San Francisco State University

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San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University Seal.jpg
Former names
San Francisco State Normal School (1899–1921)
San Francisco State Teachers College (1921–35)
San Francisco State College (1935–72)
California State University, San Francisco (1972-74)
Motto Experientia Docet (Latin)
Motto in English
"Experience Teaches"
Type Public research university
Established 1899
Endowment $72.2 million (2016)[1]
President Leslie E. Wong
Academic staff
1,620 (Fall, 2013)[2]
Administrative staff
Students 29,045 (Fall 2016)[4]
Undergraduates 25,891 (Fall 2016)[4]
Postgraduates 3,154 (Fall 2016)[4]
Location San Francisco, California, United States
Campus Urban, 141.1 acres (57.1 ha)[5]
Colors Purple and Gold[6]
Athletics NCAA Division IICCAA
Nickname Gators
Mascot Gator
Affiliations California State University
SFState Logo.png

San Francisco State University (commonly referred to as San Francisco State, SF State and SFSU) is a public research university located in San Francisco, California, United States. As part of the 23-campus California State University system, the university offers 118 different Bachelor's degrees, 94 Master's degrees, 5 Doctoral degrees including two Doctor of Education, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Ph.D in Education and Doctor of Physical Therapy Science, along with 26 teaching credentials among six academic colleges.[5][7][8]


  • 1899 – Founded as San Francisco State Normal School.
  • 1901 – First graduating class
  • 1906 – The 1906 earthquake and fire forces the school to relocate from Nob Hill to a new campus at Buchanan and Haight Streets.
  • 1921 – Renamed San Francisco State Teachers College
  • 1923 – First bachelor of arts degree awarded
  • 1935 – Renamed San Francisco State College
  • 1953 – Current campus near Lake Merced opens; it is formally dedicated in October, 1954.
  • 1966 – Beginning of the era of campus protests led by student organizations including the Black Students Union, Third World Liberation Front, and Students for a Democratic Society. The protests against college policies and off-campus issues such as the Vietnam War included sit-ins, rallies, marches, teach-ins, and on several occasions violent conflicts with police. The protests were marked by counter-protests and widespread charges of corruption and election fraud in the student newspaper.
  • 1968 – A lengthy student strike erupted that developed into an important event in the history of the U.S. in the late 1960s. The strike was led by the Black Student Union and the Third World Liberation Front, and it demanded an Ethnic Studies program as well as an end to the Vietnam War. This became a major news event for weeks in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. At one point, University president S.I. Hayakawa famously pulled the wires out of the speakers on top of a van at a student rally. During the course of the strike, large numbers of police drawn from many jurisdictions occupied the campus and over 700 people were arrested on various protest-related charges.
  • 1969 – On March 20, an agreement was reached, and the strike officially comes to an end with the administration retaining control of hiring and admissions and the creation of the School (now College) of Ethnic Studies.
  • 1972 – Received university status as California State University, San Francisco
  • 1974 – Renamed San Francisco State University
  • 1975 - Cesar Chavez Student Center opened its doors to students
  • 1993 – Downtown campus opened
  • 1999 – Celebrated 100th birthday[9]
  • 2007 – New Downtown Campus opened at 835 Market Street


Cesar Chavez Student Center

In Fall of 2013, the university had 1,620 faculty, of which 683 (or 42 percent) were on the tenure track.[2]

The university's academic colleges are:

  • Liberal & Creative Arts
  • Business
  • Education
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Health and Social Sciences
  • Science and Engineering

In addition, the university has a College of Extended Learning.

SF State is on the semester system.

The university awards bachelor's degrees in 115 areas of specialization, master's degrees in 97, and a doctor of education (Ed.D.) in educational leadership. It jointly offers three doctoral programs; a doctorate in education in partnership with University of California, Berkeley with a concentration in special education, and two doctorates in physical therapy with University of California, San Francisco.

SFSU ranks 18th among the top 20 undergraduate schools whose alumni go on to be admitted to the State Bar; many subsequently run for public office.[10]

The Cinema department, in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, was named one of the nation's "top film schools" by Entertainment Weekly in 2000.[11]


Fall Freshman Statistics[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

  2016 2015 2014 2013
Freshman Applicants 36,223 35,122 31,963 34,930
Admits 24,704 23,841 21,087 20,889
 % Admitted 68.1 67.8 65.9 59.8
Enrolled 3,531 4,081 3,630 3,550
GPA 3.22 3.23 3.22 3.19
SAT Composite 975 975 990 995
ACT Composite 21 21 21 21
*SAT out of 1600

The university is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, a subgroup of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[19] The College of Business is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). The college of engineering is accredited by the ABET except the computer engineering program.


SFSU Campus JPL Library

San Francisco State was ranked the 24th top college in the United States by Payscale and CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index college rankings.[20] The university is currently ranked as the 50th best master's-granting university in the Western United States by U.S. News & World Report[21] U.S. News & World Report also ranks San Francisco State University 1st in reputation among its "Western University peers" in 2000.[22][23] Among Western Universities, of which there are 112, San Francisco State was ranked 10th in terms of campus diversity by USNWR.[23] Furthermore, U.S. News & World Report ranks San Francisco State as 8th nationally in the number of transfer students.[23]

San Francisco State University's joint physical therapy master's program with UCSF is consistently ranked among the top 20 in the country.[24] The Philosophical Gourmet Report lists San Francisco State University as one of the top eight universities to earn a terminal MA in philosophy.[25] SFSU is listed as having "one of the nation's top film schools" by "Entertainment Weekly" having produced countless leading filmmakers.[26] The Academy of Management, the leading professional association for management scholars in the world, honored San Francisco State University's College of Business' Ohrenschall Center for Entrepreneurship with the McGraw-Hill/Irwin Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award (2002).[26] The University's College of Extended Learning offers the only American Bar Association-approved paralegal studies program in San Francisco.[26] SFSU was one of the first California State University campuses to offer a doctorate of education. It was also instrumental in the establishment of the International University Of Kyrgyzstan (1993).[26] The University is the only one in California to offer a bachelor's degree in technical and professional writing.[26]


Demographics of student body - Fall 2014[27]
African American 5.5%
Asian American 34.8%
Caucasian American 25.5%
Hispanic American 25.3%
Native American 0.4%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1.5%
Two or More Races 6.9%

In 1968, what was then the longest student strike in the nation's history[28] resulted in establishment of a College of Ethnic Studies and increased recruiting and admissions of students of color. In 2002 there was much tension between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students.[29]

Campus buildings[edit]

Student Union Building

Residence buildings, communities, and services[edit]

  • City Eats Dining Center (DC)[30][31]
  • Mary Park Hall (MPH)[32]
  • Mary Ward Hall (MWH)[32]
  • Science and Technology Theme Community (STTC)[33]
  • The Towers at Centennial Square (TCS)[34]
  • The Village at Centennial Square (VCS)[35]
  • University Park North (UPN)[36]
  • University Park South (UPS)[37]
  • Humanities building (HM)

A dormitory building, Verducci Hall, was imploded in 1999.[38]

Conference facilities[edit]

  • Seven Hills Conference Center[39]
  • Towers Conference Center[40]
  • Downtown Campus[41]


The school's intercollegiate athletics teams, nicknamed the Gators, compete in NCAA Division II and are a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (wrestling competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). SF State fields twelve sports (men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, men's wrestling, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, baseball, and softball).

SF State has produced three major league baseball players, of which two became All-Stars (former Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson, and former Brewers and Red Sox outfielder Tommy Harper). The soccer program has had one player enter the professional ranks. Jared MacLane played in the Professional First Division in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

The Gators have also produced thirteen National Football League players, including Billy Baird, Elmer Collett, Maury Duncan, Carl Kammerer, Douglas Parrish, and Floyd Peters. Mike Holmgren got his collegiate coaching start as the team's Offensive Coordinator in 1981. The football program ended in 1995.

SF State Wrestling scored at a National Championship meet every year from 1963–64 to 2016-17[42]. In 1996-97, the Gators won the NCAA Division II National Championship.


The school first adopted their mascot, the Gator, in 1931. After a call for a mascot by the student newspaper the Bay Leaf, students suggested the "alligator" for its strength and steadfastness. The students also suggested the spelling "Golden Gaters," with an "e," in reference to the Golden Gate. Students voted in favor of the name, but after numerous "misspellings" by the newspaper, the use of Gator, with an "o," stuck.[43][44]


Controversies include:

  • A near-riot occurred on May 7, 2002, when a pro-Palestinian group attended a pro-Israel demonstration on campus. The pro-Israel students say that the Palestinian supporters chanted anti-semitic epithets at them, such as "Hitler should have finished the job." The pro-Palestinian group say the pro-Israelis started the conflict by calling them terrorists and using epithets such as "camel jockey." No violence occurred, but campus and city police were called in to defuse the situation.[45]
  • In 1994 a mural depicting Malcolm X was painted on the student union building, commissioned by the Pan-African Student Union and African Student Alliance. The mural's border contained yellow Stars of David and dollar signs mingled with skulls and crossbones and near the words "African Blood." The next week, after demonstrations on both sides, the school administration had the mural painted over, and subsequently sand blasted.[46] Two years later a new Malcolm X mural was painted, without the controversial symbols.[47]
  • On March 28, 2016, an African American student accosted a Caucasian student on the basis that he styled his hair in dreadlocks and accused him of cultural appropriation. The event, captured by cell phone video, spread on social media and news agencies. The university stated that it was aware of the incident and was conducting a full investigation.[48][49]

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2016. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2015 to FY 2016" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2017. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ SF State Facts 2006-2007: Faculty & Staffs, San Francisco State University
  4. ^ a b c "Total Enrollment by Sex and Student Level, Fall 2016". The California State University. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b SF State Facts 2009–2010, San Francisco State University
  6. ^ "Color System | Identity System Guidelines". 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  7. ^ "Search CSU Degrees". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  8. ^ "California State University Credential Programs : 2013-2014" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  9. ^ Hoover, Ken (March 21, 1999). "1899–1999 `100 Years of Opportunity' A century and 185,020 degrees after its humble beginnings, San Francisco State University proudly celebrates its legacy of service, activism and diversity". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications. pp. SC–1. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  10. ^ "San Francisco impact report". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ Entertainment Weekly – Top Showbiz Schools – 11-17-00 at the Wayback Machine (archived February 11, 2001)
  12. ^ "2016-2017 Common Data Set" (PDF). Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  13. ^ "Common Data Set 2013-2014" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  14. ^ "2015-2016 Common Data Set" (PDF). Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  15. ^ "Data Book - Academic Planning and Development - SF State". 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  16. ^ "Common Data Set 2012-2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  17. ^ "CSU APPLICATIONS AND ADMISSIONS REPORTS, FALL 2012". 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  18. ^ "Fall Applications for admission Submitted via CSU Mentor : Initial Application Filing Period" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  19. ^ "SF State WASC Accreditation". 
  20. ^ "Social Mobility Index". Social Mobility Index. CollegeNet and PayScale. 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  21. ^ "San Francisco State University | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  22. ^ "U.S. News & World Reports Ranks San Francisco State University Top in Reputation Among Peers". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c "SF State News". August 25, 2003. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Best Physical Therapy Programs | Top Physical Therapy Schools |US News Best Graduate Schools". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  25. ^ "Philosophical Gourmet Report". Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c d e "Programs - San Francisco State University". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  27. ^ "SF State Facts 2014-2015". San Francisco State University, University Communications. Fall 2014. 
  28. ^ "SFSU Centennial history". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  29. ^ "SFSU's Response to Pro-Israel – Pro-Palestine Tensions on Campus << SF State News << San Francisco State University". February 21, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Welcome to DineOnCampus at San Francisco State University by Chartwells Higher Education". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Dining Center – SF State University Property Management". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  32. ^ a b "Mary Park and Mary Ward Residence Halls – SF State University Property Management". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Science and Technology Theme Community – SF State University Property Management". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Towers at Centennial Square – SF State University Property Management". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Village at Centennial Square – SF State University Property Management". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  36. ^ University Park North at the Wayback Machine (archived June 3, 2008)
  37. ^ University Park South at the Wayback Machine (archived February 20, 2009)
  38. ^ Levy, Dan (1999-03-29). "Old Dorm Reduced To Dust / Thousands watch implosion at S.F. State". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  39. ^ "Meeting and Conference Facilities- Seven Hills – SF State University Property Management". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Meeting and Conference Facilities-Towers – SF State University Property Management". Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  41. ^ "Sf State Downtown Campus". February 11, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  42. ^ "WRE | Season concludes at NCAA Regionals". SF State Athletics. Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  43. ^ SFSU Centennial History, San Francisco State University
  44. ^ "Mascot - SFSU" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  45. ^ St. John, Kelly (October 10, 2010). "SFSU studies rally tapes for misconduct / Pro-Israel students clashed with supporters of Palestinians". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  46. ^ "Malcolm X Mural Is Marred Amid Dispute on Its Content". The New York Times. May 22, 1994. 
  47. ^ [1] Archived April 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  48. ^ "San Francisco State University statement in response to on-campus incident". San Francisco State University. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  49. ^ Borrello, Stevie (March 30, 2016). "University to Investigate After Video Shows Female Student Confronting Male Student for His Dreadlocks". ABC News. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°43′24″N 122°28′47″W / 37.72333°N 122.47972°W / 37.72333; -122.47972