it can be difficult to identify the meaningful strings in a sea of arbitrary letters. William Faulkner explained that it is a writer's privilege to help people endure by lifting their hearts and by reminding them of the courage and honor, the hope and the pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which has been the glory of their past. As with everything in life, we can only be affected by what we allow into our hearts. Much of our time here can easily be forgotten as we move forward. But we have the power to choose to make a conscious effort to cherish the lessons, lectures, educators, and friends that have affected us in any significant way, to hold them close and carry them with us in our own words.
Valedictory by Jackson Meazle.
Now drawn back into the emptiness of its door
With proper instruction
For a drastic continuance
I realize no keys to living
Other than possible movement
and emotion, I think I am
most impressed in movement
These days do go by
in circle shapes, so
let the heartblood.
flow on unchecked
We are stardust, safe
in others' hearts also
I'm so afraid we will
have to part, I hope our friends
aren't the disappearing people
in the photo album
they close up their clothes
sound like their haircut
let their roots show
above ground in the air's
spaces, taking the good for bad
Let us fall right into place
catching the sacred calls
Asking for compensation
for the native uncertainty
Is this real, to split
relaxed and frail?
Open the ring
while the things of this world
still do not move
You are wondering what you
were doing with yourself
at that age, you were asking for
consciousness in a fairy tale
saved from fate of living in
escaping three spaces back
And if you should say goodbye
I'll still go on loving you.
Thank you, Ms. Russo, for thoughtful interpretation and to Mr. Meazle for his inspiring words.
You remind us that we are forever bound together by the history that we have lived together and we will need the courage born from our connection as we face the challenges ahead.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jo Volkert will now introduce the student speaker.
INTERIM VICE PRESIDENT VOLKERT:
When Kathleen Downing came to San Fancisco State, she had a clear vision of a career in Hospitality and Tourism. In her freshman and sophmore years, she was an active member of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality as well as the Hospitality Management Society, and she attended both regional and national conferences.
She also worked part-time coordinating corporate events downtown, while being a standout in the classroom.
When she moved into her junior and senior years, Kathleen had an opportunity to help ease financial challenges for her family by turning a part-time internship into a full-time job at a country club in Menlo Park.
Despite the full-time job, a 45-minute commute and her continued dedication to her coursework, she continued to play an active role in her department.
She had served on the coordinating committee for the Taste of the Bay, a large fundraiser held each year to support student scholarships and the Hospitality and Tourism Managment Program, but in her senior year she served as the event chair. The event hosted more than 500 guests and she supervised 25 committee members and 60 student volunteers while raising a record $145,000.
Kathleen is an exceptional student and a proven leader. I am delighted to present, representing the Class of 2013, Kathleen Downing!
All right. Now that I have you all to myself, class of 2013 graduates, can I get an ah yeah!
Louder. Ah yeah! Okay. Woo. Okay. Now we're excited. A warm welcome to President Wong, distinguished guests, family, friends, hmmm and roommates, and class of 2013 graduates, of course! When I was told I was going to be speaking on behalf of the entire class of 2013, the first thing that came to my mind was, what could I possibly say to represent 8,738 graduates? And although I realized I cannot truly tell each one of your stories today, there are a couple of things I can remind each and every one of you to remember during this special time. One is to be proud of your accomplishments. Be proud of yourself for every time you stayed up until who knows when to finish that ten‑page paper. For every time you ran to catch a bus or waited in traffic to make it to class. For every time you studied in that bubble annex that we called the library for three‑plus years. For all the hard work and stress you put yourself through to get where you are today. Be proud for taking the step to even go to college and to San Francisco State University where faculty have brought their own experiences into the classroom to teach and to support each and every one of us in pursuit of our careers and dreams. Where we have gone through rigorous programs to prepare us for the future. Where we have been a part of history, not once but twice have we been a part of the Giants becoming World Series champions. Can I get an ah yeah!
We went to school in a city that is a `leader in LGBTQ rights and equality and we should be proud of it. Can I get an ah yeah!
And remember that these accomplishments have not ‑‑ have been possible because of your dedication and the dedication of your support system. So you did not do this alone. And for all those parents, relatives, friends, BFFs and roommates, can I get an ah yeah! Yeah! And lastly, I would like everyone to remember that you will never stop learning and growing. Even if you never step foot inside a classroom again, there's always so much more to learn in life. I am proud to say I have taken this journey with you all. And I am proud to say we have all experienced SF State's diversity, strong community, and creativity in many different ways. Congratulations and I hope you do not need luck wherever life takes you. One more for the road, can I get an ah yeah!
Thank you very much.
[APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER]
Thank you, Ms. Downing, for giving voice to the achievements and aspirations of your classmates.
The President's Medal is the highest award that the president of a California State University campus may bestow on his or her own.
Conferred on rare occasions, the medal recognizes an individual whose work has long-lasting and widespread benefits for the University and for society at large.
I can think of no more fitting recipient than the woman I am about to introduce -- our retiring Vice President of Administration and Finance, Nancy Hayes. Vice President Hayes, will you join me?
Nancy Hayes, you came to San Francicso State University to lead the College of Business. As dean you were instrumental in making the college responsive to the needs of both students and the community, and you established relationships between the University and business leaders that will be an enduring legacy of your tenure. When you took the role of Vice President for Administration and Finance, you ensured the University's fiscal health during some of its most challenging times.
Problems, no matter the size, were no match for your tenacity. Whether you were wrestling with a $40 million budget deficit or helpng a sophomore get the last three units she needed to qualify for financial aid, diligence and compassion have been your signature approach.
When you accepted the role of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, you were filling a crucial University need and you did so with prudence and integrity. But, you were much more than a custodian of the office. Your discerning and responsible stewardship of University funds has been invaluable during an unprecedented fiscal crisis in the state, and as funds begin to return, you have worked to provide our students with facilities worthy of their endeavors. You also engendered the trust necessary to sustain San Francisco State in trying times by leading efforts to bring greater transparency to our budget decisions.
You, Nancy Hayes, have left your mark on this campus. It was your determination and sensitive diplomacy that enabled San Francisoc State to acquire the former School of the Arts property from the San Francisco Unified School District. In doing so, you have provided our students with an important recreational space in the short-term and a location for a state-of-the-art academic facility in the long-term.
Your list of successful projects is an extensive one, but perhaps your greatest role at San Francisco State has been that of trusted advisor and caring mentor. You have touched the lives of countless students, faculty and staff, and they are forever empowered by the confidence that you showed in them. In you, San Francisco State has had the embodiment of our motto: experientia docet -- experience teaches.
It is with great pleasure and personal gratitude that I bestow upon you the President's Medal of San Francisco State University. It's inscription reads, "forging the future by cultivating leaders"
[PRESIDENT WONG PRESENTED NANCY HAYES WITH THE MEDAL]
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sue Rosser will now present the winners of the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Awards.
PROVOST AND VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS SUE ROSSER:
Each year, the Academic Senate identifies three San Francisco State faculty who have earned distinction in the areas of teaching, professional achievement, and service.
These awards honor individual accomplishments, but they also honor the San Francisco State University faculty as a whole by selecting from their ranks a few individuals who exemplify the accomplishments for which all faculty strive.
Mr. President, I am pleased to present them to you today.
Receiving the Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Professional Achievement is David Anderson, professor of kinesiology.
Dr. Anderson, would you please join me.
Dr. David Anderson has dedicated more than a decade to examining the relationship between locomotor skills and infant psychological development.
His colleagues recognize him as a prolific scholar, an avid presenter and a tireless teacher. He is the author of over 100 national and international conference papers, fifty peer-reviewed academic papers and book chapters, and he has secured over four million dollars in external grant funding.
He has done pioneering work in the area of powered-mobility-devices, leading to a paradigm shift in clinical practice both within and beyond his field of kinesiology.
Simultaneously, Dr. Anderson has forged an impressive record of interdisciplinary collaboration and publication with other faculty and students working in his lab.
His indefatigable efforts have also included mentoring young researchers in the National Institute of Mental Health funded career opportunities in research program, which enables students from underrepresented populations to pursue careers in mental health research.
Please join me in recognizing Professor David Anderson as a Distinguished Faculty member for his Excellence in Professional Achievement.
Receiving the Distinguished Faculty award for Excellence in Service is Anita Silvers, professor of philosophy.
Dr. Silvers, would you please join me.
At San Francisco State University we know that service means more than devotion to the campus and we take pride in our community impact.
Throughout her 46 years in higher education, Professor Anita Silvers has reminded us that service to the campus can be service to community and humanity.
She has served the SF State campus and community in positions ranging from Statewide Academic Senator (1974-1982, 1993-1994), Statewide Academic Senate Secretary (1979-1982, 1993-1994), and Chair of the San Francisco State Academic Senate from 1986 to 1988.
Perhaps most importantly, she was a grassroots organizer of the statewide effort to ensure CSU’s compliance with federal laws granting access to all people with disabilities.
Recognized internationally as a leader in disability rights, Dr. Silvers was a senior Fulbright Scholar who served as a disability rights advisor to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and the National Center for Disability and Journalism.
Please join me in recognizing professor Anita Silvers as a distinguished faculty member for her excellence in service.
Receiving the Sarlo Award for Excellence in Teaching is Marty Gonzalez, professor of broadcast and electronic communication arts and, coincidentally, our announcer for today’s ceremony.
Professor Gonzalez, would you please join me.
The Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award is sponsored by the Sarlo Foundation and it honors the teaching excellence that contributes to student success.
Professor Marty Gonzalez has made -- and continues to make -- such a difference in the lives of students. Teaching a broad range of courses over his 17-year tenure at San Francisco State University, he is consistently focused on student achievement.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he continues to anchor weekend television broadcasts for KRON-4. His active connection to his field is a tremendous benefit to his students.
Since fall 2001, student evaluations of his teaching effectiveness have been impressive with a mean ranging from 1.02 to 1.08. These scores are the result of a student-centered pedagogy best summed up by this comment made by one of his students:
"Marty has an honest concern for the success of his students. His patience has amazed me and his honesty is always constructive. He treats every student with the same grace and creates opportunities for us to learn and feedback to help us grow."
Please join me in recognizing Professor Marty Gonzalez as a Distinguished Faculty Member and the Sarlo Award winner for his Excellence in Teaching.
At Commencement, we not only recognize 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 men and women who can serve as role models -- exhibiting the highest values and achievements to which you can aspire.
Now I would like to present a remarkable woman on whom we have chosen to bestow the academic world's highest award -- the Honorary Doctorate.
Joining me for this honorary degree conferral is the Chair of the California State University Board of Trustees Bob Linscheid and California State University Trustee Roberta Achtenberg.
[TRUSTEE LINSCHEID AND ACHTENBERG CAME FORWARD, LINSCHEID BROUGHT CORVIN HOOD AND ACHTENBERG BROUGHT CITATION,]
TRUSTEE CHAIR LINSCHEID:
Thank you, President Wong.
On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees of the California State University, which oversees all 23 campuses, is I would like to congratulate San Francisco State University's great class of 2013, the greatest class, according to President Wong.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Of course, this is his first year.
The areas of greatness include diversity and accomplishment. This graduating class needs no introduction from the standpoint of that accomplishment, and it stands before you, and we're very, very proud of you, and we wish you the best of luck in whatever pat you pursue.
Would Adele Corvin please join us.
[MS. CORVIN CAME FORWARD TO CENTER STAGE]
Adele Corvin, you are widely recognized as a committed community member, gifted leader and passionate advocate. A native San Franciscan, you have worked tirelessly to strengthen the fabric of the city you love through your service to various civic, social service and cultural institutions.
Your drive to ensure the well-being of society's most vulnerable led you, in 1980, to found the San Francisco adult day services network. This collective of agencies has earned a sterling reputation for providing daytime health care services to frail elders and adults with disabilities and for its collaborative advocacy for community-based health care services. Your groundbreaking work in this regard led to commendations from the National Adult Day Services Association and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Adele Corvin, your concern for, and action on behalf of, the people of San Francisco is also evident in the leadership roles you have undertaken with the Bay Area chapters of the American Red Cross and the United Way. As board chair of both organizations, you served as a determined and effective leader committed to furthering the critically important mission of each entity. And, as president of the Morris Stulsaft Foundation, you strive to provide opportunities to Bay Area children and youth.
You have played a vital role in the Bay Area Jewish community. As president of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma counties, you served as the chief lay leader for one of the Bay Area's largest philanthropies. In that capacity, you led the agency as it fulfilled its vision of building a "vibrant, connected, and enduring Jewish community that is a force for good locally, in Israel, and around the world."
Adele Corvin, your tireless service and significant contributions have been recognized by many organizations. Among the prestigious commendations you have received is the Judith M. Chapman Award, which is bestowed by the Jewish Community Federation on a woman who exemplifies significant and sustained volunteer leadership in the Jewish and civic communities, who serves as a role model for others, and values her identity as a giving and active member of the Jewish community .
A selfless and generous volunteer, you have left your mark on over twenty not-for-profit organizations, including KQED, the Jewish Home and Senior Living Foundation, and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. The Goldman Institute on Aging has recognized your contributions with an honorary lifetime membership on its board of directors. You have bettered the lives of so many -- and through this singular achievement, you exemplify what we seek to nurture in our students.
The California State University, on the recommendation of San Francisco State University, hereby confers on Adele Corvin, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters with all of the rights, privileges and honors pertaining thereto.
[PRESIDENT WONG AND TRUSTEE LINSCHEID PLACED THE HOOD ON MS. CORVIN AND HANDED HER THE DIPLOMA, ALL SHOOK HANDS AND THE AUDIENCE APPLAUDED. TRUSTEE LINSCHEID AND TRUSTEE ACHTENBERG RETURNED TO THEIR SEATS]
Thank you, Dr. Wong. Thank you, Roberta. President and trustees, I am both honored and overwhelmed. My congratulations, first of all, to each of you, the graduating class of 2013. This is a day you will remember throughout your lifetime. My last graduation was in February of 1943. Not a formal event but rather casual due to World War II. Yet a memorable time for me. Your adventure's about to begin today.
Regardless of your direction, I urge you to include some community activity. Your choices are limitless. In my case, I started with the agency that had influenced my childhood the most, the Campfire Girls of San Francisco. Each following opportunity opened another door. My life has been enriched by my volunteer involvement -- the people I met, the friends I made, and even the changes I have witnessed over these many years through community teamwork. And may I emphasize teamwork.
May your journey be full, be rewarding, and successful. It will unfold in a most curious way. Again, congratulations to the graduates, and my deep appreciation to San Francisco State University for including me in their family.
Thank you, Doctor Corvin. You are an exemplar for us all. Your concern for the greater society is a quality we can all seek to emulate.
Larry Baer is a fourth generation San Franciscan, who regularly sat near the Giants' dugout in Candlestick Park as a child. Today he brings his tremendous enthusiasm for his hometown to both the business and baseball sides of the Giants' operations.
He is also one of the city's most energetic and engaged leaders. From his days on the school newspaper at Lowell High School to his drive to keep the Giants in the city to win the World Series in 2010 and 2012, he is committed to seeing excellence thrive in the Bay Area.
Larry Baer joined the Giants as marketing director in 1980, after earning Phi Beta Kappa honors at the University of California. He left the Giants in 1983 to attend Harvard Business School and to work at Westinghouse Broadcasting in San Francisco and New York.
He returned to his hometown in 1992 as part of the ownership group that kept the Giants franchise from moving to Florida and he was the driving force in building AT&T Park, the finest ballpark in the world.
Under Larry Baer's leadership the Giants organization has established community service as an organizational hallmark and they exemplify how an organization can thrive when the community is at the forefront of their decision making. Along with his wife Pam, he has lent his formidable talents to numerous community causes including the important renovation of San Francisco General Hospital.
Larry Baer exemplifies the commitment to service and to improving our shared society that are central SF State values. I am delighted to present our 2013 Commencement speaker, Larry Baer!
Thank you very much. You guys get some Giants cheers going here. That's pretty good, huh?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Well, good afternoon. Good afternoon and congratulations to the Class of 2013, the greatest class ever at San Francisco State.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Thank you, Dr. Wong. Faculty and staff. Board of Trustees. Honored guests. Proud parents. And above all the class of 2013 -- I am so happy and honored to be here with you today.
As Dr. Wong said, as a teenager, I took the 28 bus – it's now called the 29 -- down 19th Avenue every morning to Lowell High School. Some of you ride that bus to school? Along the route I’d watch the San Francisco State students climb aboard and on those days they might have their Impeach Nixon buttons on or their Kurt Vonnegut paperbacks in tow. They were very cool.
I got off at Stonestown. They stayed on to Holloway. And, that one stop, well that was maybe about a quarter mile in distance but it was light-years away for this kid, kind of a gawky high school kid with braces, had the Carpenters on eight-track, that kind of thing. I’d glance back at the SF State students and imagine how great it would be to stay on that bus for one more stop.
It took me 30 years, but I think I got here! So, thank you Dr. Wong, and everybody at SF State, so that I can finally say I’m a Gator, if only for a day!
But I have to say, it’s a humbling experience to be here – the responsibility to deliver the commencement address at this great university. Hillary Clinton has been on this stage. Nancy Pelosi. The great Lateefah Simon. San Francisco mayors.
I haven’t won a MacArthur Genius Award. I haven’t been on Capitol Hill serving nor at City Hall in San Francisco.
My office is 24 Willie Mays Plaza.
I accepted Dr. Wong’s invitation, kind invitation, by reminding myself of San Francisco State’s motto: Experience teaches.
And, I have a little bit of experience, and it has taught me a few things. Today, I'd like to share three of them. Not surprisingly, they all have a little something to do with baseball.
By the way, it sounds like there are baseball fans here? Right?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
And how about Giants fans?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
Now, I know Dr. Wong’s mother happens to be an A’s fan, and his father is a Giants’ fan, so he might have a somewhat split allegiance. I hope I'm not revealing any family secrets Dr. Wong. But I have an idea. How about if we send the Reverend Hunter Pence over to win him over 100 percent, what do you think?
For as long as I can remember, I have loved baseball and I loved the Giants. Some might say I was a little obsessed; I prefer to say I was passionate. Baseball and San Francisco captivated me in the way maybe art or physics or literature might captivate you. My father is a lawyer, so there was just the slightest bit of pressure to go in that direction. But as a kid, actually what I wanted to do was to play baseball for the Giants. I wanted to be on the field playing.
I spent many long afternoons throwing balls against the stairs of our Richmond District house on 29th Avenue and riding that same 28 bus line out 19th Ave to Candlestick with my dad on Saturdays. I played short stop. I was a so-so Little League shortstop. Pretty much all glove, no bat.
So about the seventh grade, it became clear that that wasn’t going to be the way I was going to get involved in baseball in San Francisco. I wasn't going to be a player on the field.
I switched my baseball ambitions to broadcasting. When I got to college, I broadcast Cal games -- football, basketball, baseball -- on the 10-watt campus station, great station KALX, and even talked my way into broadcasting some games for the Oakland A’s for a month and a half. It turned out that wasn’t my calling either.
So I decided to switch gears again. I decided I’d run a team! That's what I was going to do -- run a team. More precisely the Giants.
That was kind of a crazy, bold ambition at the time. I knew that. And if I didn’t know that, there were plenty of people out there to tell me that. But I did love baseball and I loved the city, and I needed to find a way to be part of both.
When I got an MBA, everyone else pursued in our class, most everyone else pursued investment banking and management consulting out of business school. But I focused on the developing world of sports business at that time.
And I tell you all of this because I see it as Lesson Number One.
Listen carefully to that voice inside you. Believe in it. The choice of how you spend your life is yours -- not your parents’, not your professors’, not your best friend’s. Find what you love and go all in. And when you get shot down, figure another way. Be relentless and that’s lesson number two, perseverance.
Some of you today have balanced full-time jobs with a full load of classes. Some of you have sent your children off to school in the morning before arriving on campus. And you helped them with their homework at night before diving into your own. Every graduate here today, everyone of you, had to push through rough patches to make it to this day. And so many people don't make it to the end. But you did.
So all of you, you already know perseverance. It will keep you going when people say you’re dreaming too big. It will keep you going when you fail. In baseball, the best batters fail two out of three times. You’ll fail, too, because failure is not an aberration. It’s the price of success. It is how you learn.
I’ve been with the Giants now for twenty years, over twenty years. We have failed plenty and learned plenty. There have been heart-wrenching defeats, near financial collapse after a league-wide players’ strike, empty seats as we worked to win back fans. And then on the other side, we’ve had dramatic victories, a home run record, a perfect game and now 191 consecutive sellouts.
But nothing, nothing is more exhilarating and satisfying, in my career at the Giants, more satisfying than being part of the Giants’ first World Series Championship in San Francisco in 2010.
And then doing it again last year.
But do you know why, the point I want to make is why did we win two World Series championships in three years? Do you know the single most important ingredient to our success?
Ah, that's Lesson Number 3.
It was the connection among our players.
And I say this as the CEO of an organization, where we have all sorts of metrics, we are on the cutting edge of performance and evaluative technology. We have brilliant analysts -- Bruce Bochy sometimes calls them propeller heads -- who generate algorithms that measure and quantify everything that happens on the field -- from how a batter performs in pressure situations to the magnitude of a player’s impact on winning vs. a potential replacement player.
All that technology is incredible. It boggles the mind. It's clearly a key factor in assembling our roster and developing strategies.
But, we won because 25 professional baseball players completely connected as a group. It was the human connection.
Hunter Pence captured it perfectly in his now-famous speech before Game 3 in Cincinnati during the playoffs. He told the players to look into each other’s eyes. To play for each other.
And in playing for each other, those 25 players, they played above themselves. They lifted their games. They hit better. Pitched better. They made plays that took your breath away.
It seems somewhat paradoxical that the more they committed to the group -- to something beyond themselves -- the better they performed individually. Sergio Romo, Sergio Romo had to step into the difficult role of closer when Brian Wilson went down with an injury. The team needed him, and suddenly Romo became 10 feet tall. He was unhittable. Tim Lincecum, Tim, Tim, struggled last year, struggled last year, he struggled so much that he was asked to pitch out of the bullpen during the postseason, a humbling assignment for a two-time Cy Young award winner. Well, Tim Lincecum in the play-offs mowed down batters as if he were Cy Young himself.
And you know what, research, research in the workplace shows a similar phenomenon.
The New York Times recently ran an interesting story about workers at a call center. And they were making cold calls out to lots and lots of people to try to raise money for student scholarships. All sorts of incentives were used but had only marginal success, they weren't successful at it. As part of the experiment, they tried something new, they brought in a student who had benefited from one of those scholarships. He spoke to the workers for 10 minutes about how his life had changed. A month after the student’s visit, the fundraising had increased 171 percent. The experiment was replicated five times with similar results.
The personal connection with the student, like the personal connection among our players, had been the catalyst for higher performance.
When Steve Jobs headed up Pixar, he included just two restrooms in the entire studio. Workers had to walk a long ways, passing through a central common space, to get there. What that meant was workers had to see people from different departments – they had to regularly mix in the hallways with other folks and at the restroom sinks. And Jobs understood that with all the high-tech wizardry of Pixar, that was behind Pixar’s success, the real magic at Pixar was in the cross-pollination of talents and ideas, again the chemistry of human interaction.
There is no app for that.
Twenty years ago the Giants almost moved to Tampa. Most of you students are too young to remember. But Candlestick was no longer viable. And four times, voters rejected a measure to build a new park. So the owner was selling the team to a group in Tampa. It was all but a done deal.
I was working in New York at the time and from there joined the effort to keep the Giants here. We knew one thing: No single person was going to make it happen. We recruited eighteen civic leaders to set aside their egos and come together as an ownership group. Fans stepped up by the thousands to send letters to the baseball commissioner and ultimately invest in charter seats to help finance a new park. We needed collaboration from every corner of the community to do what many said could not be done.
There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
And that, that is the point.
Success is a team sport.
But look how so many of us in today's world, myself included, operate: We hole ourselves up with our laptops inside our cubicles or maybe on our little tables at the coffee shop. We retreat into our headphones on the bus. We check email and Twitter at the dinner table.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all the technology. We’re all using our Smart Phones and tablets here today, which is great. I’ve done that too and that's all terrific.
But our devices can lull us into thinking that everything we could ever want to know can be found with a few taps on the screen, that the seemingly infinite information in cyberspace holds all the answers to all of our questions.
Of course that is just not true.
Ask-dot-com can’t tell you how to provide a decent education to every child in America. You can’t Google the solution to violence in our inner cities. No combination of keywords will direct you to the cure for ALS or Alzheimer’s.
Because what technology tells us, by and large, is what is already known, and that's important. But it can’t, by itself, solve our most complex problems.
That’s what we need you for. That’s what we need all of you for.
We need you to believe in audacious possibilities.
Believe that you can eradicate AIDS and HIV in your lifetime.
Believe that you can end homelessness.
Believe that you can deliver clean drinking water to every child around the world.
Now, people will say that you can’t. And to some extent they’ll be right because you can’t do it alone.
Each of you carries a piece of the solution. Find colleagues who tap into your best self, who are a catalyst for your brilliance, which in turn is a catalyst for theirs.
The most innovative thinking comes from people who connect to different worlds and different spheres of knowledge, and the good news is that’s what you’ve been doing. You’ve had the benefit of spending your college career on one of the country’s most diverse campuses in one of the country’s most progressive cities. You've been surrounded by energetic, bold, optimistic people, people who have inspired your imagination and fed your soul. Thus, you are particularly well positioned as San Francisco State graduates to generate ideas and solutions that have never, never been thought of.
So first, listen to that inner voice directing you to your true north. Second, persevere, and don’t let the failures defeat you. And finally, as you tackle our most challenging questions in society, put down your smart phone.
Close your laptop.
The answers are in each other.
Thank you and congratulations to the Class of 2013!
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
We now begin the Conferral of Degrees. University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Sue Rosser and Dean of Graduate Studies Ann Hallum will present the candidates for the Doctoral Degree.
San Francisco State University offers four doctoral degrees: Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Physical Therapy Science, both in partnership with the University of California San Francisco; Doctor of Philosophy in Education, concentration in Special Education, in partnership with the University of California Berkeley, and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, which we offer independently.
With us on the platform are students who today will earn a doctoral degree through one of these programs. We will invest each of them with an academic hood.
Provost Rosser will present them now.
By the joint action of the Board of Regents of the University of California and the Trustees of the California State University, we are awarding both the Doctor of Physical Therapy and the Doctor of Physical Therapy Science degree. We are conferring these degrees with the University of California, San Francisco.
Will the candidate for the degree Doctor of Physical Therapy Science, Amber Fitzsimmons, please come forward for hooding by Dean Hallum.
[MS. FITZSIMMONS CAME TO CENTER STAGE, STOOD BETWEEN THE PODIA]
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, Amber Fitzsimmons 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, Amber Fitzsimmons, the degree, Doctor of Physical Therapy Science, with all the rights, honors and opportunities attached thereto.
[DEAN HALLUM PLACED THE HOOD ON MS. FITZSIMMONS, ALL SHOOK HANDS. DR. FITZSIMMONS RETURNED TO HER SEAT]
Will the candidate for the degree Doctor of Physical Therapy, Meghan Moore, who is representing all the students who this year have earned this degree, please come forward for investiture of the hood.
[MS. MOORE CAME TO THE STAGE, STOOD BETWEEN THE PODIA]
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, Meghan Moore is presented for receipt of the degree Doctor of Physical Therapy.
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, Meghan Moore, the degree, Doctor of Physical Therapy, with all the rights, honors and opportunities attached thereto.
[DEAN HALLUM PLACED THE HOOD ON DR. MOORE, ALL SHOOK HANDS. MS. MOORE RETURNED TO HER SEAT]
Will the candidate for the degree Doctor of Philosophy, concentration in Special Education Emilene Fearn, please come forward for investiture of the hood.
[MS. FEARN CAME TO THE STAGE, STOOD BETWEEN THE PODIA]
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, Emilene Fearn is presented for receipt of the degree Doctor of Philosophy, concentration in Special Education Leadership.
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 under the provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act, I confer upon you, Emilene Fearn, the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, concentration in Special Education, with all the rights, honors and opportunities attached thereto.
[DEAN HALLUM PLACED THE HOOD ON MS. FEARN , ALL SHOOK HANDS. DR. FEARN RETURNED TO HER SEAT]
This year we graduate the fourth group of students to earn the degree Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. This is an independent degree offered by the California State University.
Representing all our 2013 Ed.D. graduates is Lael Adediji. Will Ms. Adediji please come forward for hooding by Dean Hallum.
[MS. ADEDIJI CAME TO THE STAGE, STOOD BETWEEN THE PODIA]
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, Lael Adediji is presented for receipt of the degree Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
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 under the provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act, I confer upon you, Lael Elyce-Washington Adediji, and all members of the Ed.D. Class of 2013, the degree Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, with all the rights, honors and opportunities attached thereto.
[DEAN HALLUM PLACED THE HOOD ON MS. ADEDIJI , ALL SHOOK HANDS. DR. ADEDIJI RETURNED TO HER SEAT]
[DEAN HALLUM AND PRESIDENT WONG RETURNED TO THEIR SEATS, PROVOST ROSSER REMAINED AT PODIUM]
We now begin the conferral of Master's and Bachelor's degrees. University Provost Sue Rosser 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.
We now excuse the platform party and invite the deans to take their place at their respective stages.
[PRESIDENT WONG AND VICE PRESIDENT ROSSER STAYED AT THEIR RESPECTIVE PODIUMS, DEANS LEFT THE PLATFORM AND WENT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE STAGES. THE REMAINING MEMBERS OF THE PLATFORM PARTY EXITED THE STAGE VIA THE REAR EXIT]
Will the faculty marshals please direct the doctoral and master's degree recipients to the stages, starting from the front. We ask that graduates 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 north stage -- to the right of the jumbo screen -- will be graduates from the Colleges of Liberal & Creative Arts and the College of Science & Engineering.
And to the south stage -- to the left of the screen -- graduates from the colleges of Ethnic Studies, Education, Health & Social Sciences, and Business.
[DEANS DISTRIBUTED DIPLOMAS TO THEIR RESPECTIVE GRADUATES. UPON COMPLETION OF MASTER’S PROCESSIONAL, DEANS REMAINED AT THEIR PLACES ON THE SMALL STAGES]
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 degree.
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 2013! Please join me in a round of applause for all of them. Class of 2013, 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 College of Liberal & Creative Arts and the College of Science & Engineering.
And to the stage on the left of the screen, graduates from the colleges of Ethnic Studies, Education, Health & Social Sciences, and Business.
[DEANS DISTRIBUTE DIPLOMAS AS BEFORE, STUDENTS EXIT STADIUM AFTER RECEIVING THEIR DIPLOMAS]
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