Message from the President

Photo of Akie Abe, the wife of Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe with President Les Wong

In April, Akie Abe, the wife of Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, stopped by SF State for a visit with President Wong and a group of students to discuss LGBT issues.

Maya Angelou once pointed out that none of us is born with courage. We can only develop it, she said, ''by doing small, courageous things.''

Her words are an apt description of the bravery that is forged every day on this campus. Ours is a university community like no other, one willing to take risks, to create new paths and move beyond the status quo.

In Center Stage, you'll learn about alumnus Jeffrey Tambor's performance on ''Transparent,'' a reminder that sometimes simply being true to yourself can require great courage. As he told us, taking on the groundbreaking role was a scary prospect, even for a seasoned actor like himself. But today, his act of bravery continues to send a powerful message of acceptance across the globe.

Boldly stepping into the unknown is the SF State way. It's the reason we have a long list of famous firsts, from the first College of Ethnic Studies to the first public university foundation to pest from fossil fuels. We have always stepped into that unknown together, refusing to wait for others to lead the way.

If there is a problem, we'll solve it. Consider Professor Jeff Duncan-Andrade, who has seen firsthand the obstacles to learning in East Oakland. Instead of throwing up his hands in despair, he's helping to build a one-of-a-kind charter school to overcome them (10 Questions). Or Professor Gretchen LeBuhn, whose concern over the dwindling bee population has inspired her nationwide effort to improve pollinator habitats and protect the very food we eat (Campus News — Wild Bees on the Job).

This summer we're proud to host the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference and share some of the innovative ways we protect our natural resources on this campus. The University's beautifully maintained grounds are a shining example of these green practices, which have become even more important as we contend with the statewide drought (Uncommon Grounds).

If it's been a while since you strolled through our urban forest, I encourage you to return and enjoy all our campus has to offer. I'd like to think that environmental pioneer Ansel Adams would be proud if he could walk here today (Once Upon a Time, to learn how his daughter, alumna Anne Adams Helms, is helping to bring his work to a wider audience across the globe).

Our next issue will share some exciting changes ahead for the SF State landscape. Until then, I encourage you to continue practicing those small acts of courage that Maya spoke of, remembering that nothing we do is truly small when we focus on making the world around us a more positive and peaceful place.


Sincerely yours,

Signature of President Les Wong

Les Wong


Back to Spring/Summer 2015 index