SF State to hold 111th Commencement exercises on May 19

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee will give keynote address


SAN FRANCISCO, May 11, 2012 – San Francisco State University plans to host more than 20,000 visitors at its 111th annual Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19 in Cox Stadium.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee will deliver the keynote address and student speaker Aznaur Midov will share his remarks before 7,928 graduating students and their guests. Receiving honors will be Alumnus of the Year Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and honorary degree recipient Barbro Osher, a renowned philanthropist.

Cox Stadium will open to guests at 10:30 a.m. May 19. Graduates will line up by noon in the stadium for the processional at 12:15 p.m. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.

Media wishing to attend should register in advance by contacting University Communications at (415) 338-1665.


Keynote Address

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who has served the city of San Francisco for more than 20 years, will deliver the keynote address. Lee became San Francisco’s first Asian American mayor on Jan. 11, 2011 and has worked as the city administrator, director of employment relations, director of public works and in other positions. Lee has a long history of prioritizing education with such initiatives as the SF Promise program, which provides counseling, support and financial assistance to help high school students reach college. Through his Neighborhood Empowerment Network, he has fostered a partnership that benefits both the City and the University -- providing SF State students with opportunities to participate in service to the city's communities. Lee has been praised for tackling tough issues while fostering collaboration and changing the political climate in City Hall.


Alumnus of the Year

Jose Antonio Vargas is an award-winning journalist and activist who won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news as part of the Washington Post’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. Vargas, who graduated from SF State in 2004, gained recognition as an early adopter of social media in journalism. His feature about how students connected through Facebook after the Virginia Tech massacre was part of the Post's prize-winning coverage. In 2010, he wrote an intimate profile of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker. Last year, Vargas revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant in an essay in the New York Times Magazine. He has since become an activist working for immigration reform through his nonprofit multimedia campaign called Define American.


Honorary Degree

Barbro Osher is a local philanthropist who has generously supported educational and arts organizations at SF State and worldwide. As Chairman of the Board of The Bernard Osher Foundation, which was started by her husband in 1977, she has led the organization to become one of the nation’s leading charitable foundations. She has overseen the formation of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes to provide educational opportunities to older adults and Osher Reentry Scholarships to help students whose studies have been interrupted earn their baccalaureate degree. Through her own Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation -- Pro Suecia meaning "for Sweden” in Latin -- she has sponsored art events as well as film and lecture programs at SF State with a Swedish or Scandinavian theme. Osher has said that SF State’s values of diversity, tolerance and equal opportunity led her to support the University, noting they are the same values that drew her to the United States.


Student Commencement Speaker

Aznaur Midov established himself as a leader on campus, guiding a student-run investment group whose relationships with Bay Area businesses have led to prestigious internships for students. Midov came to SF State after emigrating from Russia with few contacts and little knowledge of English. He improved his language skills at SF State’s American Language Institute before being accepted to the University in 2008. Midov soon co-founded Financial Analysis and Management Education (FAME) and began organizing events and speakers for students interested in investing. The group has grown quickly and organized the largest student investing conference on the West Coast. After he graduates with a degree in corporate finance, Midov plans to become an investment analyst in the Bay Area or New York.


SF State is the only master's level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The university enrolls more than 30,000 students each year. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communications arts, theatre arts 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.


For more information about SF State’s Commencement, visitwww.sfsu.edu/commencement