Give a holiday gift with a Gator connection

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? How about one with a Gator connection? Check out these gift ideas that showcase the talents of SF State faculty and alumni.


Gators on screen

The Blu-Ray cover of

Shopping for a movie buff? Look no further than two films that garnered Oscar nominations for SF State alums. "Moneyball," based on the book chronicling the Oakland Athletics' successful 2002 baseball season, features a screenplay co-written by Steve Zaillian (B.A. '75). Ethan Van der Ryn (B.A. '85) earned an Oscar nod for his sound editing work on "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

For a more recent release, pick up movie passes to see "Life of Pi," for which alum David Gropman (B.A. '74) served as production designer. Gropman built the 100-by-200 foot water tank in which much of the tale of a boy stranded at sea with a tiger was filmed.

A photo of SF State Professor of Cinema Pat Jackson with her Emmy Award.

On the small screen, Professor of Cinema Pat Jackson (pictured at left) earned an Emmy Award for her sound work on the HBO film "Hemingway and Gellhorn," which tells the story of the tumultuous romance between writer Ernest Hemingway and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn.

Comedy lovers will enjoy "Arrested Development," a cult-favorite sitcom returning for a new season next year that features alum Jeffrey Tambor (B.A. '65) as the patriarch of the dysfunctional Bluth family.


'Green' Gators

The gardener or weekend hiker on your list will enjoy the second edition of "The Jepson Manual of Vascular Plants of California," (University of California Press) which includes work by SF State biology professors Robert Patterson, Tom Parker, nine former SF State graduate students and one graduate student. The book provides detailed descriptions of plants found in California and ventures into California's less-traveled corners to uncover new or long-forgotten species. Noel Pugh, well known for his scientific illustrations, collaborated with Associate Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn to create a collection of note cards to help raise money for her Great Sunflower Project. Alum Amy Hemmert's (M.A. 87) "Laptop Lunches" cut down on wasteful plastic wrappers by providing lead- and BPA-free lunch boxes with colorful reusable containers.


Gator sounds

The album cover of Pianist Vince Guaraldi (attended '48-'49) created the iconic soundtrack to the TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by infusing jazz into holiday classics such as "O Christmas Tree" and "What Child is This?" For more jazz, check out "Post-Chromodal Out!," the new album from Professor of Music and Dance Hafez Modirzadeh. He blended Western jazz music with traditional Persian music to create a unique sound he calls "chromodality." Pianist Larry Vuckovich's (B.A. '75) latest album, "Somethin' Special," has been called "the work of a master" by jazz critic Andrew Gilbert.


Gator grub

The cover of

For the cook on your list, "The Bay Area Homegrown Cookbook," compiled by alum and Sunny Side Café chef-ecologist Aaron French (M.S. '04) is a perfect way to bring Bay Area flavor to the kitchen. The book includes more than 65 recipes from chefs who work with local farmers to include fresh, locally grown, sustainable food on their menus. Or check out "Kaffehaus" and "The Carefree Cook" by alum Rick Rodgers (B.A. '76), who received award nominations from the prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals.

If you're looking to feed a hungry Gator, purchase a gift certificate to the Vista Room, an on-campus restaurant located atop Burk Hall. The Vista Room is run by a professional chef and staffed by hospitality and tourism management students. To learn more or buy gift certificates, visit


Gator reads

In the collection of essays "Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority," (Policy Press) Associate Professor and Chair of American Indian Studies Andrew Jolivette and others discuss how Barack Obama's mixed-race heritage influences him as a person, politician and president. Alum Cal Orey (M.A. '90) explores the often surprising and wide-ranging health benefits of a cup of joe in "The Healing Powers of Coffee: A Complete Guide to Nature's Surprising Superfood" (Kensington), the latest book in her Healing Power Series.


Gator pride

A gift card to the SFSU Bookstore is a great way to help a Gator purchase textbooks, school supplies, computer gear, SF State apparel and more. Or help an SF State alum stay connected with their alma mater with a membership to the Alumni Association, which comes with library access, insurance benefits and bookstore discounts.


For more holiday Gator gift suggestions, check out previous listings: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

-- Jonathan Morales