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San Francisco State University

Coordinates: 37°43′24″N 122°28′47″W / 37.72333°N 122.47972°W / 37.72333; -122.47972
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San Francisco State University
Former name
San Francisco State Normal School (1899–1921)
San Francisco State Teachers College (1921–1935)
San Francisco State College (1935–1972)
California State University, San Francisco (1972–1974)
MottoExperientia Docet (Latin)
Motto in English
"Experience Teaches"
TypePublic research university
Established1899; 125 years ago (1899)
Parent institution
California State University
Academic affiliation
Endowment$161.4 million (2022-23)[1]
Budget$354.6 million (2023)[2]
PresidentLynn Mahoney
ProvostAmy Sueyoshi
Academic staff
1,822 (2023) [3]
Administrative staff
2074 (2023) [3]
Students23,700 (2023)[3]
Undergraduates20,673 (2023)[3]
Postgraduates2746 (2023)[3]
Location, ,
United States
CampusLarge city, 141.1 acres (57.1 ha)[4]
Other campuses
NewspaperGolden Gate Xpress
ColorsPurple and gold[5]
Sporting affiliations
Official nameSan Francisco State Teacher's College
Reference no.N2378[6]

San Francisco State University (San Francisco State, SF State and SFSU) is a public research university in San Francisco. It was established in 1899 as the San Francisco State Normal School and is part of the California State University system.

It offers 121 bachelor's degree programs, 106 master's degree programs, and 3 doctoral degree programs, along with 23 teaching credential programs among seven colleges.[7][8][9] The 144.1-acre main campus is located in the southwest part of the city, less than two miles from the Pacific coast.[10] The university has 12 varsity athletic teams which compete at the NCAA Division II level.

SF State is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity."[11] It is also a designated Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander serving institution (AANAPISI).[12]


Graduating class, State Normal School at San Francisco, June 1906

19th Century


In 1857, the San Francisco Board of Education created the San Francisco Weekly Normal School,[13][14] also known as the Minns' Evening Normal School.[15] In 1862, it became the California State Normal School, the first postsecondary institution established by the state.[14] Only six students were enrolled on its first day. By 1866, enrollment had increased to 384.[16]

In 1867, the principal of Girls' High School and Normal School, Ellis Holmes, realized that the California State Normal School was not meeting the demand for teachers. The city approved the addition of a new year-long teacher-training program to his high school's curriculum, for girls who wanted to pursue a career in education. This program is what would eventually become San Francisco State University. When the California State Normal School was moved to San José in 1871, Girls' High became the only publicly-supported teacher-training institution.[16]

In 1895, the teaching program was split from the school and became San Francisco City Normal School.[16] Due to a lack of funding, the school closed in 1898.[13] A group of teachers, students, and supporters pressured the California State Legislature to convert it into a state-funded institution.[16]

On March 22, 1899,[17] the California State Legislature approved the creation of the San Francisco State Normal School, with an appropriation of $10,000. Frederic Lister Burk was appointed as the first president and chose the school's motto, Experientia Docet.[18] The school rented[16] space in a building on Powell Street between Clay and Sacramento Streets and 31 women were enrolled in the first year.[19][20]

20th Century


The 1906 earthquake and fire forced the school to relocate from Nob Hill to a temporary campus at the Grant School in Oakland.[20] Ten days after the earthquake, President Burk found a new site for the school at a property bound by Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets.[16][21]

In 1921, the school began offering Bachelor's degree options and was renamed San Francisco State Teachers College.[16][22] Teachers Colleges in California received authorization to grant Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1923.[14]

In 1924, construction for new buildings started on vacant land at the school's site. The campus consisted of four Spanish Colonial Revival style buildings designed by George McDougall, a California state architect.[23][24]

In the 1930s, overcrowding became an issue at the campus. It had been designed for 1500 students, but had to accommodate about 3000. In 1938, students rallied for a new campus with non-wooden buildings, due to fears from the city's earthquake and fire in 1906.[25][20] By 1939, land near Lake Merced had been acquired to build a new campus, but plans were paused due to World War II. Many students took part in the war, causing enrollment to decline.[26]

During the 1920s and '30s, State Teachers Colleges expanded beyond being only vocational schools to train teachers. They were formally authorized to offer four-year liberal arts curriculums and renamed State Colleges in 1935.[27] So, the school became known as San Francisco State College.[22]

In 1949, master's degrees were authorized to be offered.[10]

San Francisco State College became part of the California State College system established under the Donahoe Higher Education Act in 1960.[16] Dumke resigned to become the system's vice chancellor for academic affairs, before becoming the second chancellor of the system for 20 years.

In Fall 1965, the Experimental College was started by students Cynthia Carlson, Donna Michaelson, Sharon Gold, and James Nixon, in an effort to teach untraditionally. In 1927, over 2000 students enrolled in courses offered by the Experimental College.[16] The original Experimental College stopped operating after 1969.[28]

On November 6, 1967, James Vaszko, the campus editor of the Gater, the student newspaper at the time, was assaulted by members of the Black Student Union.[29] This event became known as the Gater Incident.[30][31]

In 1967, 1968, and 1969, there were many demonstrations, including the Third World Liberation Front strike at SF State, longest student strike in American history, which lasted from November 6, 1968 to March 20, 1969.

Also in 1969, Richard Oakes led a group of SF State students in the occupation of Alcatraz Island[20] And a 763-bed, 15-story dorm building, Verducci Hall, was built near Lake Merced Boulevard.[26]

In 1972, the State Colleges system was designated "The California State University and Colleges." As a result, SF State was renamed California State University, San Francisco.[14] This name was not popular with students, and the university was soon renamed San Francisco State University in 1974.[16]

Cesar Chavez Student Center

President Romberg secured a permanent federal lease for 25 acres of shoreline in Tiburon for just $1 in 1978.[32] The Romberg Tiburon Campus would eventually expand to 53 acres.

In 1983, Chia-Wei Woo became the 11th president of the university. Woo was the first Chinese-American to head a major American university.[33]

After suffering damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Verducci Hall was permanently closed.[26][34]

On May 14, 1985, a pipe bomb in a purse was found in the Business/Ethnic Studies Building (now Business Building).[35][36] A US Army bomb disposal team removed it.[37]

In 1993, the College of Extended Learning (now College of Global and Professional Education) opened the Downtown Center in San Francisco's Multimedia Gulch, at 425 Market St.[16][38]

On March 28, 1999, construction began on the Village at Centennial Square, a low-rise, mixed-use complex. The same day, Verducci Hall was imploded after it sustained damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and sat vacant for a decade.[34]

21st Century


In 2007, the Downtown Campus was opened at 835 Market Street, with nearly 47,000 square feet of classroom space in Westfield San Francisco Centre.[39]

The first Rhythms Music Festival happened in March 2011.[40] The annual music festival is held in a building known as the Annex.[41]

In 2013, the Science Building was found to have "unsafe levels" of airborne mercury, lead and asbestos in the basement. Over $3.6 million was spent for remediation of the pervasive contamination. University administration terminated several employees who reported the contamination, resulting in several wrongful termination and whistle-blower lawsuits, including one by the recently hired director. In July 2014, Cal/OSHA cited the university for various health and safety violations in the Science Building, which included SFSU failing to locate asbestos in the building and warn employees about the hazards of mercury.[42][43]

In March 2016, a video of a student being attacked for having dreadlocks went viral and sparked discussions about cultural appropriation.[44][45]

Hundreds of students walked out and rallied at SF State's Malcolm X Plaza on October 25, 2023.

In response to the College of Ethnic Studies being underfunded since 2008, four students held a ten-day hunger strike from May 2–11, 2016, resulting in one hospitalization. The strike ended when President Leslie Wong agreed to commit nearly $500,000 to the college and meet a portion of their demands.[46]

The Experimental College was revived in Fall 2017. One-unit courses are created and taught by students.[28][47]

Also in 2017, a group of Jewish students and local residents accused SFSU of encouraging antisemitism and excluding Jewish student pro-Israel activist groups from campus activities.[48][49][50] The students filed two lawsuits focusing on the disruption of a speech by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat in 2016. One suit was dismissed and the other was settled.

In May 2019, Lynn Mahoney became the first woman to become president of SF State in a permanent capacity.[51] Mary Ward had served as an acting president in the summer of 1927, after the death of Archibald Anderson.[52]

On September 23, 2020, SFSU faculty Rabab Abdulhadi and Tomomi Kinukawa hosted a discussion on Zoom titled "Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, and Resistance."[53] The event's speakers included Leila Khaled, a Palestinian political activist and plane hijacker. Zoom and YouTube canceled the broadcast due to Khaled's history of violent actions towards civilians. Facebook also removed a page for the event.[54][55][56] President Mahoney wrote a letter about the incident. A second event titled "Whose Narratives? What Free Speech for Palestine?" was scheduled for April 23, 2021, and was also blocked.[57][58]

In 2022, the new Downtown Campus opened on the fifth floor of 160 Spear St., replacing the Downtown Campus at 835 Market Street.[59]

On April 6, 2023, former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines visited SFSU for a Turning Point USA student chapter event and spoke publicly about her campaign against transgender athletes in women's sports.[60][61] This sparked a protest.[62][60] After the event, Gaines said she had been struck during the protest.[63][62]

The encampment at SF State on May 3, 2024. It started on April 29 and lasted to May 15.

In September, October, and November, students and staff held numerous demonstrations in response to the 2023 Israel–Hamas War, tuition increases, layoffs, and budget cuts.[64][65][66][67]

SFSU faculty members participated in a strike led by the California Faculty Association across the CSU system on January 22, 2024.[68][69][70] Faculty had held earlier demonstrations in an effort to prevent layoffs and receive a 12% raise.[71][72]

About 500 people attended a rally on April 29, calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. After the rally, some protestors began an encampment, following protests and encampments at universities in other parts of the United States and in other countries.[73][74]

The encampment ended on May 15 after protestors reached a divestment agreement with university leaders.[75]


  • 1901 – First graduating class consisting of 36 women.[20][10]
  • 1923 – First Bachelor of Arts degree awarded[10]
  • 1930 – Became four-year school[4]
  • 1929 – Grace Hackett became the first known African-American to graduate from the school[20]
  • 1949 – Master's degree first offered[10]
  • 1972 – Received university status
  • 1974 – Renamed San Francisco State University[22]
  • 1975 – Cesar Chavez Student Center opened its doors to students[16]
  • 1983 – Chia-Wei Woo became the first Chinese-American to head a major American university[33][76]
  • 1999 – Celebrated 100th anniversary[77]
  • 2019 – Lynn Mahoney became the university's first female president in a permanent capacity[78]



San Francisco State University is part of the California State University system. The CSU is governed by a 25-member Board of Trustees who oversee the system's chancellor.[79] The president of SF State reports to the chancellor and oversees six cabinet units. Cabinet units collaborate via 13 committees and work in conjunction with three semi-independent 501(c)(3) organizations that support the university.[80] Each cabinet, except the Office of the President, is led by a vice president.[81] The vice president of Academic Affairs is also university's provost and oversees 15 administrative units, including the university's seven colleges. Each college is led by a dean and consists of departments, led by department chairs, and schools, led by directors.[82] Departments and schools are at the same administrative level.




San Francisco State University's library

The university operates on a semester calendar. Students generally enroll in courses during the fall and spring semesters, but courses are also offered during the summer semester and winter session.[90] Winter courses are not eligible for financial aid.[91]

The university has a four-year graduation rate of 49% and a six-year graduation rate of 55%.[92][93] The student-faculty ratio at SFSU was 22.7:1 in Fall 2023.[94]

As of 2024, the university has 1,822 instructional faculty comprising 807 (43%) tenured or tenure-track faculty and 1039 lecturers (57%).[10]



The university's seven colleges are:

  • College of Liberal & Creative Arts[95]
  • Lam Family College of Business[96]
  • College of Ethnic Studies[97]
  • College Health and Social Sciences[98]
  • College of Science and Engineering[99]
  • Graduate College of Education[100]
  • College of Professional & Global Education (formerly College of Extended Learning)[101]

Undergraduate programs


SFSU offers 121 bachelor's degree programs across its seven colleges.[7]

The most popular undergraduate majors are Business Administration, Biology, Kinesiology, Engineering, English, Communication Studies, Psychology, Criminal Justice Studies, Sociology, and Cinema.[102]

The College of Health and Social Sciences also offers accelerated Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing in partnership with the City College of San Francisco and College of San Mateo.[103]

Blended master's programs


SFSU offers 34 blended bachelor's and master's degree programs, called San Francisco State Scholars programs.[104] The programs provide students an accelerated path to a graduate degree by allowing students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior years.

Graduate and professional programs


The university offers 105 master's degree programs across six colleges: College of Liberal & Creative Arts, Lam Family College of Business, College of Ethnic Studies, College Health and Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, and Graduate College of Education.[105]

The Graduate College of Education offers two doctoral programs: Ph.D in special education, in partnership with University of California, Berkeley and Ed.D in Educational Leadership.[106] The College of Health and Social Sciences offers a DPT program in partnership with University of California, San Francisco. The Graduate College of Education also offers 22 teaching credential programs.[9]

Other academic programs


Experimental College


The original Experimental College, known as E.C., was created in 1965 and lasted until 1969. The revived Experimental College, known as EXCO, allows students to create curriculums and teach one-unit courses about any topic.[28] It is similar to Oberlin College's ExCo program and University of California, Berkeley's DeCal program. Recent course offerings include BDSM 101, Lucid Dreaming, Adventures in SF, Thematic Analysis of Studio Ghibli Films, and United States Foster System.[107][108] EXCO is part of the Department of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning.[109][110]

Open University


People without formal admission to the university can enroll in undergraduate or graduate courses on a space available basis, through the College of Professional & Global Education's Open University program. Up to undergraduate 24 units can be applied towards a bachelor's degree or six units towards a master's degree at SF State. The program costs $395 per unit and is open to everybody except SFSU students. This includes high school students, community college students, and international students. This program is the university's concurrent enrollment program.[111]



ElderCollege is a noncredit program provided by the College of Professional & Global Education that allows people aged 50 and older to sit in on courses on a space-available basis, with the approval of an instructor. There are no official records of enrollment, attendance, or grades as ElderCollege students participate only for their personal benefit.[112] ElderCollege students are expected to attend regularly and participate, but are not expected to take exams or write papers.[113]

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute


SFSU's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI, was founded in 2003. OLLIs are education organizations for older adults that are operated independently. SFSU's OLLI provides six-week courses and "mini courses" intended for people 50 and older, but people under 50 may join.[114][115] The courses are not for credit. OLLI does not use SFSU's semester calendar and has its own five-session academic calendar in which six-week courses are taught; the sessions are spring, summer, late summer, fall, and winter.[116] Membership is required to attend six-week courses, while mini courses are open to non-members. Mini courses consist of one to three class meetings and are offered six months per year: January, March, May, July, September, and December.[117][116] Courses are not taught at the main campus, and instead are available over Zoom and in person at SFSU's Downtown Campus.[114] OLLI also offers interest groups and social events.[118]



The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.[119] The College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).[120] The School of Engineering is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).[121]

Admissions and enrollment


In Fall 2023, SFSU's total enrollment was 23,700. This included 21,868 undergraduate students and 3,027 postgraduate students (2,746 graduate students and 281 earning second baccalaureate degrees).[10] 96% of undergraduate students enrolled at the university in 2022 were California residents.[122]

SFSU uses Cal State Apply, the centralized application system for all 23 CSU campuses. There is a $70 fee per application, but fee waivers are available.[123]

The university does not use school rank, personal statements and essays, letters of recommendation, legacy status, or standardized test scores in the admissions process.[124]

Fall Admissions Data
  2023 2022 2021 2020[125] 2019[126] 2018[127] 2017[128] 2016[129] 2015[130] 2014 2013
Applicants 31,924 30,966 27,777 31,429 34,631 35,605 34,521 36,220 35,121 31,963 34,929
Admits 28,719 28,180 25,782 26,431 23,310 25,550 24,327 24,703 23,841 21,088 20,889
Admit rate 90% 91% 92.8% 84.1% 67.3% 71.8% 70.5% 68.2% 67.9% 66% 59.8%
Enrolled 2,984 3,339 3,148 2,779 3,689 4,286 4,323 3,570 4,259 3,751 3,611
Yield rate 10.6% 11.8% 12.2% 10.5% 15.8% 16.8% 17.8% 14.5% 17.9% 17.8% 17.3%
Average GPA N/A N/A N/A 3.31 3.30 3.26 3.20 3.22 3.23 N/A N/A

Rankings and distinctions


In 2020, SFSU was ranked the 19th top university in the United States by PayScale and CollegeNET's Social Mobility Index university rankings.[138] In 2022, the Philosophical Gourmet Report listed San Francisco State University as one of the top eight universities to earn a terminal MA in philosophy.[139] SFSU was one of the first California State University campuses to offer a doctorate of education. The university is the only one in California to offer a bachelor's degree in technical and professional writing.[140] It is also the only university in the California State University system to offer a master's degree in Classics.[141]

The Cinema Department, in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, was named one of the world's best film schools by Variety in 2019.[142] SFSU was also listed as one of the nation's top 25 film schools by The Hollywood Reporter, having produced many leading filmmakers, with over 13 Academy Award wins among its alumni.[143][144]

The Sutro Library houses the largest collection of genealogical records west of Salt Lake City.[145]


Undergraduate demographics as of Fall 2022[122]
Race and ethnicity Total
Hispanic 38% 38
Asian 24% 24
White 15% 15
Other[a] 10% 10
Black 6% 6
Foreign national 4% 4
Pacific Islander 1% 1
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 48% 48
Affluent or middle-class[c] 52% 52

In 2021, SFSU was ranked fifth for diversity nationwide and third for diversity in the western U.S. by the Wall Street Journal.[146][147]

SFSU has the second largest Asian and Filipino American enrollment percentage in the CSU system.[148]

Main campus


San Francisco State University's 144.1-acre main campus is located in the southwest part of San Francisco.[10] To its north are Lowell High School and Stonestown Galleria. Parkmerced is south of the campus. 19th Avenue is to its east and Lake Merced and TPC Harding Park are to its west.[149]

Construction began on the site in the 1940s.

The campus has several brutalist buildings as well as modern architecture.[150][151]

88.5% of the university's students commute to the campus.[152] The university has a reputation for having many commuter students due to a lack of student housing on campus and San Francisco's high cost of living.[153][154]

It is served by several public transit lines.[155]

The campus is under the jurisdiction of San Francisco State's University Police Department.[156]

The university uses abbreviations to refer to buildings and locations at the campus.[157]

Academic buildings[157]

Business Building
  • Burk Hall (BH)
  • Business (BUS)
  • Creative Arts (CA)
  • Ethnic Studies & Psychology (EP)
  • Fine Arts (FA)
  • Health & Social Sciences (HSS)
  • Hensill Hall (HH)
  • Humanities (HUM)
  • Liberal and Creative Arts (LCA)
  • J. Paul Leonard Library (LIB)
  • Science (SCI)
  • Science & Engineering Innovation Center (Under construction)[158]
  • Sutro Library (in LIB)
  • Thornton Hall (TH)
  • Marcus Hall (MH)

Residence buildings, communities, and services[157]

The Village at Centennial Square is one of San Francisco State University's housing communities.
  • City Eats Dining Center (DC)[159][160]
  • Manzanita Square (MZS)[161]
  • Mary Park Hall (MPH)[162]
  • Mary Ward Hall (MWH)[162]
  • Towers Junior Suites (TJS)[163]
  • The Towers at Centennial Square (TCS)[164]
  • The Village at Centennial Square (VCS)[165]
  • University Park North (UPN)[166]
  • University Park South (UPS)[167]
  • West Campus Green Residential Building (Under construction)[168]

Conference and event facilities[157]

  • Seven Hills Conference Center[169]
  • Student Life Events Center/Annex I (SLEC)[170]
  • Towers Conference Center (TCONF)[171]

Student and administrative services[157]

Inside Cesar Chavez Student Center
  • Administration (ADM)
  • Cesar Chavez Student Center (CCSC)[172]
  • Corporation Yard (CYD)
  • Gator Health Center (Under construction)[168]
  • Early Childhood Education Center (formerly Child Care Center) (A.S. ECEC)[173]
  • Mashouf Wellness Center (MWC)
  • Student Health Center (SHS)
  • Student Services (SSB)

Athletic facilities[157]


Satellite campuses


In addition to the main campus, the university also has three satellite campuses.

Downtown Campus (DTC)

A classroom at the Downtown Campus

The Downtown Campus located on the fifth floor of 160 Spear St., in San Francisco, California.[174] It is used and managed by the Lam Family College of Business and the College of Professional & Global Education (formerly College of Extended Learning).[174] The campus spans approximately 15,850 square feet.[10]

SF State has maintained facilities in Downtown San Francisco since the 1950s. The current Downtown Campus replaces the previous, underused campus that was located in the San Francisco Centre.[175] The old Downtown Campus was a replacement for the Downtown Center located at 425 Market Street.[176]

The campus has a student lounge, a computer lab, and study rooms.[177] A portion of 160 Spear St.'s 12th floor was part of the campus until 2024.[176]

Sierra Nevada Field Campus (SNFC)


The 7.1-acre Sierra Nevada Field Campus is located in Sierra County, near Yuba Pass and the Sierra Valley, at 35400 Hwy 49 in Calpine, California.[10] It is over 200 miles north of the main campus.[178] The current director of the campus is Darrow Feldstein.[179]

The campus offers three to seven-day courses and workshops to students as well as the general public.[180][181] Accredited, one-unit courses are processed by the College of Professional & Global Education. Workshops are not for credit and processed by the University Corporation.[181] The campus is also used for research by graduate students of the College of Science and Engineering.[182]

Due to its remote location, there is no cell service and extremely limited internet access at the campus. Accommodations at the campus consist of tents with mattresses. Students and visitors can to bring their own tents or vehicles to sleep in, or stay off campus.[183][184] The campus has a moderately high elevation of about 5522 feet or 1683 meters.[185][186]

The campus is supported by Friends of Sierra Nevada Field Campus, a non-profit organization.[187]



There are three buildings at the campus.[188]

  • Director's Cabin
  • Staff Cabin
  • Dining Hall

Romberg Tiburon Campus (RTC)

A pier at the Romberg Tiburon Campus

The Romberg Tiburon Campus is a 53.7-acre research campus located in Marin County, at 3150 and 3152 Paradise Drive in Tiburon, California. It is home to the only marine and environmental science lab on San Francisco Bay.[10][189] Katharyn Boyer is the interim executive director of the Estuary & Ocean Science Center and manages the campus.[190][191]

The Tiburon branch of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's Marine Invasions Lab[192] and the offices for the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve are also located there.[193]

Research vessels at the Romberg Tiburon Campus

The campus was a former U.S. Navy base. SF State has operated a marine lab on the site since 1978, when it began acquiring the land from the federal government for $1, under the condition that the site be used for education.[16][193]

A master plan is being currently being drafted for the campus. It has never had a master plan formally prepared and adopted by the campus or the CSU Board of Trustees. An approved master plan and certified environmental impact statement are required before the university can begin significant construction projects at the campus.[194][195]

The campus is at risk of closing due to financial struggles.[193][191]


Inside Delta Hall

There are eight occupied buildings at the campus.[196][197]

  • Bay Conference Center (BCC)[198]
  • Delta Hall
  • Estuary Hall
  • Farallon Hall
  • Greenhouse
  • Ohrenschall Guest House
  • N. Barracks
  • S. Barracks


San Francisco State Gators wordmark

The university's intercollegiate athletics teams, 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). SFSU fields 12 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 baseball, wrestling, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and softball.

The Gators have also produced 13 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 has produced three Major League Baseball players, two of whom 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 soccer Professional First Division in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

SF State Wrestling sent a wrestler to a national championship meet every year from 1963–64 to 2016–17.[199]

As of 2024, the Gators have earned one NCAA team championship at the Division II level, a 1997 wrestling championship.[200][201]



In the early 20th century, collegiate sports at SFSU became more popular, creating a need for a team name, and the search for a mascot started in 1921.[202] The university's newspaper at the time, the Bay Leaf, asked for suggestions for a mascot.[203] Students suggested an alligator named "Golden Gater" in reference to the Golden Gate.[204][205] Students voted in favor of the name and the alligator choice was finalized in 1931,[202] but after numerous misspellings by the newspaper, use of "Golden Gator" stuck.[206] In the beginning, two female students were chosen each year as alligator mascots.[202] The mascot's name was eventually shortened to the Gator.[205] In 2023, the Gator became Alli Gator and was redesigned.[207]

Intramural Sports


Intramural sports at SF State include indoor soccer, costume dodgeball, and badminton.[208]

Student life


Student organizations


As of July 2024, SFSU has 264 formally recognized student organizations.[209] In order to receive funding, student organizations must be formally recognized by the Office of Student Activities & Events.[210]

49 Greek life organizations are formally recognized[211] and include chapters of Alpha Phi, Sigma Pi Alpha, and Phi Sigma Sigma.



SFSU has three on-campus housing neighborhoods: the Central Neighborhood, the North Neighborhood, and the South Neighborhood. These neighborhoods are further divided into housing communities.[212] Also Parkmerced, a planned neighborhood consisting of high-rise and low-rise apartments, is located to the south of the university.[213]

First-year student accommodations

The Village at Centennial Square is part of the Central Neighborhood

The Central Neighborhood consists of housing for first-year students. There are two residence halls available: Mary Ward Hall and Mary Park Hall. They are colloquially known as the Maries.[214] In the Fall 2024 semester, a new residence hall will be completed and open to students.[168] The Towers at Centennial Square has full and partial high-rise suites. The Village at Centennial Square has apartments. The difference between suites and apartments is that apartments are available to be leased year-round, but suites are only available during the academic year. The Central Neighborhood is the closest housing neighborhood to the university's dining center, City Eats.[215]

Non-first-year student accommodations


The North Neighborhood has high-rise and low-rise garden apartments in the University Park North community. This neighborhood is closest to Stonestown Galleria, a shopping mall.

The South Neighborhood consists of University Park South and Manzanita Square. University Park South offers townhome-style apartments. Manzanita Square is a LEED Gold certified apartment building that is owned and operated by American Campus Communities.[216][217]



Student Health Services


Student Health Services, or SHS, operates out of the Student Health Center.[218][219] Primary care, vaccinations, x-rays, pharmacy services, gynecology services, and STI testing are some of the services provided.[218][220][221] Many of the services are low-cost or provided at no charge to students.[220][222] In 2023, state law required abortion services to be provided at all SHS locations, which are located at all CSU campuses.[223] SHS is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.[220]



The main recreation facility at SF State, Mashouf Wellness Center, opened in 2017.[224] It is named after Manny Mashouf, who donated $10 million towards the $86.5 million construction costs.[225] The LEED Platinum certified, 118,700-square-foot facility features two heated pools, a hot tub, a sauna, a 41-foot climbing wall, fitness studios, exercise equipment, an indoor running track, a racquetball court, a two basketball courts, a multipurpose activities court.[224][226][227] It was also the university's first LEED rated building.[228]

In addition, the university's Gymnasium building has a pool and multi-use spaces. The building is mostly used for basketball, volleyball, badminton, and indoor soccer events.[229]

The Campus Recreation department hosts student-led camping, hiking, and climbing trips, called Gator Outdoor Adventures. The trips are one to four days long and have varying levels of difficulty.[230][231]

J. Paul Leonard Library


Named after the university's fourth president, the J. Paul Leonard Library houses a collection that includes government documents, maps, sound and visual recordings, in addition to books.[232] Approximately 75% of the library's circulating collection is stored in its 45-foot-tall library retrieval system, which was installed between 2008 and 2012, when the library building underwent a renovation and expansion, adding more than 140,000 square feet; also, the addition of the system, which can store approximately a million items, removed the need for book stacks, freeing up space for other uses.[233][234][235]

The library building was constructed in three phases in 1953, 1959 and 1971 and used to only house the J. Paul Leonard Library. After the expansion and renovation, the Sutro Library was moved to the fifth and sixth floors of the building.[233][236]

Sutro Library


The Sutro Library is a branch of the California State Library on the main campus of the university. The foundation of the library's collection was assembled by former San Francisco mayor Adolph Sutro. The library was deeded to the State of California by Sutro's heirs with the stipulation that it never leave the city limits of San Francisco, filling his desire to provide the city with a public research library. It was formally given to California State Library in 1913, and opened to the public in 1917.[237] Notably, half of the Sutro collection survived the "Great Fire" after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.[238][239] Collection highlights include 125,000 rare books, antiquarian maps, and archival collections, as well as a genealogical library.

Associated Students

The top of Cesar Chavez Student Center at night

The student government of SF State is known as Associated Students Inc. of SF State.[240] Associated Students provides funding for student organizations and operates the Cesar Chavez Student Center, the Early Childhood Education Center, two food pantry programs, a weekly farmers' market, and many other programs.[240][241]

Cesar Chavez Student Center


The Cesar Chavez Student Center was built in the mid-1960s with a capacity of 12,000 students.[242] Around 2002, it was renovated and expanded to 142,160 square feet across five floors with a capacity of over 30,000.[242] The building includes staff and student offices, a 500-seat auditorium, conference rooms, an art gallery, a multi-cultural center, student lounges, restaurants, a bookstore, and additional restrooms.[242] In 2003, the Filipino American Community Mural at the center was unveiled, becoming the first Filipino-American mural on a CSU campus.[243]

Project Rebound


Project Rebound is a special admissions and support program for formerly incarcerated people.[244][245] It was founded by John Irwin, a professor of sociology, in 1967.[246][247] After Irwin served five years at Soledad State Prison in the 1950s for armed robbery, he wanted to create a program that provided educational support to people like him.[248] The program has grown since its founding at SFSU, with 15 CSU campuses now having Project Rebound programs.[249][250]

Rhythms Music Festival


Associated Students hosts the Rhythms Music Festival annually. Before the main show, there are two competitions: one for DJs and one for bands. The winners of each competition then open for the main show.[41]

The annual event started as a joke when a student, Franko Ali, made a Facebook group called “ RAVE IN THE ANNEX – Approved if 15,000 SF State Students join this group.”[251][252] Over 5,000 people joined.[40] In 2010, a year after Ali made the group, he was elected to the student government. Inspired by Ali's group, the Associated Students Board of Directors voted to hire Travie McCoy for a performance, but couldn't afford his booking fees after one of his songs was used in Glee. Ali proposed a three-day music festival instead and it was approved.[40][252] The first festival took place in March 2011.[40]

Year Headliners
2011 Grieves, Budo, The Hood Internet, Toro y Moi[253]
2012 Toro y Moi[254]
2013 Big Boi[255]
2014 Timeflies[256]
2015 G-Eazy[257]
2016 Kehlani[258][259]
2017 Vince Staples[260]
2018 T-Pain[256]
2019 Hayley Kiyoko[261]
2020 Bishop Briggs[262]
2021 Rico Nasty[263]
2022 Baby Tate[264]
2023 Lupe Fiasco[265][266]
2024 Destroy Lonely[267][252]

Del the Funky Homosapien, and K Theory also performed in 2012.[253][254] In 2020, the event was held at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion instead of the Annex.[262] In 2021, the festival was held over Zoom.[268] Phony Ppl also performed in 2022.[264] Redveil also performed in 2024.[267][252]

Annual Folk Festival


Associated Students hosted the annual San Francisco State College Folk Festival from 1962 to 1970.[269][270][271][272] The 2nd Annual Folk Festival included performances by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.[273]



Since 2017, each student has been issued an ID card called a OneCard.[274] The cards also function as university library cards, Clipper cards, meal plan cards, and campus payment cards.[275] When the cards' Clipper functions are used during the fall and spring semesters, students can use Muni (excluding cable cars) and SamTrans for free and receive a 50% discount on BART trips to and from Daly City station. Students are charged a "Gator Pass" transit fee each semester, which pays for the transit benefits.[276]

A bike maintenance station with tools attached to cables, near the university's Gymnasium.



SFSU was designated by the League of American Bicyclists as a bronze-level bicycle friendly university in 2016.[277][278]

From 1996 to 2017, there was a staffed, enclosed bike storage area in a parking garage the rear of the Gymnasium building.[279][280][281] The Bike Barn had the capacity for up to 200 bicycles, skateboards, and scooters.[282][283] It was closed due to lack of usage and funding.[284][280] It suffered from a lack of funding, maintenance, and publicity before it closed.[285]

In August 2021, on the ground floor of Thornton Hall, a bike cage opened. It's unstaffed but secured with a keypad.[286]

Four Bay Wheels bike sharing stations are at the university's main campus.[287][288]

The campus also has 46 bike parking areas and three "fix-it" stations with tools for performing bike maintenance.[289][290]

The university's Outdoor Resource Center offers free assistance and use of tools for bike repairs and maintenance.[291][292]

Bike parking is also available at the Romberg Tiburon Campus.[283]



Golden Gate Xpress


Golden Gate Xpress is the university's daily online student newspaper.[45][293][294] The university's newspaper has changed names several times, but its history can be traced back to 1899.[295] Golden Gate Xpress has been awarded by the Associated Collegiate Press, College Media Association, and the Hearst Journalism Awards Program.[296][297][298]

Xpress Magazine


Xpress Magazine is a free student magazine published during the fall and spring semesters. Four issues are published per semester, two of which are also printed. The magazine was originally known as Prism and dates back December 1969. In October 1999, the magazine was published for the first time under its current name.[299] Xpress Magazine has been awarded by the Associated Collegiate Press.[297][300]

SF State Magazine


The university's Strategic Marketing and Communications department publishes SF State Magazine. The semiannual publication is mailed to over 80,000 alumni.[301]

Transfer Magazine


Since 1950, undergraduate students in the Creative Writing department have published Transfer Magazine, featuring literature and art by SFSU students.[302][303][304]

Fourteen Hills


Creative Writing graduate students have published Fourteen Hills, an international literary journal, since 1994.[303][305]

Urban Action


Students enrolled in Urban Planning and Studies courses at the university have been publishing Urban Action, an annual journal consisting of research papers, photo essays, and other works. The journal started in 1979.[306][307]

Sutro Review


Since 2016, the Department of English Language and Literature has published Sutro Review: SF State Journal for Undergraduate Composition, an academic journal for writing and art by undergraduates, edited by graduate students.[308][309]



KSFS is a college radio station run by Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) students, streaming online, at 100.7 on Comcast Cable radio in San Francisco, and at 88.1 FM near or at the main campus.[310][311][312]

Notable faculty and alumni


SF State's past and present faculty and alumni include 21 Pulitzer Prize winners, 16 Academy Award winners, 49 Emmy Award winners, 10 Grammy Award winners, 12 Tony Award laureates.[313]

See also



  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


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