Breed Honored as Alumna

Gabriel Greschler and Mardy Harding

Editor in Chief and News Editor


Mayor London Breed, who graduated from USF’s Master of Public Administration program in 2012, appeared at USF the night of Nov. 9 in the Gleeson Library’s atrium to be honored as an alumna. She also praised the University’s commitment to black achievement, including the newly-launched BASE program.

Growing up in public housing close to the University, Breed has a long history of personal challenges. In 2006, her younger sister died of a drug overdose. Her older brother is currently in prison for robbery and other crimes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Breed spoke about her experience growing up in the city and said as mayor, her goal is to ensure kids in San Francisco today don’t share her experiences. “[I want] to make sure no one is left behind,” she continued. “The kids growing up in San Francisco are the future.”

In her adulthood, Breed has hit a major milestone: upon her election in June 2018, Breed became the first female black mayor of San Francisco.

“People that I know have been actively engaged in trying to make a connection between USF and the African American community to open the doors of opportunity right here in this incredible institution. It means a lot,” Breed said in an interview. “I appreciate what USF is trying to do to encourage and push forward and celebrate diversity.”

“Mayor Breed came across as a breath of fresh air,” alumna Davia Jackson said, who graduated in 1974. “As she spoke I could feel her dedication and commitment to improving life and conditions in SF. She is the real deal.”

Mayor Breed gets a photo with Black Student Union Vice President Taylor Terry. GABRIEL GRESCHLER/FOGHORN

Senior Justin Nkemere said, “[Breed] has a lot of passion for the community that made her who she is today and I felt like she wants to build upon that and bring it to the up and coming generations here in San Francisco. I know she’ll do good for the city and really support the African American community here like no one else has.”

The mayor also weaved in her own policies pertaining to social justice. Just hours before Breed offered her words at the University, she opened the “Mission Family Access Point,” the third location for homeless families to connect with San Francisco resources. According to Breed’s office, over 1,000 families have already been helped.    

The BASE Program, which launched this fall with its first class of scholars, has created a living and learning community devoted to the school’s first African American Studies curriculum, as well as a black student resource center.

Breed’s words at USF came at a special time. This year marks the Black Student Union’s 50th anniversary. Earlier in the day, six former BSU members spoke on a panel about the contributions their organization had made to the University’s black community, as well as the challenges still present. The panel, titled “Bending the Arc Toward Justice: 50 Years of Black Student Activism at USF,” is the beginning of a year-long set of BSU celebrations.


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