Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at the San Francisco State University Reception honoring SFSU President Robert Corrigan. Below are the Leader's remarks:
“So, I was thinking as I was walking down here, of the first time that I met Robert Corrigan. It was in the United States Capitol, and I was invited by a colleague, who we've all held in great reverence, Joe Moakley, he was the Chairman of the Rules Committee; he was from Massachusetts; and he was a great person. And we all respected him. His wish was our command. So, he asked me to meet with Robert Corrigan. So I went to his office--his private hideaway--his office, and we had a lovely chat. Robert told me some jokes, which I won't repeat now. They were--I'll save it for the floor of the House. It's not a good time right now. And it was just a remarkable thing--Joe Moakley was so proud of Bob Corrigan, he just couldn't say enough about him. And you have to understand the esteem which we held, in which we held him. So, in any event, that was the introduction. And he told us that this person was going to be the head of San Francisco State. It seems like it was yesterday. How could it be so long ago? But so much accomplished.
“And so, you know, you go to an event and these politicians show up and something looks like this, and you think: ‘oh my gosh, are they going to read the whole thing?' I am tempted to, because it's a statement from yesterday, Monday, February 27th on the floor of the House of Representatives, so that everyone who follows the work of Congress forevermore will know that the constituents of San Francisco are proud to honor Robert Corrigan in his final year as President of San Francisco State. He has been a visionary leader in higher education, and has made an enormous contribution to San Francisco, California and, indeed, the entire nation. That's the first sentence. I'll let you read it in the Congressional Record online. Promise to read it there. And I'll promise not to read it here. Promise?
“In any event, I did want to share a few thoughts, because this is a bit of an emotional time for me. I love Robert and I love Joyce very much. And they have, not only have they made a professional, an official, commitment to the education of America, but a personal one as well. I'm pleased to have seen Jackie Speier, who we just heard from. George Miller. Is Lynn Woolsey here? She is, I know, intending to be here.
“And as we all know, for 24 years, this great man has transformed San Francisco State into a premier urban university. Those of you who know San Francisco State know what I'm going to say is true. Those of you who don't, probably have a feeling it's true. This is something that is in our neighborhood, San Francisco State. It's a part of all of our lives, right? So many of our friends have gone there. It's an ongoing institution of learning, as we all know. And it's the center of a great deal of activity. Shall we say, the First Amendment is alive and well at San Francisco State? And one of its values is that it reflects the diversity of the city that it serves, including one of the highest percentages of first-generation college students in the nation. We're very proud of that.
“Of course, the students there are committed to social justice, and it educates a 21st Century workforce, we know that. He has been a pioneer for diversity, establishing groundbreaking diversity initiatives to incorporate women and minorities into the faculty, and as a result, San Francisco State University has the most diverse faculty in the United States, of any university, thanks to Robert Corrigan and due to pioneering. He has, under his leadership, taking and harnessing all of the energy that is there, under his leadership, San Francisco State has evolved into a college with a conscience. It's a multicultural campus, as I mentioned. It has a faculty and student body that is actively engaged in public service. And it serves 1,800 low income students, children, through Head Start. I'm reading this so that I stay short, because, if left to my own devices, I'd be talking all night about your President, because I can, about him.
“I also want to acknowledge President Corrigan's leadership in making access to quality education a priority throughout his Presidency. With his wife, Joyce, as I mentioned, they have a personal commitment. They have established an endowed scholarship to place higher education in the reach of students from underserved and low-income neighborhoods. President Corrigan has been an educator, a role model, a dynamic leader, on behalf of his constituents. I join all of you in expressing our gratitude to him.
“I know he still has a year to go. Sort of like the Members of Congress here, eight months, ten months until the term's up. You know you have a lot more work to do, and it's not over, but as we look toward this phase of your leadership, I want you to know, I don't want you to go without knowing how respected you are, that we hold you in great esteem, great admiration, great respect, and, indeed, with great affection, Mr. President. Thank you.”