Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to speak at SF State Commencement

SAN FRANCISCO, April 7, 2015 -- Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco, will deliver the commencement address at San Francisco State University's 114th Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 22. Actress Annette Bening, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and lawyer and educator Peter Gabel will receive honorary degrees.

More than 8,000 graduates will be awarded degrees at the ceremony, to be held for the first time at AT&T Park.


Commencement Address: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom

Gavin NewsomAs lieutenant governor of California, Gavin Newsom serves as the president of the California State Senate and is a University of California regent and trustee for the California State University system, among other duties. Newsom was elected to the office in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

The youngest person to be elected mayor of San Francisco, Newsom made headlines 36 days into his first term in 2004 by allowing same-sex couples to marry, in violation of state law. He was re-elected to a second term by more than 73 percent. As mayor, Newsom worked with SF State on a variety of initiatives, including the SF Promise, a collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District to help middle-school students prepare for college, and the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship program, which prepares students for public-service jobs in county and state government. Newsom previously spoke at SF State's Commencement ceremony in 2008. Prior to becoming mayor, Newsom served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1997 to 2004.

"Throughout his career, Lieutenant Governor Newsom has been a strong advocate for California's world-renowned higher education system," said President Les Wong. "He has shown principled, innovative leadership that exemplifies the values of courage, equity and resilience we stand for at SF State."


Honorary Degree Recipients

Annette Bening

Actress and SF State alum (B.A., '80) Annette Bening has received critical acclaim for her stage and film work, including roles in "Bugsy," "The American President," "American Beauty" and "The Kids Are All Right." Bening has been nominated for four Academy Awards and has won two Golden Globes, a Screen Actors Guild Award and honors from the London Film Critics Circle, the National Society of Film Critics, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the New York Film Critics Circle. She will receive the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A poet, publisher, painter, essayist, editor and publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded, with SF State Professor of Sociology Peter D. Martin, San Francisco's renowned City Lights Bookstore. He later established the City Lights publishing house, which published the legendary text Howl & Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg in 1956. Ferlinghetti's collection A Coney Island of the Mind, originally published in 1958, has been translated into nine foreign languages and has more than one million copies in print. He will receive the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Peter Gabel

Peter Gabel was a law professor at the New College of California for 30 years and the college's president for 20. A lawyer, scholar, educator, activist and author, Gabel helped develop and broaden the critical legal studies movement, which challenges the biases, assumptions and class conflicts at the heart of traditional legal institutions. He will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.


Commencement Ceremony

The ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 22, at AT&T Park, and is expected to last two to three hours. The ballpark will open to guests at 3 p.m. and the procession will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Media planning to attend should register in advance with University Communications by calling (415) 338-1665 or emailing