Nothing puts one's life in perspective like viewing a photograph of the cosmos. It's easy to feel insignificant in the face of such vast size and power.
But feeling small and accepting insignificance is not the San Francisco State way. While some may say we have been known to charge a few windmills, many others will acknowledge this University has had its fair share of David-fells-Goliath moments in our 109-year history. This issue of SF State Magazine examines moments of great significance, both large and small, contemporary and historical.
Faculty known worldwide for their pathbreaking work on the exploration of the universe share their methods, their dreams -- and their love of teaching -- with us.
We learn how one faculty member is revolutionizing how children on the autism spectrum are understood, educated and socialized, ensuring they are welcomed and included in our society, and how another instructor is looking to the minke whale as a bellwether of the health of our oceans. Other faculty research offers a window into the experiences of U.S. Army reservists, who live in limbo between school or civilian jobs and the realities of being called for duty.
And we celebrate significant milestones: the introduction of a new Creative Arts dean with a vision of preparing graduates to "live in a world that calls for innovation, creativity and connectivity"; the announced retirement of Provost John Gemello, a beloved leader who has promoted the scholarship and active intellectual life at the heart of this campus; and one of the most important milestones in campus history -- the strike of '68 -- which prompted changes of enormous significance not only on campus, but for all of higher education, society and the world.
We learn how alumni are, as one playwright puts it, "getting at the truth of things," and taking the spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship to new heights in their careers. Even cheese has an "independence of spirit" when viewed through the lens of an SF State graduate.
As we do once each year, we acknowledge in these pages the men and women, businesses and foundations that have seen the significance of SF State's work, and contributed generously to support this important University.
We celebrate in these pages SF State's uniquely powerful climate for creating change and ensuring one's life is significant. Yes, it's a large and daunting cosmos. But SF State demonstrates daily that we can have an impact, one life, one discovery, one creation, one challenge at a time.
Robert A. Corrigan