Message from the President

Les Wong at 2016 Commencement

President Leslie E. Wong applauds graduates’ accomplishments during the 115th Commencement exercises held May 27 at AT&T Park.

Teaching is in SF State’s DNA. Our reputation for training the top educators in the Bay Area, the state and beyond has been going strong since the University opened its doors as a teachers’ school in 1899.

High-tech tools and progressive techniques employed in our facilities today — from electronic white boards to a 3-D printer — would, no doubt, look foreign to the 36 teachers who made up the first graduating class. But SF State’s enduring emphasis on igniting a passion for learning through “radical” teaching methods and experimentation remains unchanged.

When it comes to reaching young students effectively today, SF State-trained teachers such as Donna Dela Calzada and Norma Hernandez, alumnae featured in our cover story, epitomize this tradition. From developing a biotech rap that helps English learners remember vocabulary words to personally inspiring girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to stretch their academic potential, SF State-trained educators continually innovate and give back to their communities.

Another proven SF State program, Project Rebound, has demonstrated such community success it’s been awarded a major grant that will support its expansion to seven California State University campuses. Read more about this exceptional model for helping formerly incarcerated individuals advance their educations in our “Campus News” section.

Project Rebound offered a hand up to Tracey Helton Mitchell, a remarkable alumna profiled in this edition of SF State Magazine. Mitchell successfully transitioned from life as an addict, who had been arrested multiple times, to a strong student who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from SF State. Her recently published memoir, “The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin,” has garnered national attention.

Those featured within our pages range from a young alumna who paid her way to Greece to offer first-hand aid to refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan to alumni who have reached the pinnacles of success in industries from finance to high tech. Laurels heaped on former students whose stories are shared here include Oscar nods and a Pulitzer Prize.

Our accomplished faculty members, too, continue to produce an astounding body of research. Have you heard of sport shopping? Learn about the work of business professors who are pioneering studies into this new type of consumer. And after years of hunting down the truth about the man who claimed to have in his possession the world’s most ancient Bible scrolls, Assistant Professor Chanan Tigay put the mystery to rest after discovering a clue in the J. Paul Leonard Library’s Adolf Sutro Collection.

I am continually impressed and energized by the world of knowledge that thrives at SF State, where the teaching and learning never end.


Sincerely yours,

Les Wong signature

Les Wong