SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, 2012 — San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee will give the keynote address at San Francisco State University’s 111th Commencement on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 1 p.m. in Cox Stadium on the SF State campus.
Lee has served the city of San Francisco for more than 20 years and became its first Asian American mayor on Jan. 11, 2011, when the Board of Supervisors unanimously appointed him to serve the remainder of former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s term following Newsom’s election as California’s lieutenant governor. Lee was elected to a full term as mayor the following November.
As mayor, Lee has prioritized education from pre-school through graduate school to prepare San Francisco’s youth for the 21st-century economy. He has supported SF State’s early childhood education care and research efforts as well as such college and career readiness initiatives as the SF Promise program, a partnership among the Mayor’s Office, School District and SF State. Through his Neighborhood Empowerment Network, he has fostered a relationship that benefits both city and university — providing SF State students with opportunities to participate in service to the city’s communities.
“From programs like the SF Promise, to the tens of thousands of hours SF State students contribute to community projects, SF State is deeply engaged with San Francisco. This relationship makes our choice of Mayor Lee as commencement speaker an especially meaningful and appropriate one,” University President Robert A. Corrigan said. “The Mayor is a strong supporter of higher education who appreciates the contributions SF State makes to the economic, cultural and intellectual well-being of this great city.”
Taking office as the economy was still feeling the effects of the recession, Lee has tackled tough issues while fostering collaboration and changing the political climate in City Hall. To close a $380 million budget deficit, Lee began an inclusive, collaborative approach to addressing the shortfall that included an unprecedented level of public input and resulted in a balanced budget passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors. Lee negotiated with labor leaders on a pension reform measure that voters approved in November. To spur job creation and economic development, Lee has led the charge to keep companies like Twitter and Salesforce in San Francisco.
Lee has a long and accomplished history of service to the city of San Francisco. Prior to his appointment as mayor, Lee served as San Francisco’s City Administrator, spearheading government efficiency measures that reduced the size and cost of government and saved taxpayer dollars. Lee joined the city in 1989 as the investigator for its first Whistle Blower Ordinance. He has also served as San Francisco’s deputy director of employment relations, executive director of the Human Rights Commission, director of city purchasing and director of public works. Before he began working for San Francisco, Lee was the managing attorney for the San Francisco Asian Law Caucus. The Seattle native graduated from Bowdoin College in 1974 and Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley in 1978.
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SF State is the only master’s level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The university enrolls nearly 30,000 students each year. Asian American students represent the university’s largest group of minority students, and the university was recently designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution. More than 35 percent of SF State’s students have identified as Asian American, Native American or Pacific Islander. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields — from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communications arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies — the University’s more than 212,000 graduates have contributed to the economic cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.