University ushers in 2020-2021 academic year with virtual Convocation

Screen grabs of President Lynn Mahoney and three others speaking during the Convocation

President Lynn Mahoney (upper left) and (clockwise) Associated Students President Andrew Carrillo, AVP for Equity & Inclusion Frederick Smith and Provost and VP of Academic Affairs Jennifer Summit.

The Aug. 20 ceremony included a welcome for 37 new faculty members

San Francisco State University marked the beginning of the Fall semester with its traditional Opening Convocation ceremony for faculty and staff Thursday, Aug. 21. And just as most of the University’s classes have gone virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Opening Convocation was held remotely, as well. The ceremony — livestreamed via the website of the San Francisco State Academic Senate — featured an address by President Lynn Mahoney, a performance by the Alexander String Quartet and warm welcomes to the University’s more than 6,000 new students and 37 new tenure-track faculty members.

In her address, President Mahoney expressed her gratitude to the faculty, staff and administrators who have continued to keep the University operating smoothly and discussed the impact that economic inequality, institutionalized racism and the COVID-19 pandemic have had on both our nation and the campus community. In the face of obstacles posed by the pandemic and economic turbulence it’s brought, Mahoney remained optimistic about the future, highlighting plans for a new science building and new efforts to ensure that underrepresented students have a better chance at academic success.

“Yes, we face unprecedented challenges nationally and locally. But we will face these challenges together,” Mahoney said. “The pandemic will not last forever. Public education in California has suffered significant budget problems before, and we have succeeded despite them.”

Provost Jennifer Summit and other campus leaders, as well as labor union representatives, also spoke as part of the ceremony. All of them echoed Mahoney’s determination that the University will keep delivering a world-class education and life-changing opportunities to its students.

“We’ve stopped asking when we can go back to normal and instead ask how we can face the future by leading with our values,” Summit said. “In the wake of both a health emergency that disproportionately affects communities of color and the national outrage following George Floyd’s murder, this is a time to recommit to the heart of our educational mission, our commitment to inclusion and equity.”

View the 2020-2021 Opening Convocation in its entirety on the SF State YouTube channel.