In just a few weeks of this writing I will preside over my 20th commencement as President of San Francisco State University. That's 20 graduations, totaling more than 100,000 degrees awarded. Twenty years of working with some of the most remarkable faculty, talented students and hard-working staff that I have ever met.
Many colleagues, noting that college presidents routinely last less than a few years these days, pepper me with questions about this milestone. How did you do it? What has been your proudest accomplishment? What have you learned, and what advice can you give?
It's difficult to single out one accomplishment that stands apart from the others. I'm extremely proud of the Presidential Scholars program and the combination of financial and academic support that the program has provided to exceptionally promising students. I'm pleased that we have expanded the campus footprint, and developed a master plan that allows not only for more on-campus housing, but new buildings that better support teaching, research and creativity. I'm enormously proud of our exceptional alumni, and the abundance of awards they have earned -- from Pulitzers, Oscars, Tonys and Emmys to Teacher of the Year.
Equally rewarding is seeing the depth and breadth of the University-wide commitment to partnerships, service learning and engagement with the city, to see the range of institutes and centers we've developed to serve the Bay Area and beyond. I also take great pride in our faculty -- and in the deans who have worked so diligently to ensure the faculty are not only the most talented and accomplished scholars, but reflect in gender and ethnicity the diversity of our student body. And our student body -- smart, funny, caring, generous -- I am in awe of their abilities to achieve, to overcome, to accomplish. Extremely proud of their ability to explore ideas, partake in sophisticated discourse, and even disagree -- strongly, loudly at times -- but with tolerance and respect.
Overall, my greatest source of pride derives from the bred-in-the-bone commitment to equity and social justice that is the foundation of all that we do here. Which leads to the best advice I can give: if you believe in the power of higher education to open doors and transform lives, to make positive contributions to society and the world, there's no better place to be than San Francisco State University. I have come to believe that, without this University and the remarkable people who have been a part of its faculty, student body and staff -- the world would be a much less exciting, less inclusive, less humane place. it is truly an honor to serve as your president, to lead an institution so clearly sure of its values of equity and social justice, so clear of its goals to achieve excellence and access, and so deeply committed to remaining true to them. I look forward to the years ahead.
Robert A. Corrigan