SF State Alumni Association

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1999 Inductees



Astronaut Yvonne Cagle Named S.F. State's Centennial Commencement Speaker and Alumna of the Year

Born in West Point, NY, Cagle, 40, was raised in Novato, CA, where her father was stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base. She considers the Marin County community to be her hometown. Cagle graduated from Novato High School before attending San Francisco State. She earned her doctorate in medicine from the University of Washington in 1985 and completed residency in family practice at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

A reserve officer with the U.S. air Force, Cagle is certified as a flight surgeon and a senior aviation medical examiner. From 1994 until 1996, she served as a physician in the Johnson Space Center's Occupational Health Clinic before being selected for the astronaut-training program, which she completed last year. She is currently qualified for flight assignment aboard future space missions.

cameron Elsa Cameron

Former director and chief curator of the San Francisco Airport Museum, 1981-1999. There she built a collection of 10,000 objects based on popular arts, folk art, toys, and an aviation collection exceeding 20,000 objects. She has always been a visionary in providing world-class exhibitions, not only at the San Francisco International Airport, where hundreds of thousands of international travelers have viewed Elsa's work, but also at the University of Southern California, UC Berkeley, and the de Young Museum Art School, where she developed education and outreach programs. She can take an ordinary object, like a shopping bag or a hat, and create an exhibit so striking that the visitor would see the object in a completely new light. President & CEO, Community Arts International, San Francisco, a nonprofit agency that develops public art collections and exhibitions for public spaces.

cayou Nontsizi Cayou

Dancer, educator, author, choreographer and international and community cultural activist, Professor Nontsizi D. Cayou was invited to join the full-time dance faculty at SFSU in 1966. Professor Cayou served as a catalyst for the creation of the department of dance at SFSU and the Center for African and African American Art and Culture. Her Academic and Cultural Enrichment Program, part of the Wajumbe Cultural Institution, has helped poor children and their families in San Francisco. Professor and former chair of the department of dance at SF State, she was a Fulbright Scholar who studied in Nigeria.

mason William J. Mason

With a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley, master's and teaching credential from SFSU, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Iowa, he has always risen to the top of any endeavor he has chosen. He served in both WWII and the Korean War and was awarded commendations for his bravery beyond the call of duty. Among his other projects, he has devoted many years to producing a genealogical history of his and his wife's families, was awarded professor emeritus of economics at San Francisco State, longtime resource analyst for the Chancellor's office of the CSU, co-founder of the first Center on Economic Education, historian and WWII archivist, past president of the SFSU Alumni Association, SFSU Retirement Association, and President of the Lincoln High School Alumni Association.

medina Jose Medina

Appointed by Governor Gray Davis to head Caltrans, he administers a nearly $8 million budget and 20,000 employees working to build, maintain, and operate the largest state transportation system in the country. He believes in a philosophy of transportation as the handmaiden to good urban planning -- that adds value to neighborhoods rather than divides them. He has served as counsel to three San Francisco mayors on such issues as safe neighborhoods, employment and urban planning. For over thirty years, he has dedicated himself to his community in San Francisco.

peterson Donna Petersen

In a singing career that spans over 50 years, she has become a world-renowned opera star. A member of the San Francisco Opera Company for over 43 years, she has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, has appeared in over 40 roles, has concertized throughout the United States and Canada, Europe and Australia and has been a frequent soloist worldwide, including in Los Angeles, Mexico City, Honolulu, San Jose and Oakland. She has been head of the voice department at Mills College for nearly thirty years. Proud of her Danish heritage, she has sung for many members of the Scandinavian royal family, and was knighted by Queen Margrethe of Denmark in 1976.

pivnick Izzy Pivnick

Twenty years before student protests were common at San Francisco State, Izzy led a group of students on a dramatic march to City Hall, protesting the sale of the new campus land. Their protest was successful in convincing the city fathers that the university deserved its present prime location. Izzy served as a popular campus leader at a time when San Francisco State College was coming of age. As an educator, Izzy's career made him one of the most respected administrators in the San Francisco Unified School District. His other accomplished positions include: former vice-chair, San Francisco Human Rights Commission, California State Commission on Compensatory Education and the Morris Stulsaft Foundation; retired teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District; past president, SFSU Alumni Association and coordinator of volunteers, Contact 4, KRON-TV Consumer Public Service Hotline.

socher James Sochor

All-American football player, 1956-59, San Francisco State coach, 1960-65 and UC Davis coach, 1967-present, where he built one of the nation's best football programs. He put SF State on the national football map and was the starting quarterback on four Far Western Championship teams. In the late '50s, the team under Sochor's leadership accumulated a 29 win 11 loss record. The 1959 team was the only undefeated team in the nation and Sochor was awarded the San Francisco State Outstanding Athlete-of-the-Year. His record for a small college football program is unsurpassed and the envy of major, well-funded university programs.


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