Noted alumni inducted into Alumni Hall of Fame

Six accomplished graduates of SF State were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at a reception on May 18.

Alumnus of the Year Jose Antonio Vargas is an award-winning journalist and activist. Less than a decade after graduating, Vargas won a Pulitzer Prize for team reporting at The Washington Post, wrote for such publications as The New Yorker and Rolling Stone and became a bold advocate for immigration reform. He discovered his passion for storytelling at a summer journalism camp for high school students offered at SF State. He then enrolled at the University and graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in political science. In a June 2011 essay in The New York Times Magazine, Vargas revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant. The piece earned him an award for socially conscious journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation and paved the way for the launch of Define American, a non-partisan, nonprofit multimedia campaign that Vargas founded to elevate the conversation about immigration in the U.S.

Additional alumni welcomed into the Alumni Hall of Fame were Leona Bridges, Paul Cayard, Thomas Peters, Marsha Rosenbaum and Brent Stranathan.

a collage of photographs of Leona Bridges (clockwise from top left), Paul Cayard, Thomas Peters, Jose Antonio Vargas, Brent Stranathan, Marsha Rosenbaum.

Leona Bridges (clockwise from top left), Paul Cayard, Thomas Peters, Jose Antonio Vargas, Brent Stranathan, Marsha Rosenbaum. After a successful career in the financial services industry, Leona M. Bridges now serves on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Previously, she spent more than a decade as a managing director at Barclays Global Investors, one of the world’s largest asset managers. At SF State, Bridges was a commuter student who worked evenings at Crocker Bank to put herself through college. She graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's in business administration and earned an MBA from Golden Gate University. Passionate about enabling talented students to thrive, she has created an endowed scholarship for students in SF State's College of Business. Bridges serves on numerous community and non-profit boards, including the San Francisco State University Foundation.

"San Francisco State University is in my DNA," Bridges said. "My years on campus helped shape me as a young student who was eager to learn more about the business world but didn't know the starting point. My professors were my guiding light."

World sailing champion Paul Cayard was the first American skipper to win the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1998. A seven-time sailing world champion and two-time Olympian, Cayard is currently the CEO of Artemis Racing, a Swedish sailing team that is the Challenger of Record for the 34th Americas Cup. Born and raised in San Francisco, Cayard started sailing from a young age, first on Lake Merced and Lake Merritt and then on the Bay. He graduated from SF State with a bachelor's in business administration in 1982 and six years later won his proudest victory -- the Star World Championship. Cayard was elected to the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011 and was the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 1998.

A leader in public health and philanthropy, Thomas Peters is president and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation. With assets of over $1.2 billion, the Foundation is one of the largest of its kind in the nation, and annually distributes grants of more than $50 million locally, nationally and internationally. Peters has led the Foundation since 1998, following a long career as a public health official. From 1974 to 1990, Peters was with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, including service for six years as Chief of Staff, and then served as Director of Health and Human Services for Marin County. He graduated from SF State in 1966 with a bachelor's in psychology, earned a doctorate from the University of Minnesota and for three years was a fellow of the National Institutes of Health.

"My decision to come to SF State still ranks as one of the very best choices of my life," said Peters, who noted that he appreciated the mix of scientific research training and broad-based liberal arts education. "The plurality of interests, the diversity of the faculty and students and the sheer electricity of the times were all of value beyond measure."

Marsha Rosenbaum, a leader in the drug policy reform movement, graduated with a master's in sociology in 1972. She earned a doctorate from the University of California, San Francisco and was a National Institute on Drug Abuse investigator for almost twenty years before becoming director of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance. During her tenure there, she founded Safety First, a drug education project that provides parents, educators and students with honest, reality-based drug education resources. The author of three books and numerous scholarly articles, Rosenbaum is currently Director Emerita of the Drug Policy Alliance. She is also president of the JK Irwin Foundation, established in honor of her late husband John Irwin, an SF State professor emeritus who founded Project Rebound, a program for formerly incarcerated students at SF State.

A 30-year veteran of the broadcast industry, Brent Stranathan is vice president of broadcast distribution for CBS Corporation, where he has executive operational responsibility for the network’s program integration and distribution to affiliates nationwide. After graduating with a bachelor's in Radio/TV in 1975, Stranathan moved to the East Coast hoping to break into sports production but found himself drawn to the technical side of the broadcast industry. In his current role since 1991, he has led CBS through rapidly changing times, including the transition from analog to digital signals and the introduction of high definition TV. Stranathan is a two-time technical Emmy award winner for his work on the broadcast coverage of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

The San Francisco State University Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes alumni who have earned the respect of their peers through professional, cultural and civic achievements. Among the previous inductees are Pulitzer prize-winning poet Philip Schultz, Director of the San Francisco Food Bank Paul Ash, actor Jeffrey Tambor, astronaut Yvonne Cagle, actress Annette Bening and "Frasier" co-creator and executive producer Peter Casey.

--Elaine Bible