SF State Alumni Hall of Fame welcomes new inductees

Hollywood director, award-winning journalist, deaf theatre artist and philanthropist will be honored

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 28, 2013 -- Award-winning director Lisa Cholodenko, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Al Martinez, deaf theatre artist Bernard Bragg and civic leader/philanthropist Judy Marcus will be inducted into San Francisco State University's Alumni Hall of Fame at a reception on March 15.

The ceremony will take place in downtown San Francisco as part of a dinner celebrating the accomplishments of these alumni and the investiture of University President Leslie E. Wong.

Photo of Hollywood director Lisa Cholodenko

Hollywood director Lisa Cholodenko

Lisa Cholodenko's 2010 comedy-drama, "The Kids are All Right," earned four Oscar nominations and won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture. The writer-director graduated from SF State in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies. She earned an M.F.A. from Columbia University's film school and soon made her mark on the independent film scene. Cholodenko wrote and directed several acclaimed short films before embarking on her debut feature, "High Art," a relationship drama that won the Sundance Film Festival's Waldo Salt Award Screenwriting Award. She has also worked on television series, including HBO's "Six Feet Under," and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  

"At SF State, I realized I really loved writing and telling stories," Cholodenko said. "What I learned there really helped me distill my ideas and learn how to be a better storyteller."

Photo of award-winning journalist Al Martinez

Award-winning journalist Al Martinez

In his six-decade-long career as a journalist and author, Al Martinez has earned a reputation for a writing style that combines humor and poignancy to highlight social justice issues. As a longtime reporter and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Martinez shared in three Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of the 1993 L.A. riots, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and a series on the city's Latino community. Martinez got his start in journalism in 1947 when he enrolled at SF State and wrote for the student newspaper. His time at the University was cut short when in 1950 he was called up by the Marines to serve in the Korean War. After the war, he returned to the Bay Area and wrote for the Oakland Tribune. Martinez has published numerous books and written for television. Last year, his career was the focus of a Huntington Library exhibition titled "Al Martinez: Bard of L.A." Martinez continues to write for the Los Angeles Daily News and Topanga Messenger, and leads the Topanga Writers Workshop. 

"SF State's journalism teachers were real journalists and they taught us what to expect on the front lines of news and information," Martinez said. "I wrote columns for the Golden Gater and decided right then that column-writing was my future, and it was."

Photo of deaf theatre artist Bernard Bragg

Deaf theatre artist Bernard Bragg

Deaf theatre artist Bernard Bragg is credited as one of the first people to popularize mime in the U.S. As the deaf son of deaf parents, he spent his youth working to communicate with others and developed an interest in theatre. Bragg studied theatre at Gallaudet University and spent 15 years as a teacher at California School for the Deaf in Berkeley. During that time, he earned a master's in special education at SF State and graduated in 1959. After studying under French mime artist Marcel Marceau in Paris, Bragg returned to the U.S. and became a prominent mime artist, performing across the country and starring in his own television show, "The Quiet Man," on KQED. He later co-founded the National Theatre of the Deaf, whose national and international tours have helped change public perceptions of people who are deaf. Bragg's international influence as an artist, director and playwright includes working with deaf theatre companies in Russia, Germany and Hong Kong, and lecturing across the world as part of a tour with the International Theatre Institute of the U.S. Bragg is the recipient of a Special Tony Award, an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University and a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Federation of the Deaf. 

"The courses I took at SF State and the instructors I interacted with improved my teaching skills during the time I was teaching at California School for the Deaf in Berkeley," Bragg said.

Photo of civic leader/philanthropist Judy Marcus

Civic leader/philanthropist Judy Marcus

Bay Area community leader Judy Marcus has been a creative force in non-profit leadership for the past 30 years. She served as President of the Board of the Community Services Agency (CSA), Families in Transition and Breast Cancer Connections, and has been an active leader with the Peninsula Humane Society, Montalvo Arts Center and Avenidas Senior Center. Her innovative participation, such as founding CSA's "Hometown Heroes" event and helping launch the Human Society's first "Fur Ball" fundraiser, have helped bring in new levels of funding to grassroots organizations. She currently serves on the SF State Foundation's Board of Directors. Marcus (nee Otten) graduated from the University with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1962 and taught for seven years before starting a family. Together with her husband George Marcus (B.A. '65), she has established the SF State International Center for the Arts, supported scholarships, and endowed the Robert A. Corrigan Chair in American Studies.

"The University had an excellent physical education department, and it gave me the opportunity to study what I loved while living at home," said Marcus, who grew up playing basketball and taking dance classes. "SF State gave me access to a university education that might not have otherwise been possible. My time at SF State really was a great experience."

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 sailing champion Paul Cayard, Pulitzer prize-winning poet Philip Schultz, actor Jeffrey Tambor, astronaut Yvonne Cagle, actress Annette Bening and "Frasier" co-creator and executive producer Peter Casey.


The Alumni Hall of Fame reception/dinner takes place on March 15, 6 – 9 p.m., in the Julia Morgan Ballroom, Merchants Exchange, 465 California St., San Francisco. Reporters wishing to cover the event should contact Elaine Bible in University Communications: ebible@sfsu.edu or (415) 405-3606.

Photographs and interviews can be arranged on request.