San Francisco State graduates over 8000+
Under a blanket of chilly fog around 20,000 friends and family of students gathered at SF State’s Cox stadium on Saturday for the University’s 106th graduation ceremony. The largest number of graduates and most diverse class in the University’s history grabbed diplomas, over 8,000 students from over 100 nations.
While booze, beach balls and bare breasts were officially verboten during the ceremony based on ye olde 12th century English scholarly tradition, that didn’t stop this re-blog-porter from seeing all three of the banned items. Unfortunately though for me, the breasts were hairy and those of a decidedly male persuasion.
To prove the point that SF State is a diverse and unique institution University President Robert Corrigan welcomed guest speakers Arthur Dong, an alumnus & noted Emmy award winning gay asian documentary filmmaker, and SF’s District Attorney Kamala Harris, the nation’s first black female to hold such a position.
Once at the dais, Dong humorously shot footage of the crowd as a “screen test”, said hello to his Mom, and admonished his child to note how big he seemed on the projection screen, and that he better eat his vegetables. Dong gave a shout out to the Ethnic Studies college grads, and delivered semi meandering remarks on bigotry that eventually brought up the death of Jerry Falwell as “good”. He also mentioned that dropping out of SF State for 10 years was one of the best experiences of his life.
more on the ceremonial hoopla at SF State after the jump…
Keynote speaker Kamala Harris, an alumnus of Howard & Stanford, prodded students to break rules, and never listen when naysayers tell you it can’t be done because it’s never been done before. She spoke of of the experience when she got her first poll results after running for office and felt dejected in a conference room when told she only had 6% of the public’s approval at that point. She said that didn’t stop her from reaching her goal (but failed to mention that her solution was to aggressively & illegally break campaign spending limits). Her goals for the students were an ambitious laundry list of aspirations including but not limited to: stopping the war in Iraq, ending the genocide in Darfur, and insuring reproductive rights for all women, amongst others.
I think a lot of the students would just like to pay off their loans, and possibly find jobs, or maybe even just a parking space now and then. But hey, maybe they’ll get around to all that other stuff Kamala wants done too this summer…
Ironically the dignitaries & speakers onstage seemed to drew far less attention than heavily tattooed 6′ 7″ Golden State Warriors player Matt Barnes who was swarmed on the field by fans taking pictures of him taking pictures with a relative in a cap & gown.
Finally after all the pomp & circumstance the actual graduates were allowed up on stage to receive their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Among the recipients were exemplary students who were singled out by the faculty for extraordinary achievement and received the “investiture of the hood”, which wasn’t a hood at all, but actually more like a colored scarf. These folks who get to show some “hood” pride include:
College of Business Grad: Tal Levy-Chen,
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Grad: Heather Weigand
College of Ethnic Studies Grad: Josue F. Revolorio Illescas
College of Health and Human Services Grad: Oscar Gustavo Macias Martinez
College of Science and Engineering Grad: Karen Chan
College of Humanities Grad: Brigitte Polianos
College of Creative Arts Grad: Belinderjit Kaur Singh
Liberal Studies Major: Jessica Quan
Cell Biology Major : Diana Marina
For more info on the accomplishments of these graduates see the SFSU.edu website
All in all, despite the crush of the crowds, it was a fine and momentous occasion for those involved, even if the porta poddies were a horribly flooded mess, and they ran out of pizza at the concession stands.