SF State to Honor Outstanding Graduates at Commencement

Friday, May 12, 2017
Photos of Callum David Liyam Leneman and Saliem Wakeem Shehadeh

More than 5,000 San Francisco State University graduates will line up and experience one of life’s most memorable milestones during the University’s 116th Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 25. And 12 of those graduates will be on stage at AT&T Park to represent their fellow students in the class of 2017.

As part of a longstanding tradition, each of the University's six academic colleges selects two students — one undergraduate and one graduate — for the honor of representing their fellow students during the ceremony by wearing their college's academic hood.

Two of those 12 students, one undergraduate and one graduate, are chosen to offer greetings on behalf of their fellow students during the Commencement ceremony. This year the student speakers are undergraduate Talia Hart, a College of Science & Engineering graduate who is heading to Harvard to pursue a Ph.D. in biology, and graduate student Alicia Garza, College of Ethnic Studies, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter.

Undergraduate hood recipient, College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Callum David Liyam Leneman

Callum David Liyam Leneman photo

Raised by a cabinetmaker and a ceramics teacher in rural Topanga Canyon, Callum David Liyam Leneman had a number of creative tools and resources at his fingertips. Growing up, he explored various artistic activities, including sewing, drawing and even screen-printing. When he arrived at SF State, he knew he’d pursue a path in design or the arts, and when he took a class in industrial design he realized this was the way to coalesce his disparate interests into one discipline.

Industrial and product design is basically problem solving, Leneman said, and what appeals to him is creating solutions that serve the greater good. He’s most proud of his senior project called the Attune, a coat that helps people with post-concussion syndrome safely navigate public spaces around public transit through haptic (meaning related to touch) feedback.

After graduation, Leneman said he hopes to land a job in a consulting firm working on product and industrial design, and specifically for a company that’s designing for social impact. “My definition of success is how I can maximize whatever skills or resources I have to actually contribute to society.”

Graduate hood recipient, College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Saliem Wakeem Shehadeh

Saliem Wakeem Shehadeh photo

Saliem Wakeem Shehadeh is a Palestinian-American and will receive his master of arts degree in anthropology. He focused his studies on compiling oral histories of the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) at San Francisco State and the experience of Palestinian activism and resistance politics on campus.

Shehadeh graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Arts in Middle East/South Asia studies and political science. He interned at Bizreit University in Palestine and while he attended SF State he worked as a teaching assistant for Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi. He received the University’s Edward Said Scholarship Award in 2016.

His master’s thesis is an ethnographically informed social history of GUPS at SF State. He has been admitted to the University of California, Los Angeles, doctoral program in anthropology.

— University Communications

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