• Melba Beals

    Melba Beals

    Civil rights activist

    One of the "Little Rock Nine" who integrated an all-white high school in Arkansas in 1957, this journalism grad, pictured left, is now chair of Dominican University's Communications Department. Her awards include the Congressional Gold Medal and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Excellence in Writing.

    Photo courtesy of the Central High Museum Historical Collections/UALR Archives.

  • Randy Hayes

    Randy Hayes

    Environmental pioneer

    His masters thesis in environmental planning, a 16 mm film about the desert, won Best Student Film from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and led to Hayes founding the Rainforest Action Network.

  • Norma Hotaling

    Norma Hotaling

    Crusader for survivors of abuse, prostitution and trauma

    She died in 2008 but her legacy lives on through Standing Against Global Exploitation, an organization she founded as part of her health education coursework at SF State.

  • Ralf Hotchkiss

    Ralf Hotchkiss

    Disability activist

    He used his $260,000 McArthur Foundation "genius" grant to start an SF State group that would become Whirlwind Wheelchair International, which helps people in developing countries build their own wheelchairs.

  • Cleve Jones

    Cleve Jones

    AIDS activist

    The founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt was an SF State student when he stitched the first panel of what would become the world's largest, ongoing community arts project.

  • Wilma Mankiller

    Wilma Mankiller

    American Indian activist

    Long before her selection as first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985, she was an SF State student who participated in the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Joseph Marshall

    Youth advocate

    This MacArthur "genius grant" recipient has been called the "Repo Man" for his remarkable ability to turn around the lives of teens in trouble with drugs and gangs.

  • Jerry Nims

    Jerry Nims

    Religious activist

    Jerry Falwell's successor as head of the Moral Majority turned toward conservatism after reading Marx and Lenin as an SF State student in the '60s.

  • Mario Savio

    Mario Savio

    Free speech activist

    Though most closely associated with the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley, his alma mater is SF State, from which he graduated with highest honors in 1984.

  • Mu Sochua

    Mu Sochua

    Member of Cambodian Parliament, human rights advocate

    Her efforts against sex trafficking won her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and a Human Rights Global Leadership Award from Vital Voices Global Partnership in 2005.