Activist, physician Ramona Tascoe to be SF State’s 2018 Commencement speaker

Alumna Ramona Tascoe, wearing a white blouse and black and white suit, is pictured with a lake in the background, leaning against a curved piece of driftwood.

After graduating from San Francisco State University in 1970, Ramona Tascoe went on to earn a medical degree, followed by master’s degrees in both public administration and divinity.

The first of the 1967 student protestors to be arrested, alumna has gone on to lead medical missions throughout the world

Noted activist, physician and San Francisco State University alumna Ramona Tascoe (B.A., ’70) will be the featured speaker at the University’s 117th Commencement ceremony May 24 at AT&T Park.

Tascoe came to San Francisco State University to pursue a special triple major in political science, sociology and psychology. But as a result of her fearless commitment to her ideals, she also became an essential part of the University’s enduring legacy.

In 1967, Tascoe took part in campus protests that grew into the historic student strike of 1968, eventually leading to the creation of the College of Ethnic Studies. But before that milestone there were many intense confrontations — and in the midst of one of them, Tascoe became the first of the student protesters to be arrested.

After graduating from SF State, she went on to earn a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1979. And she wasn’t done with higher education there: She later earned both a master of public administration degree from the University of San Francisco and a master of divinity degree from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union, after which she was dually ordained under American Baptist and Progressive National Baptist Ministry.

Tascoe has been an internal medicine specialist in Oakland for decades and has also put her unique mix of skills to work on behalf of communities around the world. She’s led medical missions to Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, India and Sri Lanka. And she’s worked extensively with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and the University General Hospital of Haiti, that nation’s largest public hospital.

“While she was a student here, Dr. Tascoe fought to make our university more broad-minded and inclusive,” said San Francisco State President Les Wong. “She’s gone on to make the world a better place as a physician and spiritual leader. She’s an alumna any university would be proud to claim, and I’m immensely pleased that she’s agreed to share her story with this year’s graduates.”

This marks the fourth consecutive year the Commencement ceremony will be held at the waterfront ballpark. More than 8,400 degrees will be conferred this year and more than 4,700 graduates are expected to attend the event. The graduate procession begins at 5:30 p.m., with Commencement scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks will close out the event at about 9:30 p.m.

Live updates and photos from the ceremony will be posted to the University’s Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook accounts. A Commencement app will keep graduates and guests plugged in to the latest news and events leading up to the ceremony. Visit the app store and search for SFSU Commencement to download.

More details about this year’s ceremony, including additional speakers and honorary degrees, will be announced in the coming weeks and available online at