September 18, 2023

News and Announcements

2023 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees

For the past 29 years, SF State has recognized alumni for their varied contributions to their communities, whether it’s through art, medicine or technology. This year’s Alumni Hall of Fame inductees have made an indelible imprint on the Bay Area and beyond in the world of banking, education, skateboarding, art, music and film. President Lynn Mahoney and the University community are proud to honor the four new inductees at a celebration and dinner Friday, Nov. 3, at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. 

“This year’s inductees represent the diversity of the University and the city of San Francisco,” said Nicole Lange, associate vice president for alumni relations and university engagement. “This year, we’ll honor the president of an Indonesian bank with a 30-plus year career in finance, a longtime educator and school administrator turned professor, the publisher of an iconic skateboarding magazine and a filmmaker and musician whose films and music carry powerful messages about labor, wealth inequality and injustice. This group of accomplished alumni embody both the spirit of SF State and the city, and I couldn’t be prouder.” 

Vincent Matthews (B.A., ’86; M.A., ’90; Ed.D., ’10) 

Dr. Vincent Matthews has been an educator for more than 30 years, eventually leading the same school district he attended from kindergarten through 12th grade. The San Francisco native was the San Francisco Unified School District superintendent from 2017 to 2022. After high school, he attended SF State, earning a bachelor of arts, a master of arts in Educational Administration and eventually a doctorate in Education. He was part of the inaugural cohort in the University’s Educational Leadership program. 

Matthews began his teaching career at Washington Carver Elementary School in San Francisco and later served as an elementary school principal, a high school assistant principal and a middle school principal. He then led the San Jose Unified School District as superintendent for five and a half years, raising academic achievement, narrowing the achievement gap between Latino and white students and passing landmark agreements with the San Jose teacher’s union. He then served as a state-appointed superintendent for Oakland Unified before he was the state-appointed superintendent of the Inglewood Unified School District.  

In 2020, Matthews returned to the classroom at his alma mater SF State. He started as an adjunct faculty member in the Equity, Leadership and Instructional Technologies program and is now an assistant professor. 

Boots Riley (Africana Studies, Cinema) 

Activist, filmmaker and musician Boots Riley studied film at SF State before rising to prominence as the front man of hip-hop groups The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club. His debut feature film “Sorry to Bother You” premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by Annapurna Pictures and was released to resounding box office success and widespread critical acclaim. 

Fervently dedicated to social change, Riley was deeply involved with the Occupy Oakland movement and was one of the leaders of the activist group the Young Comrades. His book of lyrics and anecdotes, “Tell Homeland Security-We Are The Bomb,” is out on Haymarket Press. 

He is the recipient of the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature Film and SFFILM’s Kanbar Award. 

Pramukti Surjaudaja (B.S., ’85) 

Pramukti Surjaudaja has been in banking for more than 30 years. He was the CEO and president director before assuming the role as president commissioner of Bank OCBC NISP in Indonesia. His primary responsibility is serving as chair of the bank’s supervisory board. In addition, he has served as the non-executive director at OCBC BANK Singapore since 2005.    

Over the past three decades, Surjaudaja has been honored with awards such as Best CEO, Most Prominent Banker and Outstanding Entrepreneur. He also serves on the boards of nonprofit and educational organizations such as The British School Jakarta, Karya Salemba Empat Foundation, Parahiyangan Catholic University, Indonesia Overseas Alumni and served on the South East Asian Nations Council of INSEAD. Surjaudaja is a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Lam Family College of Business. 

After graduating from SF State in 1985, he earned his MBA from Golden Gate University. He lives with his family in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Gwynned Rose Vitello (B.A., ’74) 

Gwynned Rose Vitello is a principal partner with High Speed Productions, the San Francisco based media company that publishes Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine and Thrasher, often referred to as the Bible of Skateboarding. She met her late husband Fausto Vitello (B.A., 71) when they were both students at SF State, after which, in 1981 he co-founded Thrasher Magazine, suffusing the sport with Bay Area energy and worldwide street appeal. Fausto passed away in 2006, so Gwynned stepped in to oversee the skate and art enterprises. 

Prior to High Speed Productions, Gwynned Vitello worked at San Francisco City Hall in the administrations of Mayors Joseph Alioto, George Moscone and Dianne Feinstein. Today she continues as an executive in what is still a family business, alongside her two adult children who both have strong connections to the University. Tony attended SF State from 2003 through 2006 as a History major and has currently taken over the reins at High Speed Productions. Sally assists at the magazines and serves on the board of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability. The family is proud that over the years, several San Francisco State students have served as employees and at the High Speed. 

View details on the 2023 Alumni Hall of Fame ceremony and purchase tickets.

Gator Juan Gonzales giving a speech

From an early age, Juan Gonzales was always starting small businesses in and around his Stockton neighborhood. First, there were the Kool-Aid stands, then he picked fruit from his neighbors’ trees and sold them up and down his street. In middle school, he developed a passion for writing and later journalism. As a young adult, he combined entrepreneurship and journalism into one dream: starting a newspaper. But it was a goal he didn’t think he’d achieve until he reached his 40s. 

But in 1970, six months after graduating from SF State’s Journalism program, 23-year-old Gonzales achieved his dream early — he launched El Tecolote, a bilingual newspaper serving San Francisco’s Mission District residents. How that paper came to be had a lot to do with what happened to Gonzales as an undergraduate student at SF State. The paper, now in its 53rd year, is still going strong and is the state’s longest-running bilingual newspaper — a legacy that was recently celebrated at a special fundraising gala where Gonzales was also recognized. 

When Gonzales transferred to SF State in the late 1960s, he was confronted with a world vastly different from the conservative farming town where he grew up. SF State was ground zero for nearly every social movement of the 1960s. There were civil rights activists, students tuning in, turning on and dropping out, anti-war protests and ethnic identity demonstrations. It was fertile ground for a journalism student. 

“This was all a part of the SF State experience,” Gonzales said. “A lot of the things discussed on campus, the forums, were relatively new to me. Going to State was a wake-up call for me to think more seriously about what I wanted to do in light of things that were being said.” 

In 1968, the SF State student strike erupted on campus, with students of color demanding an education that reflected their lived experience and histories. Gonzales was on the front lines, not with a picket sign but with a pen. He wrote about the strike for SF State’s student newspaper, The Phoenix. “We really matured as journalists, and it provided a solid foundation in terms of doing work under extreme pressure, covering a major story,” he said. 

He was supportive of the strike and even published an editorial stating as much, but he remained objective in his reporting. 

While covering the strike, a student demonstrator asked if he’d ever consider writing about his own community. “[The striker told me] ‘You know who could use your skills? Your community. There’s a community in the Mission District and it’s highly populated by Latinos and they could use your storytelling and use your skills to write about their culture, give them a voice,’” Gonzales recalled. This question stayed with him throughout college. 

After graduation, a professor asked him to teach a journalism class in SF State’s newly formed College of Ethnic Studies in the La Raza Studies Department. His class was called “La Raza Journalism,” and he taught students to write journalistically. Right away he realized there was a problem: There was no place to publish his students’ work. That’s when the idea came to launch a bilingual community newspaper in the Mission District. 

With the help of SF State students and Mission residents, he launched El Tecolote in August of 1970. Gonzales promised he’d commit to the paper for at least five years. “Publishing one edition is easy, but consistency is key,” he said. “If you want to establish the paper as part of the neighborhood, people want to be able to see it every two weeks.” 

The first five years of El Tecolote came and went. Gonzales stayed on, splitting his time between the paper and SF State. (He later left SF State to join the faculty at City College of San Francisco where he currently teaches and has served as department chair of Journalism since 1985.) 

One of the early student writers for El Tecolote was Edgar Sanchez (B.A., ’74). He was a student in Gonzales’ La Raza Studies course and credited El Tecolote for launching his journalism career, which has since spanned five decades, taking him to Palm Beach, Florida (Palm Beach Post), and later to Sacramento (The Sacramento Bee). 

But when he started writing for El Tecolote he was pretty green. An immigrant from El Salvador, Sanchez said he struggled with writing in English. “I didn’t have the command or the language. My writing was horrible,” he said. “But I continued to write and along the weeks became better.” 

Gonzales was a solid role model, Sanchez added, in part because he wrote for the major wire services — United Press International and the Associated Press. As an editor he was hands off, Sanchez said. “He gave us the freedom to pursue stories we wanted to do,” he said. 

Some of the stories the paper produced had a real impact on the community: Two of Gonzales’ early investigative series resulted in real change. While in graduate school at Stanford University for journalism in the early 1970s, Gonzales and fellow student Mario Evangelista launched an investigation into the lack of Spanish-speaking emergency operators at Pacific Telephone and Telegraph. They found the Spanish-speaking community was not receiving quality service, often having calls disconnected and waiting more than four minutes for assistance. The story caught the attention of state regulators, and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held statewide hearings about the issue. 

“The end result was [the CPUC] forced the utility to provide reports in terms of their implementation of full bilingual services,” Gonzales said. 

A few years later, a pregnant Spanish-speaking woman sought treatment for bleeding at San Francisco General Hospital. The hospital attendant couldn’t understand what she was saying and sent her home. The woman lost her baby. El Tecolote launched an investigation into the bilingual services offered by the hospital. Their reporting revealed that few hospital workers were bilingual and hospital signage, prescription information and other printed materials were inadequate for non-English speakers. That story was the catalyst for the hospital to hire interpreters and more bilingual staff. 

For more than 50 years, El Tecolote has been the paper of record for the Mission District, documenting everything from gentrification and the housing shortage to conflicts between the police and the community. It’s done this at a time when community newspapers are vanishing. Gonzales credits the paper’s longevity to his and others’ dedication and “to the army of volunteers,” he noted 

“The community is relying on [the] publication, and I think if you establish yourself as really providing good information and being relevant then the readership will stay with you, and hopefully even financially support you,” he said. And it’s helped that Gonzales doesn’t compromise on quality. “We have to give our readers quality work — good writing, good photographs, good layout … They expect the best, and we should give the best.” 

Check out SF State’s Journalism department and the Latina/Latino Studies program.

Students walking in front of CEETL building

The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) hosts a Lecturer Faculty Teaching and Learning Community from Monday, Oct. 9 to Friday, Nov. 17. This learning community supports new and early-career lecturer faculty (1 – 2 years) in their pedagogy, provides a space for connection with other more recent lecturer faculty, and shares resources to support student success.  

Lecturer faculty who complete the criteria by Friday, Nov. 17, will receive a $500 stipend. (Those who completed the program in fall 2022 are not recommended to participate.)  

To register, please fill out the Qualtrics form

The REACH Faculty Learning Community increases faculty members’ capacity to teach equity-minded financial literacy in the classroom. The modules include a curriculum on a wide variety of financial literacy subjects including: 

  • Deconstructing and Reclaiming Wealth 
  • Understanding Financial Aid 
  • Budgeting 
  • How to Build Sustainable and Equitable Communities 

The next REACH Faculty Learning Community will be held Friday, Sept. 22, to Friday, March 29. In-person and asynchronous options are available. 

A $1,000 honorarium is provided. Lecturers and tenure-track faculty are eligible. 

Please visit the REACH Faculty Learning Community page to register.  

SF State’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Program requests campus feedback for drafts of two new policies: the NAGPRA/CalNAGPRA Repository Policy and the Contamination Testing Policy. 

The primary goal of the SF State NAGPRA Program is to return ancestral remains and cultural objects safely to Native American tribal communities.  

Review the policies and provide feedback online

Following a year of research, review and campus feedback, SF State’s Cost Recovery Oversight Committee finalized the campus’ Cost Recovery Policy (formerly known as “chargeback”). This new policy can be viewed on the committee’s website under “Governing Documents.”  

As noted in the policy: “All campus entities who provide goods, resources and/or services requiring cost recovery must conform to this policy by establishing and publishing a unit specific cost recovery process consistent with the minimum requirements outlined in this policy” within the next six months, by March 1, 2024. Once finalized, the unit-specific cost recovery process should be shared with the committee, which will review each process and share it with the campus community via the committee’s website.  

For questions or to submit your unit-specific cost recovery process, please email the Cost Recovery Oversight Committee. The committee thanks all who participated in this process! 

The SF State Academic Senate met on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Seven Hills Conference Center and via Zoom.  

A summary of the meeting:  

  • The senate heard in first reading a new minor in Disability Studies.

View the full agenda, meeting materials and minutes on the Academic Senate website.  

The University Police Department hosts its Virtual Citizens’ Academy, a nine-week program held every Wednesday 4 – 6 p.m. starting Wednesday, Sept. 20.  

The application deadline is Monday, Sept. 18. For more information and to apply, please visit the Virtual Citizens Academy page

The Fit Plus program invites all faculty and staff, Fit Plus Member previous or not, to its fall 2023 Welcome Back Social Potluck Wednesday, Sept. 20, noon – 1 p.m., in the Gymnasium 147 courtyard. Enjoy light snacks, meet Fit Plus instructors and mingle with friends. 

Please RSVP by Sept. 19.  

Taylor Eigsti and quintet

Grammy-award-winning pianist and composer Taylor Eigsti will be joined by his quintet featuring Charles Altura, David “DJ” Ginyard Jr., Oscar Seaton and Maya Kronfeld for a jazz performance Thursday, Sept. 21, in McKenna Theatre (in the Creative Arts Building). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Eigsti is known for his dynamic and innovative style, blending traditional jazz with modern influences. He will bring two special guests: saxophonist Ben Wendel and a surprise performer. 

General admission is $20; student admission is $10. The first 200 students, faculty and staff to reserve a ticket will receive free admission.

Visit LCA Live to reserve your tickets

Join the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) for monthly workshops this semester on JEDI Journaling. The workshops explore ways that journaling can be used as a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) pedagogical tool and consider how journaling can be incorporated as a reflective teaching practice. Participants will think about how journaling can be used as a way to reflect on and organize careers as educators and discuss how journals and journaling might be used as a tool for student success.  

Workshops will be held on Sept. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16 and Dec. 7. All are on Thursdays, 10 – 11 a.m., in Library 242. Lecturer faculty teaching at least one course this semester are eligible for a $50 stipend.

Visit the CEETL website for all of its courses and programs this semester

Join Campus Recreation for its fall 2023 Faculty and Staff Free Week from Sunday, Sept. 24, to Saturday, Sept. 30.  

Visit the Faculty and Staff Memberships page to register. For assistance, email the membership team

SF State Transforms invites all faculty and staff to join its Welcome Back Luncheon, providing an opportunity to reconnect, build campus connections and learn about opportunities for faculty equity and enhancement. The event will be held on Thursday, Sept. 28, 1 – 2:30 p.m. in Library 121.  

RSVP by Sept. 25. For more information email Ilse Gonzalez

The All University Committee on International Programs hosts its first coffee hour for international and internationally minded faculty, staff and administrators on Thursday, Sept. 28, noon – 1:30 p.m. in Library 286. 

Please quench your inner wanderlust and drop by for some light refreshments and a chat about all things international with your fellow faculty, administrators and staff. This event will occur twice each semester. The College of Professional & Global Education will provide refreshments.  

Please RSVP to this event.  

SF State Spotlight

History Associate Professor Felicia Viator is co-curator of “Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit” at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. It opens Saturday, Oct. 7, and runs through Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2024.  

The immersive, interactive, 5,000-square-foot exhibition celebrates the multifaceted world of hip-hop and the global impact and influence of the genre and culture. It features expansive exhibits exploring hip-hop music, dance, graffiti, fashion, business, activism and history as well as artifacts from pioneers like Tupac Shakur, the Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J and many more. 

Special Education Professor Gloria Soto and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Assistant Professor Mike Clarke have received a $60,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation (Sept. 1, 2023 – Dec 31, 2024). “Examining Culturally and Linguistically Affirming Translanguaging Practices in Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention” is an action research project aimed to explore bilingual practices of speech and language therapists who work with bilingual children with speech disabilities who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).  

The study will focus on describing the experiences and practices of professionals in addressing the home language needs of their Latinx bilingual clients who use AAC, particularly about facilitators and barriers in implementing materials and strategies to do so. To this end, last year they worked on the Spanish adaptation of the School Year of Core, a set of curricular resources to teach highly frequent Spanish vocabulary to children who use AAC. 

This project will result in much needed insight and evidence-based guidelines on successful implementation of bilingual AAC intervention. 

Assistant Professor of Cinema Mihaela Mihailova has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant through “The Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities” program.  

Her book project, “Synthetic Creativity: Deepfakes in Contemporary Media,” will look into the aesthetics, application, dissemination and ontological status of deepfakes across media contexts, including digital artworks, social activism, museum exhibits and film and television. 

Mihailova would like to acknowledge the support of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and of Senior Grant Administrator Cecilia Li in particular. 

Interested in what area young people think about the future of our region? Students from Journalism and Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) share stories from around the community in a special KQED broadcast about the future of the Bay Area.   

The project, a one-hour special titled “The Future of the Bay,” reports on racial discrimination in San Francisco parks, car culture, pickleball, DIY punk shows, reparations, the city’s changing downtown and more. It originally aired on KQED-FM in August, and is now available online.    

The project was produced last spring in Journalism/BECA 480 “Audio Journalism,” taught by Assistant Professor Josh Davis. Journalism alumni Ximena Loeza (B.A., ’23) and Sebastian Mino-Bucheli (B.A., ’21) supervised the production with Davis.

Projects include work from Journalism students Arman Archouniani, Gina Castro, Luis Cortes, Andy Damian-Correa, Jack Davies, Gustavo Hernandez, Leti Luna, Grady Neilan, Andrea Sto. Domingo, Brianna Tier, Caroline Van Zandt and Destiny Walker) and BECA students Paloma Abarca, Kian Schureman, Jose Rodriguez and Daphne Young

San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju held a press conference to announce the College Pathway Project on Sept. 6. This partnership with SF State’s Project Rebound and the City College of San Francisco will connect clients of the public defender with extensive academic support and an advocate in court. 

“Instead of criminalization, our clients deserve a chance to realize their potential,” Raju said. “We are thrilled to be partnering with SFSU Project Rebound and CCSF New Directions to connect our clients with the resources they need to help them thrive, because we know that their success has exponential benefits for their families and the community at large.” 

Jason Bell, executive director of Project Rebound and a lecturer in Criminal Justice Studies, also spoke at the press conference. 

“I take great pride in our program and in being a living example of what successful reintegration looks like in a college setting,” Bell said. “When I first came out of prison, I could only have wished for the level of support that Project Rebound provides. Most college counselors aren’t used to working with people in prison and handling prison mail, or helping recently incarcerated students learn how to do things like online college applications. This is why our services are so critical and why this partnership is so important.” 

SF State student Belinda Anderson is a participant in Project Rebound.

“For me, Project Rebound represents hope. It’s an olive branch,” she said. “They extended their branch and opened their arms to me, and helped me in so many ways. They weren’t looking down their nose at you. My experience was wonderful.” 

San Francisco Senior Beat recently went behind the scenes of Vistas and Byways, a literary magazine published by SF State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). The online review showcases original writing and photographs by OLLI members. 

“There are just a few things in life that are more delightful than being published, even though I can’t think of any of them right now,” said Joe Catalano, the editor of Vistas and Byways and a retired lawyer.  

Former Lam Family College of Business instructor Mike Lambert founded Vistas and Byways in 2015. Though he has stepped down as editor, at age 89 he still runs the magazine’s website and contributes his poetry. 

Prominent media outlets continue to call on David M. Peña-Guzmán, associate professor of Humanities, for his research on the dreaming capabilities of animals.  

“Do they experience those penetrating nightly visions that humans do?” he asked in a Sept. 6 Discover magazine article. “Or do their minds simply plummet into a psychic void in which no conscious experience takes place?” 

In Knowable Magazine on Aug. 30, Peña-Guzmán states that animals should have the capability to see the world from their point of view when dreaming.

“We want to think that humans are the only ones who can enact that break from the world,” says Peña-Guzmán, the author of “When Animals Dream: The Hidden World of Animal Consciousness.” “We might have to think a little bit more about other animals.” 

Africana Studies Lecturer Duane Deterville facilitated “The Artist’s Archive: Protecting Your Intellectual Property and Your History’s Future” on Sept. 8 at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch. 

The panel discussion provided information to artists, community archivists and historians on how to protect their creative legacy. The presentations are contextualized by the history of cultural appropriation of Black creative production. 

In a Sept. 10 story in the San Francisco Examiner, Criminal Justice Studies Associate Professor Dilara Yarbrough discusses issues surrounding homelessness in San Francisco. 

“I really think that the city’s rhetoric around this issue of ‘voluntarily homeless’ is very disingenuous,” she said. “No one is out on the streets just for fun. People want housing, and San Francisco does not have housing. I want to know, in every single case, is something being offered? Because when we’ve done studies, we see that what’s offered is short-term and inadequate.” 

Yarbrough criticizes how the city has fought a court injunction restricting removing people and clearing property from encampments. 

“It’s so that they can justify continuing with the sweeps. But the sweeps do not solve the problem, which is that people need a home and somewhere safe to be. The sweeps actually exacerbate the problem,” she said.