Cultivating a Passion for Public Service

JUNE 9, 2016

Mayor Willie Brown (center) with a group of Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellows and program director Raquel Pinderhughes (3rd from left) during the April 2016 dedication of the Willie L. Brown Hall in the J. Paul Leonard Library.

Local and regional governments need the innovators, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and well-trained workers that SF State graduates according to Willie L. Brown, Jr. (’55), former Mayor of San Francisco, former Speaker of the State Assembly, and SF State alum. In 2008, Mayor Brown created the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship at SF State to provide students with hands-on experience working in government agencies while helping them develop a network of professional contacts. Willie Brown Fellows receive an honorarium, enroll in a professional development/community service learning seminar and participate in a semester-long internship with the city of San Francisco. A committee of SF State and Willie L. Brown Jr. Institute representatives selects fellows for each semester, with consideration given to students who have faced challenges while pursuing a college education and have demonstrated a passion for public service.

Fellows pursue careers in a wide range of fields, including urban planning, public administration, law and health education. Several alumni of the program were hired by the government agencies with which they interned, while others earned graduate degrees or entered the work force immediately after graduation.



Making an Impact

In 2015, a group of donors contributed more than $1 million to endow the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship program. Their generosity allowed the University to significantly increase the number of students accepted as fellows each semester. Among those supporting the program are: George and Judith Marcus, Dignity Health, Darius Anderson, Kofi Bonner, PG&E, Steven Kay, Clint and Janet Reilly, Wahid Tadros, Larry Baer, Oz Erickson, Richard Guggenhime, Al Dworman and Elisa Stephens.

Willie J. Brown and donor