Give a Gator gift this holiday season

Looking for a great gift idea? Give a Gator gift this holiday season! From thought-provoking poetry to delicious food to noteworthy novels, you are sure to find something that highlights the talents of SF State alumni and faculty for everyone on your list.


The album cover of “Our Favorite Carols” by Chanticleer.

Gator sounds

To help get in the holiday spirit, pick up a copy of "Our Favorite Carols" by the choral ensemble Chanticleer. Alum Eric Alatorre (attended ’90) is a longtime member of the Grammy Award-winning group, which will give a free performance on campus Feb. 19 as part of the Morrison Artists Series. The late Vince Guaraldi (attended ’48-’49) gives Christmas classics a jazzy twist in another holiday mainstay, the iconic soundtrack to the TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas."


Gators on screen

Is a science-minded tween on your gift list? Then check out Discovery Channel’s "HeadRush," a science show aimed at middle-schoolers starring alum and "MythBusters" cast member Kari Byron (B.A., ’98). You can also pick up "Dolphin Tale," the true story of a team of scientists who save an injured dolphin by fitting it with a revolutionary prosthetic tail, on DVD or Blu-Ray. Alum Nicole Meyer (M.A., ’08) was part of the real-life rescue team that freed the two-month-old dolphin from the crab trap that had crushed her tail.


A bag of coffee from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.

Gator grub

Warm up during the cool winter months with a cup of coffee from La Jolla-based Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, founded in 2002 by alum Chuck Patton (M.A., ’99). Coffee trade magazine Roast recently named Bird Rock the 2012 Micro Roaster of the Year. The Sumatra Lake Tawar blend secured the award, but for the holiday season, Patton recommends Panama Don Pachi, a new and rare blend that just went on sale.

For foodies, pick up "Mourad: New Moroccan," the new cookbook from alum Mourad Lahlou (B.A., ’93). You can also buy them a gift certificate to Aziza, Lahlou’s Michelin-rated Moroccan restaurant located in San Francisco’s Richmond district.


The cover of the graphic novel

Gator reads

Need something for book-worms? There are plenty of great new books by SF state alumni and faculty members with which to curl up. "Abina and the Important Men," by Professor of History Trevor Getz, is a graphic novel that tells the true story of a young African woman who in 1879, against daunting odds, went to court to fight for her freedom. Getz collaborated with South African artist and graphic designer Liz Clarke to create a beautiful and unique narrative based on Abina’s more than century-old testimony.


Poetry lovers will enjoy a pair of collections from Chair of Creative Writing Maxine Chernoff. "To Be Read In The Dark" takes a personal and prophetic look at our daily struggles, while "A House In The Summer" invites readers to confront a world broken and made whole by language. Professor of Creative Writing Camille Dungy’s collection "Smith Blue" is a look at 21st century questions of love, loss and nature.


The cover of the book

In "Native Acts," Associate Professor of American Indian Studies Joanne Parker looks at the politics of personal identity within the Native American community. For the rock ‘n’ roll aficionado, try "Taking It To the Limit," an illustrated biography of The Eagles by alum Ben Fong-Torres (B.A. ’66) that includes insights from Fong-Torres’ personal encounters with the group. If novels are more to their liking, check out "Love and Shame and Love," Associate Professor of Creative Writing Peter Orner’s story of a dysfunctional Chicago family, which is garnering rave reviews.


Assistant Professor of Cinema Julian Hoxter offers friendly advice to budding film scribes in "Write What You Don’t Know: An Accessible Manual for Screenwriters." And Associate Professor of Cinema Joseph McBride profiles film legend Steven Spielberg in "Steven Spielberg: A Biography."


Gator design

Buy a set of bumble bee notecards and help support The Great Sunflower Project, a nationwide project to study the decline in bee populations. Associate Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn enlists an army of nearly 100,000 "citizen scientists" across the United States, who plant sunflowers in their gardens and count the number of bees that visit the flower. Illustrator and Bay Area native Noel Pugh designed three notecards to help raise money for the project. Each package contains 15 cards, five of each design.


Gator for life

Help an SF State alum stay connected with their alma mater with a membership to the Alumni Association. They’ll receive a number of perks including library access, insurance benefits and SFSU Bookstore discounts. And speaking of the Bookstore, you can always pick up a gift card to help your Gator pay for books and other school supplies.

For more holiday Gator gift suggestions, check out previous listings: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.


-- Jonathan Morales