University of San Francisco Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of its Black Student Union

Reception and dinner on November 9 will feature remarks from distinguished alumna San Francisco Mayor London Breed

SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 7, 2018) — The University of San Francisco (USF) will celebrate 50 years of leadership from the USF Black Student Union at events featuring alumnae London Breed, mayor of San Francisco, and City Administrator Naomi Kelly on Friday, November 9th. The events will also commemorate the launch of the university’s Black Achievement Success and Engagement (BASE) program, a new initiative building on USF’s commitment to inclusive excellence and diversity.

“For five decades, the Black Student Union’s strong tradition of campus activism has brought the voices, experiences, and perspectives of Black students to the fore and shaped USF into a more inclusive and just university,” stated Associate Professor of History and BASE Faculty Director Candice Harrison. “The new and dynamic BASE program stems from this activist tradition and is the next step in honoring USF’s commitment to an academically challenging, personally supportive, and empowering educational experience for Black-identified students.” 

The Black Student Union movement started in 1968 at San Francisco State University, where a student strike to institutionalize minority curriculums lasted five months -- the longest campus strike in U.S. history. USF’s Black Student Union was founded that same year on the recognition that pluralism and diversity add value to the college experience and society as a whole. The BSU seeks to educate and involve the university community in the African American experience, focusing on exploring and examining the identity, history, issues and culture of the African Diaspora. It also works to create a sense of community among students of color at USF.

For the anniversary event, Mayor Breed will be welcomed back to campus for the first time since her historic election earlier this year as the first African American woman to lead the city. A San Francisco native, she received her master’s degree in public administration from USF in 2012. She will be recognized at the 50th anniversary celebration by USF’s Board of Trustees and President Fr. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. at a reception followed by a dinner. The events will recognize the vibrant and active Black Student Union, the group’s impact throughout the years, a look ahead at future goals and initiatives, and a look back at its past leadership with founding member and Trustee Emeritus Dr. Joseph E. Marshall, Jr. ‘68, co-founder and executive director of Alive and Free, and Trustee Emerita Adrienne M. Riley ‘71, MA ‘74, president, board of directors of Alive and Free.

The event will include young people from Rosa Parks Elementary School, Project Level, Alive and Free, and John Muir Community School, as well as USF leadership and alumni including University Trustees, the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the San Francisco Regional Council, and the Black Alumni Society Executive Board. USF students attending will include Getty Scholars and Black Scholars from the new Honors College, Muscat Scholars, the Associated Students of USF Executive Board, transfer students from San Francisco City College, the Graduate Student Association Executive Board, and Graduate Students from the MPA Program.

Event Details: Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of USF’s Black Student Union

All events will take place on Friday, November 9, 2018

Panel Discussion: Bending the Arc Toward Justice - 50 Years of Black Student Activism at USF
3 to 5 p.m. (open to the USF community)
Fromm Hall, Berman Room
Panelists, including past BSU presidents and officers, will address and reflect upon the long history of student protest, activism, and achievement that has helped shape USF into a more inclusive and diverse community.

Reception: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (invitation only)
Monihan Atrium at Gleeson Library - Geschke Center

Black Student Union 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner: 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. (invitation only)
Fromm Hall

Press interested in covering the event should contact Kellie Samson at (415) 422-2697 or

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world’s most innovative and diverse cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco’s first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student’s passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World From Here.” For more information, visit

About the Black Achievement Success and Engagement Program (BASE)

BASE is a dynamic, comprehensive initiative that seeks to build on USF’s commitment to inclusive excellence and diversity. By offering high-impact, academic and extracurricular programs for undergraduate and graduate students that center on the unique and yet varied experiences of students of African descent, the BASE Program will provide black students with a critical sense of belonging, opportunities for engagement in all aspects of university life and in the broader Bay Area community, and the resources, skills and support necessary to achieve academic excellence and pursue rich and rewarding careers after graduation. This will be accomplished through the creation and student participation of a Black Living Learning Community, Black Resource Center, and a Black Scholars Program.