College of Liberal & Creative Arts News & Stories

Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo

Dean Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo: Connection & Inclusivity at the CLCA

Dean Nwankwo envisions an education that marries each student’s personal experiences and knowledge with academic learning, creating a collaborative environment that is more of a makerspace than a one-way imparting of information.

Phyllis & Jerry Rosenberg

Alum Donor Jerry Rosenberg's Iconoclastic Philanthropy

Jerry Rosenberg's unique approach towards funding a scholarship for students in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts has been phenomenally successful. 

Joan and William Briggs

Alumna's Husband Bequeaths $1M to History Department

In honor of his wife Joyce, Dr. William Briggs donated funds towards scholarships for students in the History department who intended to become teachers.

SFSU bilingual journalism student Daniel Hernandez

Student Video | Daniel Hernandez's Journey From Construction to Journalism

While studying in community college, Daniel Hernandez became a construction worker to pay tuition and bills. Today, he is a major in the Bilingual Spanish Journalism program—the first program of its kind at a public university in the U.S.

Kenny and Maria Chin

Donor Profile: Kenny and Maria Chin

Kenny had always envisioned running for politics once he got older and retired, but, when the time came, he decided to invest in education instead. “I believe the best path forward for me is to help young people, to open curious minds,” says Kenny. 

man driving a car with woman in the backseat

Race, gender are major factors why taxi and ride-hail drivers are ‘Spent Behind the Wheel’

Ride-hail drivers today face many of the same problems that have existed since the invention of the automobile, according to a new book by two SF State Women & Gender Studies professors. While drivers’ struggles to make a living wage have generated much fanfare and legislation in the last decade, age-old stereotypes also dominate the occupation.

painting of female Iranian protesters

Director of SF State’s Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies Responds to Iranian Crisis

San Francisco State University Professor Persis Karim serves as the Neda Nobari Distinguished Chair and director of the University’s Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies

Anaiis Cisco on set

Alumna & Scholarship Recipient Anaiis Cisco: Shattering Disparity in Film

Anaiis makes films that "explore the emotional journey of Black characters in nuanced story worlds, highlighting the experiences of underrepresented racial, ethnic, queer, and gendered identities."

car in garage

University Receives Donation of Robert Bechtle Artwork

The Robert Bechtle and Whitney Chadwick Trust has donated five prints done by world-renown artist Robert Bechtle, who taught in the art department for thirty years.

essential workers mural on side of building

Scholarship Student Creates Mural Honoring Essential Workers

Emma Wakefield endured sweltering heat for a week in May to paint the Essential Workers Appreciation Mural, a project of the Lake County Arts Council. Days later, she graduated from San Francisco State with a bachelor’s degree in Art and a minor in Education.

three girls on a bed scrolling on phones

Assistant Professor Omar Sosa-Tzec receives Marcus Early Career Research Award

This award releases faculty from instructional and service responsibilities for one semester in order to support their research. Sosa-Tzec's project is concerned with designing for digital wellbeing—the notion of having a balanced relationship with everyday technology.

headshot of woman smiling

Writing into the unknown: a conversation with Marcus Endowed Chair Tonya M. Foster

Foster joined San Francisco State last fall as one of four Marcus Endowed Chairs, tenure-track positions established with a $25 million donation from alumni George and Judy Marcus. Now, SF State students work closely with the New Orleans-raised poet known for electric lyricism and expansive interpretations of language.

illustration of a man's head resting on a pillow

“The Montford Point Marine Project” will foreground the meaning and lessons the Black veterans themselves draw from their service and experiences

SF State professor Trevor Getz will again bring an overlooked piece of history to light through a nonfiction comic book. Created with History undergraduate Robert Willis, “The Montford Point Marine Project” will tell the stories of the first Black U.S. Marines, who served in World War II. The story is based on new oral histories of their experiences.

Artel Great posing

Artel Great Views Black Cinema from Multiple Angles

Assistant Professor Great joined San Francisco State in 2020 as the first George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in African American Cinema Studies, a position created as part of a $25 million donation from alumni George and Judy Marcus.

3 Marcus Transformative Research Award Winners

Three Professors Win Marcus Transformative Research Award for 2021-22

Three College of Liberal & Creative Arts faculty members are this year's recipients of the Marcus Transformative Research Award and will support research in topics spanning the decolonizing of communication research, empowering history collection in Ghana and recovering the works of a 19th century composer.

mina kasirifar

Scholarship Student's Furniture Concept Lands Industrial Design Award

An award-winning SF State thesis offers a playful, space-efficient piece of furniture that helps keep young children engaged at home without taking a lot of space or making a mess. Mina Kasirifar's FLIP, a chair that enhances children’s sensory development with dozens of configurations, recently won the West District Graduate Student Merit Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America.

Steve Arkin

The Arkin Fund for Distinguished Students

Professor Stephen Arkin was a beloved professor in San Francisco State University’s English Department for more than 40 years. In memory of his passing on May 6th, 2020, his family, friends and colleagues established the Arkin Fund for Distinguished Students.

Michael Krasny headshot

The Michael Krasny Awards in English Literature

The Krasny awards were established in 2018 to recognize and honor the literary legacy and professional influence of Professor Michael Krasny. Professor Krasny, a widely published critic, and scholar has been a member of San Francisco State University's Department of English since 1970. He has been the host since 1993 of the award-winning live radio program Forum on KQED in San Francisco. 

Picture of Longmore

Longmore Institute Receives $100K

A $100,000 donation from Anthem Blue Cross to The Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University has established a new scholarship fund to support education-related expenses for students with disabilities who have committed to future healthcare work, whether as direct healthcare practitioners or working in the field of health justice. This initiative is part of Anthem’s broader commitment to address California’s healthcare worker shortage and to close the gap in health disparities across the state. 

Mark Dollinger

Professor Marc Dollinger Donates to the HOPE Fund

“As an educator, I’m student-centered, and to be at SF State is to have social justice at the heart of our mission. We’ve got one of the most diverse student bodies of any university in the country. COVID-19 and the national reckoning on race intersected with the HOPE Fund,” he said. “I like that I’m empowering students to achieve their goals, so they can pay their loan forward for the next generation of students.” – Marc Dollinger

The front of Marcus Hall

Marcus Hall Grand Opening

Marcus Hall will prepare future generations to lead and evolve the media landscape. Designed by MCA as a flexible learning and production environment which can be adapted to changing technologies, the four-story facility asserts the presence of media arts at the University. 

Barbara Hammer headshot

Queer Cinema Project (QCP) receives $77,000

QCP recently received a $27,000 donation from the estate of alumni and noted filmmaker Barbara Hammer and executor Florrie Burke, an international human-rights advocate and Hammer’s spouse of 31 years. The gift is a match to a 2018 challenge grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, which made an additional $25,000 grant to QCP in 2018. 

Julie Paulson, Nick Sousanis, and Venise Wagner

Winners of Marcus Transformative Research Award

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ Marcus Transformative Research Awards will support three professors’ research in topics spanning a graphic novel, structural racism, and disability. The award is made possible by the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, which was established in 2018 with a $25-million gift to SF State. Jewish Studies Professor Kitty Millet was the inaugural winner last year.

Picture of Nona

The Bernice Ruben Arnold Scholarship

Thanks to an anonymous gift, the newly created $150,000 Bernice Ruben Arnold Scholarship Fund will award two $5,000 scholarships a year with preference to first-generation students in the Creative Writing Department’s MFA program, through the academic year 2025/26. 

Marcus Award Awardees

Marcus Early Career Research Award Helps Faculty Reach Finish Line

In its second year, the College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ Marcus Early Career Research Award will help five faculty members complete their book and film projects that explore social justice issues in the U.S. and abroad. Read about the winners and their projects.

Tonya M. Foster

Novelist Joseph Cassara and Poet Tonya M. Foster Join Faculty

San Francisco State University has named Joseph Cassara and Tonya M. Foster the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chairs in the Creative Writing department. Cassara, who most recently taught in the department of English at Fresno State University, joined San Francisco State as an assistant professor of creative writing. Foster most recently taught writing and literature at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. She is currently an assistant professor of poetry at SF State.

Dilena Takeyama Scholarship Recipient Recognized by CSU

Dilena Takeyama Scholarship Recipient Recognized by CSU

The California State University (CSU) recently recognized Madenokoji for rising above her traumatic experiences while achieving academic excellence and staying focused on social justice. She’s one of 23 CSU students to receive the CSU Trustee Award for Outstanding Achievement, the highest academic honor given annually by the CSU to students from each campus.

student reading at table

Marcus Scholar's Research Addresses Pressing Issues

A new donor-funded College of Liberal & Creative Arts research program provided opportunities for 15 undergraduates this year to dig deep into the world’s most debated, pressing issues: politics, race, mental health, veterans, climate change, bullying, sexuality and more. Working closely with faculty mentors throughout the entire year, students sharpened investigative skills and creative talents and helped build understanding on a range of issues.

Headshot of Professor Artel Great

Dr. Artel Great Writes About Black Cinema for The New Republic

Dr. Artel Great is the George & Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in African American Cinema Studies at San Francisco State University. His scholarly work delves into the intellectual history, critical discourse, and aesthetics of Black cinema and visual culture. His piece in The New Republic highlights the visionary efforts and extraordinary diversity of Black cinema long before the rise of Hollywood.

Mayuran Tiruchelvam, George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair

School of Cinema announces new George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chairs

San Francisco State University has named Artel Great and Mayuran Tiruchelvam the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chairs in the School of Cinema. They will join the University as assistant professors in cinema in the fall of 2020, bringing with them extensive backgrounds in both filmmaking and cinema scholarship.

Bailey exhibition with people attending

Professor Bailey Destroys Archival Research Images in the Name of Art, Ethics

Anthropology Professor Doug Bailey destroyed more than 1,200 transparencies from SF State archives, and he is proud of it. He culled 35-millimeter images from decades-old research projects that are now considered unethical — studies of ethnicity, sexuality, animal dissection and human reproduction — and soaked them in diluted sodium oxychloride.

Millet looking happy

Professor Millet Wins Marcus Transformative Research Award for Book on Kabbalah Literature

Millet joined SF State’s Department of Jewish Studies in 2004. Previously, she taught in the University’s Comparative and World Literatures Department. The Marcus Transformative Research Award is made possible by the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, established with a $25-million gift to SF State in 2018. The award helps tenured faculty pursue transformational research and professional development.

Faculty & Student Awardees

The George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts

In November, 2018 George Marcus (B.A., ’65) and Judy Otten Marcus (B.A., ’62) became the University's largest donors and lead supporters of the BOLD Thinking campaign. The Marcuses funded and established the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, a comprehensive gift to the College of Liberal and Creative Arts that includes four new endowed faculty chairs, support for student and faculty research, and program and facilities upgrades.

Faculty winner of Marcus Award

Three Faculty Members Win Marcus Early Career Research Award for 2020-2021

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ Marcus Early Career Research Award will help three faculty members complete research and creative work encompassing art, law and cinema studies.

The award, supported by the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, provides a one-semester leave during the 2020 – 2021 academic year. Probationary tenure-track faculty in their third, fourth or fifth year are eligible.

Artist Charlotte Beck develops cyanotype prints

Artist Explores Spiritual Themes in Recology Residency

Beck, who studied fine arts at San Francisco State University and graduated in December, was one of nine artists selected for Recology’s 2019 Artist in Residence (AIR) Program. Once a year, the program selects six professional artists and three art students from a pool of applicants. The artists receive a small stipend, studio space and access to materials — junk — that they’re expected to incorporate into their art and then exhibit in a final public showcase.

People viewing gallery space

Transformative Bequest to the School of Art

Richard J. Barry passed away in Alexandria, Virginia, on September 14, 2017, at the age of 82. He left the bulk of his estate to the Art Department, where his late wife Michie Barry earned her B.A. in Art in 1973. A small portion of the gift will be allocated for current-use while a large share will be placed in a quasi-endowment, with the School of Art projected to receive a significant annual payout in perpetuity.

Neda Nobari headshot

Neda Nobari Donates $1 Million to the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies

San Francisco State University announced that the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies received an additional $1 million from alumna and Iranian American philanthropist Neda Nobari (B.S., '84), building upon her generous gift of $5 million from June 2016 that established the first-of-its-kind center.

TESOL teacher and student

SF State Named One of the Top Five Feeder Schools for Prestigious Government Fellowship

San Francisco State University’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, is also one of the top programs producing U.S. State Department English Language Fellows (ELF). The ELF program turns 50 this year and as part of the milestone they’re recognizing five universities for continually producing fellows, colleges that will be given an award at a Nov. 5 birthday celebration in Washington, D.C.

Novelist Tommy Orange, award-winning author

Marcus Funds Support An Evening With Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange, author of the acclaimed novel “There There,” spoke with San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Carolina De Robertis in Knuth Hall Oct. 15. Orange was named 2019 Gina Berriault Award winner, a San Francisco State honor. The event was sponsored by the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts.

SF State's Forensics team celebrates recent win

SF State’s Forensics Debate Team Scores Major Wins

Forensics, San Francisco State University’s speech and debate team, scored major wins in this year’s fall season of competition. The team, part of the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, placed first in four events at the 11th Annual Golden Gate Season Opener debate match. The match is the largest intercollegiate forensics tournament in the Bay Area, and was hosted at SF State. In addition to the four first place wins, SF State students took home one 2nd place win and three 3rd place wins. 

Dennis O’Donnell teaching in the Broadcast & Electronic Communication Art Department's Television Sports Reporting class

KPIX Anchor Dennis O'Donnell Returns to SF State to Teach Sports Reporting

This fall, Dennis O’Donnell appeared on air on San Francisco State University’s student radio station for the first time in decades. The broadcast journalist and San Francisco State Alumni Hall of Famer, a fixture on the Bay Area airwaves for four decades, sat behind a KSFS microphone alongside students as they all gave their takes on the day’s top sports stories.

Carved polar bears in the Global Museum's Climate Stories exhibit

Global Museum Opens Virtual Climate Stories Show

Climate Stories, originally a live exhibit in the museum's galleries on campus, explores the impacts of climate change on indigenous communities across the globe, and highlights actions which combat climate change that are being taken now, including on the SF State campus. Divided into four themes (connections to the ocean, relationships with wildlife, the power of plants, and adapting tradition), this exhibition reveals ways that communities are responding and adapting to changes in both culture and environment.

Mai-Lee Chai

Marcus Funds Awardee Wins American Book Award

Useful Phrases for Immigrants is a collection of short stories showing how Chinese families in China and America navigate changing economic and cultural circumstances by creating an environment for empathy instead of fear. It also won the Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman.

The 2019 cohort of undergraduate Marcus Research Awards winners

George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts

A panel of faculty experts chose Maga and nine other fellows for the inaugural awards, with projects including a documentary on transgender representation in film, a photography exhibit about climate change and an ethnographic study of the veteran experience at SF State. Students will work closely with faculty mentors over the coming academic year to complete their projects and then present them in some fashion at the end of the Spring semester. 

The 48th annual Northern California Emmy Awards

BECA Wins Prestigious Award at 2019 Northern California Emmys

The Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) Department received the Governors’ Award at the 48th annual Northern California Emmy Awards, held June 8 in San Francisco. The award is the highest honor a chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) can give.

The Marcuses taking a picture

George and Judy Marcus Donate Over $28 Million to SF State

On November 26th, 2018, San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong announced a $25 million gift from alumni George (B.A., ’65) and Judy Otten Marcus (B.A., ’62) as part of the University’s BOLD Thinking campaign. The newly established George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, in combination with the Marcus’ recent $1.8 million donation to SF State Athletics Scholarships, comprise the largest gift in the University’s history. 

Participants in a conflict management workshop

Linda & Frank Kurz: Inspiring Understanding Through Sponsoring Conflict Management at SF State

In 2017 Frank and Linda attended a large SF State event called “Collaboration Through Differences: Campus Dialogue”. The event was organized by Professor Victoria Chen of the Communication Studies Department, in partnership with the 80 students enrolled in her class “Dialogue Across Difference”. Moved by the positive approach towards managing conflict that they saw in this event, they began talking with Professor Chen about creating smaller intensive workshops for students on campus.

Panelists discussing research of Iranian diaspora

'Forty Years and More': Landmark Conference at SF State Explores Iranian Diaspora

Forty Years and More: International Conference on Iranian Diaspora Studies, hosted by the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies from March 28 to March 30, marked the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. Presentations and panel discussions investigated the ways that Iranians as exiles, immigrants and as second- and -third-generation “hyphenated” citizens of their respective nations have met with both challenges and opportunities.

Forrest Gander, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Forrest Gander (M.A., 1981) Wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Alumnus Forrest Gander (M.A., 1981) has won the ($15,000) Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author— "Be With" published by New Directions. 

Len Hayes, scholarship recipient

Scholarship recipient Len Haynes’ song makes Oceans 8 soundtrack

A Southern California native in his early 50s, Haynes has played in different bands over the years and released several records between the 1990s and mid-2000s. He’s also worked as a recording engineer and producer for a recording studio in Hollywood. Some of the noteworthy artists he’s worked with include New Wave legend Gary Numan, DJ Me DJ You and Lydia Lunch. He’s also performed with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind and Can member Damo Suzuki.

picture of Grace, the winner

Scholarship Recipient Animation Artist Grace Villaroman Lands Pixar Internship

Grace Villaroman was born and raised in Anaheim, or as some like to call it, “Oh that place where Disneyland is?” She rarely goes to the legendary theme park, but she just started an internship at Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios in the East Bay.

She is San Francisco State’s first Pixar intern since Jonas Rivera (B.A., Cinema, ’96), the studio’s first-ever intern and now an Academy Award-winning producer (Inside/Out).

Seira Yasumatsu, third place winner of International Design Contest

Student Seira Yasumatsu Wins Third Place in International Design Contest

Yasumatsu was honored April 17 for the portable workbench and rest device she designed for gardeners. Named Grow and Gather, it helps to facilitate community gardening for people of all ages and abilities. It takes the form of a movable cart that incorporates support for walking and sitting, storage for tools and a design that allows gardeners to configure the cart to their own needs.

Parent and child

Matching grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation will support LGBTQ film

San Francisco State University’s Queer Cinema Project (QCP), a program that encourages the production, study and promotion of queer cinema, has received a generous $25,000 grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that advances social justice through supporting works in journalism, the arts, the environment, documentary film and more.