SF State President Robert A. Corrigan to receive premier higher education award


SAN FRANCISCO, February 20, 2012 – San Francisco State University President Robert A. Corrigan has been selected to receive a distinguished award recognizing his lifetime achievement and contributions to higher education. Corrigan will receive the John Hope Franklin Award from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the nation's only news magazine dedicated to diversity issues in higher education, and will be presented with the award on March 12.

Diverse established the award in 2004 to pay tribute to Dr. Franklin, a noted historian who played a critical role in creating the framework for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The award recognizes individuals whose contributions to higher education are consistent with the highest standards of excellence established by Dr. Franklin. The selection panel is comprised of past recipients of the award and Frank L. Matthews, co-founder and publisher of Diverse.

During a 54-year career in academia, Corrigan has championed diversity in higher education. As President of SF State, he is credited with building a model multicultural campus focused on social justice and equity -- a university where people of color constitute 70 percent of the student body and 41 percent of the faculty. He established scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, recruited a more diverse faculty and cultivated a culture of tolerance where differences are respected and debated peacefully on campus.

Last August, Corrigan announced that he will retire this year after 24 years as the University's President. 

Earlier in his career, Corrigan held faculty positions in English and American studies, including at the University of Iowa where he founded one of the nation's first black studies programs.

"I have known Bob for many, many years and he is truly one of the diversity giants in higher education," said Diverse co-founder Frank L. Matthews. "His leadership, personal life and courageous stands exemplify all that Dr. Franklin stood for. He would have been so proud, and honored to know that Bob received this award."

Corrigan joins a short exclusive list of John Hope Franklin Award honorees that includes poet Maya Angelou, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund. He will be presented with the award on March 12 during the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Council on Education (ACE), held in Los Angeles. 

Among Corrigan's previous awards: the 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the 2009 San Francisco Business Times "Most Admired CEO" award and the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League.