Alumni Hall of Fame Celebration

2018 Alumni Hall of Fame

November 9, 2018
Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
200 Stockton Street
Reception: 6-7 p.m.
Dinner & Program: 7-9 p.m.
The San Francisco State University Alumni Hall of Fame was created in 1994 to honor alumni who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements in their professional and civic endeavors. We are proud to recognize our 2018 Hall of Fame inductees.



Rebecca Solnit

B.A., ’81 English

Rebecca Solnit, 2018 Alumna of the YearRebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory, including in 2018 the anthology  of political essays Call Them By Their True Names and the photography-and-text book Drowned River: The Death and Rebirth of Glen Canyon on the Colorado.  Other works include Men Explain Things to Me (2014)The Faraway Nearby (2013), A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster (2009), A Field Guide to Getting Lost (2005), Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2001), and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (2004) for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award. Solnit has worked on environmental and human rights campaigns since the 1980s, notably with the Western Shoshone Defense Project in the early 1990s, as described in her book Savage Dreams (1994), and with antiwar activists throughout the Bush era.  She writes regularly about feminism and is a  board member of the climate policy-analysis and activist group Oil Change International.


Dr. Esteban G. Burchard

B.S., ’90 Cell and Molecular Biology

Esteban González Burchard, M.D., M.P.H. is a professor and physician-scientist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Dr. Burchard enrolled at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 1984.  He was a member of the SFSU Wrestling Team from 1984 to 1989 and was twice awarded NCAA Academic All-American honors. Dr. Burchard met his wife, Melanie, in the San Francisco State University (SFSU) library. Dr. Burchard obtained his bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from SFSU in 1990 and continued on to study medicine. He received his M.D. degree from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1995 and married Melanie, and together they have two daughters, Milena Xochitl and Maya Guadalupe. Dr. Burchard completed clinical training in Internal Medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  While at Harvard, he identified a gene, that is associated with asthma severity and helps to explain racial/ethnic differences in asthma prevalence, morbidity and mortality. This discovery linking genetics and racial/ethnic differences in asthma spurred the birth of the nation’s largest study of minority children and asthma, which was started and continues to be directed by Dr. Burchard.

Currently, Dr. Burchard is the Director of the UCSF Asthma Collaboratory, a large inter disciplinary research program focusing on minority children and gene-environment interactions for asthma. He directs the largest study of asthma in minority children in the U.S. Dr. Burchard served as an advisor to the Director for the National Institutes of Health as part of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative now called the All of Us initiative.

Dr. Burchard was recently appointed to serve on the National Advisory Council for the Robert Wood Johnson sponsored Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program and the Stanford Medicine Alumni Association Board of Governors. In August of 2018 Dr. Burchard received the Lifetime Achievement award from the National Medical Foundation, the nation’s largest and oldest Black Medical Association.

In September 2018, Dr. Burchard was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to start the nation’s largest birth cohort of minority children to illuminate the early-life origins of asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Jinho "Piper" Ferreira

B.A., ’06 Africana Studies

Jinho “Piper” Ferreira is a writer, actor, rapper, and deputy sheriff from Oakland, California. His alternative hip-hop band Flipsyde has toured internationally with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Akon, The Game and more. In 2009, Piper won the Creative Promise Award for screenwriters at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Appalled by the death of Oscar Grant at the hands of police in Oakland, Piper paid his own way through the police academy in 2010. He graduated in the top percentile and delivered the commencement speech at graduation. Due to his performance in the academy, Piper was offered an opportunity to be the change he wanted to see. In January 2011, Piper became an Alameda County Deputy Sheriff.

Piper joined the Youth and Family Services Bureau Crime Prevention Unit, helping to create what ArtPlace describes as one of the most progressive units in the country. The paradox of being a Black man, an artist, and a cop, served as the inspiration to write Cops and Robbers, a solo performance about an officer involved shooting in which Piper plays 19 characters.

Piper wrote a film version of Cops and Robbers and was accepted into the 2017 Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. In 2018 Piper became a recipient of the SFFILM Rainin Filmmaking Grant, which is the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the US. The grant supports films that address social justice issues – the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges – in a positive and meaningful way through plot, character, theme or setting.


Kitty Tsui

B.A., ’75 English

Kitty TsuiKitty Tsui is the quintessential Renaissance woman, author, activist, artist, actor, and athlete.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in England, her father was the first captain of Chinese descent to command a ship for the British Blue Funnel Line. Like her father, she too has accomplished many ‘firsts’. Her first byline appeared in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English language newspaper, above her poetry and prose in the Sunday centerfold, dedicated to teens and their creative words and art work.

Tsui immigrated with her family to San Francisco in 1968. Though she had matriculated and was ready for university, her parents thought her too young and placed her at Lowell High for a year. While at Lowell, she entered a city-wide contest sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library and the Poetry Center at San Francisco State. In her first introduction to State, she won the competition in her division.

That was her introduction, but her most vivid memory of SF State was this: she remembers being a senior at Lowell, State being just a stone’s throw away, in civics, the last period, sitting by the window, daydreaming, when a line of mounted police in riot gear cantered down the street. “All of us knew that students at State were demonstrating for a Third World Studies department and access to public education. It was then I made my decision to attend State and not UC Berkeley, my parents’ pick for me.”  

She is a founding member of Unbound Feet, the seminal Asian American women’s writing and performance group. Tsui’s 1983 groundbreaking The Words of a Woman Who Breathes Fire, the first book by a Chinese American lesbian, inspired countless Asian women to embrace feminism in the 1980s and 1990s. Her second book, Breathless: Erotica won the Firecracker Alternative Book (FAB) Award, and her third, Sparks Fly, was penned by her alter ego Eric Norton, a gay leatherman living in San Francisco before the AIDS pandemic. Her writing has been collected in more than 90 anthologies worldwide and been published in German, Japanese and Italian. Lambda Literary Report has listed her as one of the fifty most influential lesbian and gay writers of the decade.

The granddaughter of Chinese opera diva, Kwan Ying Lin, Tsui is completing White Snake, a historical novel based on her grandmother’s life as a Chinese opera singer in San Francisco Chinatown in the 1920s and 1930s. Other manuscripts include Food = Sex = Food: A Sensual Pansexual Gourmet AdventurePlay Dates: More Erotica, and Suzy Wong is Dead but I am Alive, a multi-genre memoir incorporating autobiography, poetry and photographs. She has completed My Life as a Dog as told by Hershey Cadbury Tsui, a tale of the adventures of a rescue German shorthaired pointer, told through the eyes of a dog.

Her new book, Nice Chinese Girls Don’t: Looking Forward, Looking Back (which includes a reprint of The Words of a Woman Who Breathes Fire), is forthcoming from Sinister Wisdom and A Midsummer’s Night’s Press in 2019.

A self-described poet activist and activist poet, she became involved with the Asian American activism movement in the early 1970s, and is widely recognized as one of the foremothers of the Asian Pacific Islander lesbian movement in San Francisco. She had the honor of marching on the frontline at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Rights, with Cleve Jones, Harry Hayes, Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, Jewelle Gomez, Cybill Shepherd and others. 

Artist and founding member of the Vida Gallery Collective at the Women’s Building in San Francisco, she has created batik and boumaki hangings, and silkscreen posters. As one of the members of Asian Women Artists at the Japantown Art & Media Workshop (JAM), she produced five silkscreens to Willyce Kim’s poems. Three of the silkscreens were featured in the exhibit “From Feminists to Feministas: Women of Color in Prints & Posters”, co-curated by Amy Sueyoshi and Lisbet Tellefsen, at the GLBT Historical Society Museum in San Francisco in 2016.

A former bodybuilder, she won the gold medal at Gay Games III, Vancouver in 1990, and the bronze medal at Gay Games II, San Francisco in 1986. She is the first Asian American woman to be on the cover of the Village Voice as well as the irreverent lesbian porn magazine On Our Backs. In 2016, Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women & Transgender Community (APIQWTC), the largest organization of queer API women and trans folk in the country, honored her with the Phoenix Award for Lifetime Achievement for her historic contributions to the community. 

This fall, Tsui is part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America. She is one of twelve queer Asian Pacific Islander poets in the country to be honored in this poetry and video exhibit.


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