Former Mayor of San Francisco to deliver commencement address

The former mayor of San Francisco, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, will speak at SF State’s 114th commencement ceremony next month, according to a University announcement released Tuesday, April 7.

“Throughout his career, Lieutenant Governor Newsom has been a strong advocate for California’s world-renowned higher education system,” President Leslie E. Wong said in the press release. “He has shown principled, innovative leadership that exemplifies the values of courage, equity and resilience we stand for at SF State.”

Newsom serves as the regent of the University of California and trustee for the California State University system. At the age of 34, was the youngest person appointed as mayor of San Francisco in more than a century, according to his website. After his first term as mayor, he was re-elected for in 2007.

“He has been a champion for students and the link between higher education and prosperous futures,” said President Wong’s Chief of Staff, Shawn Whalen.

Newsom has strong ties to SF State and spoke at the commencement ceremony in 2008, Whalen said.

Wong and Newsom have collaborated to facilitate a student success project that they plan to pilot this year, according to Whalen. Newsom did not request and will not receive compensation from the University, he said.

“He is President Wong’s top choice due to the great respect that he has for his leadership and accomplishments both as lieutenant governor and as mayor of San Francisco,” Whalen said.

Having heard Newsom speak before, Whalen believes that he will make the commencement one to remember.

“I’ll add a personal note too – he’s a great speaker,” Whalen said.  “If you haven’t had a chance to hear him speak, you won’t want to miss this year’s commencement.”

Samantha Krome, 22, is planning to graduate this spring with a bachelor of science in geology and said she thinks Newsom will be a great addition to the commencement ceremony.

“He’s such an important political and social figure in San Francisco,” Krome said. “Having him at graduation would be a great send-off for the graduates.”

Alumni Annette Bening, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and law professor Peter Gabel will be honored as SF State degree recipients, according to the commencement press release.

The commencement is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. May 22 at AT&T Park.