SF State announces endowed Corrigan Chair in American Studies

Gift of $1 million from alumni George and Judy Marcus will honor longtime University president


SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, 2012 -- San Francisco State University announced today the creation of the endowed Robert A. Corrigan Chair in American Studies, funded by generous donations from SF State alumni. The position is named after SF State President Robert A. Corrigan, who is retiring this spring after 24 years of service to the University.

The endowment honors the legacy and leadership of President Corrigan, who has a long and distinguished history of scholarship in the field. While a professor of American Studies at the University of Iowa in the 1960s, President Corrigan founded one of the nation's first black studies programs. As President of SF State, he is credited with building a model multi-cultural campus focused on social justice, equity and civic engagement.

The endowment is established through a gift of $1 million from SF State alumni George (B.A. '65, Economics) and Judy Marcus (B.A. '62, Kinesiology/PE), who met at SF State and are longtime supporters of the University.

"Bob Corrigan had a tremendous impact on San Francisco State University, and we are thrilled to be able to help establish this endowment in his honor," said George Marcus, the first in his family to attend college and the founder and chairman of The Marcus & Millichap Company. Judy Marcus is a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco State University Foundation. George and Judy Marcus’ generous donations to SF State include establishing the International Center for the Arts and support for scholarships, Modern Greek studies and the Cinema department.

"I am honored by the Marcus family’s continued investment in the University, and delighted that this important field of study is being promoted by their generosity," said President Robert A. Corrigan.  "The endowed chair is a much-appreciated tribute that will serve the University for generations."

SF State also received gifts of $200,000 from SF State alumnus Kenneth Fong, a CSU trustee, and $100,000 from Bettye Poetz Ferguson, a longtime friend of the University, to support the endowment. The University hopes ultimately to raise at least $2 million to support the endowed chair and associated lectures, conferences and other activities intended to strengthen and grow the American Studies Program.

"As Americans, we are continually discussing our nation's role in an increasingly globalized world," said Paul Sherwin, dean of the College of Liberal & Creative Arts. "The Corrigan Chair will allow us to develop our American Studies program better to serve our students and to contribute in a meaningful way to the ongoing conversation about what it means to be American."

SF State's American Studies Program is interdisciplinary and allows students to develop a course of study that best suits their needs and interests. All students in the program take a common set of classes that explore core social and cultural aspects of the American experience and that address issues of social justice and equity. Students then develop a program of study by choosing electives from a wide range of SF State departments, including Humanities, History, English, Philosophy, Women and Gender Studies, Jewish Studies, Ethnic Studies, Journalism, Communication Studies, Political Science, International Relations, Sociology, Geography, Art, Cinema, Theater Arts, and Music and Dance.


SF State is the only master's level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The university enrolls nearly 30,000 students each year. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, philosophy, art, and ethnic studies -- the University's more than 212,000 graduates have contributed to the economic cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.