Foundation News: October 2017

Photo of SF State Foundation Board Director Neda Nobari (BS, ’84), President Les Wong and Dr. Persis Karim.

SF State Foundation Board Director Neda Nobari (BS, ’84) joins President Les Wong in welcoming Dr. Persis Karim (right) as the inaugural Nobari Distinguished Chair and director of the university’s Nobari Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies. This festive celebration was held recently at Neda’s home with other supporters, faculty, university leaders and fellow board members. More details below.


As illustrated in the photo above, our recent celebration to welcome Persis Karim to lead the Nobari Center was full of good cheer. Our dear friend and fellow director, Neda Nobari, opened her home and her heart to all who participated. A family style traditional Persian feast was exceptional, and emblematic of the warm sense of community that can be so characteristic of the Gator family. As always, we could not be more grateful to Neda and her family for their deep commitment to ensuring both academic excellence, and a creative, enterprising approach to a distinctive area of study, research and service mostly overlooked until the launch of the Nobari Center.

Several foundation directors also attended the recent ribbon cutting and sumptuous dinner to mark the opening of the spectacular new Mashouf Wellness Center. Soon to be confirmed as a platinum LEED Certified facility, this marvel raises the bar on campus in so many ways, not least among them in its distinctive design, and for the fact that it has already hosted an astonishing 200,000 visits since doors opened in August!

Campus is also still abuzz as we welcomed more than 8,900 new students to our Gator family this fall. They are embracing the culture and discussing the world around them, building community, and gaining invaluable tools for the lives they’ll lead once they graduate. We prepare some of the region’s most dynamic citizens, and we’re grateful to you and to others for the gifts and advocacy that help sustain this SF State tradition and legacy. A few recent gifts come to mind that I’d like to highlight below.

The Jerry Wayne Varnado Ethnic Studies Scholarship gift, established by Jerry R. Varnado in honor of his father (a cofounder of SF State’s Black Student Union) will sustain an award of $6,000 annually to promising undergraduate students in the College of Ethnic Studies. It’s a timely gift as faculty and students are reflecting on the legacy of the 1968 student strike, engaging in academic discussions around the strike’s 50th commemoration next year, and building momentum to the 50th anniversary of the College’s founding in 2019. MORE >>>

Our Presidential Scholars program welcomes 12 outstanding, service-minded freshmen as student ambassadors of their colleges; and as such, they will participate in various initiatives focused on service-learning, social justice and civic engagement. This impactful scholarship program has flourished thanks to the philanthropic support of the Osher Foundation, James Alan Ross, the Helene Z. Rodgers Trust and the family of Y.F. Chang.

SF State paves the way for an enduring and promising future for our Bay Area by producing exceptional and diverse leaders. So, as is fitting, on November 3 we’ll celebrate several of these esteemed alumni leaders at our annual Hall of Fame and President’s Dinner. We hope to see you there!

Thank you,

Robert J. Nava
​SF State Foundation President 



Hall of Fame 2017 invitation announcement.

Join Us!

The 2017 President’s Dinner and Hall of Fame Celebration is less than two weeks away. Join us as we honor Jim Wunderman (B.A., ’84), Mary F. Calvert (B.A., ’88), Kim Mazzuca (B.A., ’84, M.S., ’90), Maroud Lahlou (B.A., ’93), and Norman Schwartz (B.S., ’74) on November 3 at the Ritz-Carlton

CLICK HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.

Eleven of the 12 members of SF State’s new Presidential Scholars class.

Presidential Scholars Program Features Service-minded Freshman

The four-year scholarship covering tuition, fees, housing and meals will allow each exceptional student to deepen their commitment to social justice, service-learning and civic engagement.
MORE >>>


Photo of Cameron Angelo, SF State student and Gilman International Scholarship recipient, standing next to the Hachikō Statue in Tokyo.

A $200,000 Scholarship Fund Allows Underrepresented Students to Study Abroad

Angelo received one of the 42 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships given to SF State students this academic year — the most of any university in the nation.
MORE >>>


Campaign Progress Bar showing $70.5 million attained.


$500,000 from Stupski Foundation to support the Metro College Success Program

$370,000 from Mimi and Peter Haas Fund to support EDvance, an early childhood teacher preparation program

$100,000 from Alexandra Laboutin Bannon to establish the Alexandra Laboutin Bannon Scholarship Endowment Fund to support students in elementary or secondary education preparation

FY2017-18 GIVING TO DATE (beginning 7/1/17)

Total Gifts as of 10/27/17:


2017-18 Goal:


% of Goal:




Thursday, December 14, 3 p.m. AT&T Park – Foundation Board meeting & Holiday Party, Reception starts at 5 p.m., Seven Hills or Mashouf Wellness Center TBD

Friday-Saturday, March 23-24, 2018, time TBD – Foundation Board Advance, Ocean Resort & Spa

Thursday,  June 21, 2018, 4 p.m. – Annual Foundation Board Meeting, Seven Hills