Service sector

Service-minded businesswoman and biotech leader named 2022 graduate of the year

For 28 years, San Francisco State University has recognized outstanding alumni for their countless contributions to life in the Bay Area and beyond. This year’s Alumni Hall of Fame inductees are leaders in their fields and examples of the varied paths that can be taken with a degree from San Francisco State. SF State President Lynn Mahoney and the college community will honor the new inductees at a celebration and dinner Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Rock journalist and author Ben Fong-Torres (BA, ’66) will host the evening.

“When I look at this year’s inductees, I see trailblazers. They are leading the way in medicine, public service, comedy, business, sustainability, and wine,” said Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations and Academic Engagement, Nicole Lange. “What connects our inductees is the state of SF. The University clearly played a vital role on their path to success.

Graduate of the year

Kimberly K. Brandon
BA, ’84, Psychology

Kimberly K. Brandon has had a successful career in the financial services industry and a significant commitment to public service. She served as Senior Vice President of the Brandon Group at Morgan Stanley, where she oversaw a portfolio of assets of high net worth individuals, foundations, foundations and public entities. She held similar positions at Bank of America and Wells Fargo. She is the first African-American woman to serve as commissioner of the Port of San Francisco, a position she has held since her appointment by Mayor Willie Brown in 1997, and is now its president. Brandon serves on the board of the Museum of the African Diaspora, the San Francisco Grants for the Arts Advisory Panel, the Metta Fund, PACT, Inc., Golden Gate University, and the SF State Foundation, where she recently completed a term as President. .

Michael S. Richman
MS, ’93, Business Administration

Michael S. Richman is co-founder, president and CEO of NextCure, a biopharmaceutical company founded in 2015 dedicated to the discovery and development of immune drugs to treat cancer and other diseases related to the immune system. Richman has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry since 1985, holding leadership positions at companies including Amplimmune, MacroGenics, MedImmune and Chiron (now Novartis). Richman served as President and CEO of Amplimmune when it was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2013. He holds a BS in Genetics and Molecular Biology from UC Davis. He lives with his wife Kathleen H. Richman in Maryland.

Hall of Fame inductees

Dalia Ceja
BA, ’08, Marketing and Communications
Dalia Ceja followed her family into the wine business and is now Director of Sales and Marketing at Ceja Vineyards, one of the few Latino-owned wineries in Napa Valley. After graduating from SF State, she helped transform her family’s winery into an internationally recognized brand. In 2011, she was named Woman of the Year by the Napa Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In 2020, she received the Latino Business Leadership Award from the North Bay Business Journal. She serves on the board of NG: The Next Generation in Wine and has participated in the Napa Valley Vintner Leadership Program. She holds an eMBA with a major in wine business from Sonoma State University.

Photo of Gulshan

Gulshan Kumar
BS, ’16, Business Administration

Gulshan Kumar is a Partner and Vice President of Sales for Fremont-based PATH (formerly PathWater), a producer of responsibly sourced, locally sourced purified water in refillable aluminum water bottles. He hopes the company’s product will help phase out single-use plastic water bottles. PATH bottles are sold at 35,000 retailers across the country, including Sprouts, Safeway and San Francisco International Airport. The company also has partnerships with Intuit, Dropbox, Facebook, Tesla, Orange Theory, and SF State.

SF Sketchfest Founders and Directors
David Owen, BA, ’99, theater; Cole Stratton, BA, ’99, Drama; Janey Varney, Drama

The SF Sketchfest founders sit together on a sofa

Pictured: David Owen (left), Janet Varney and Cole Stratton.

Photo by Jakob Mosur

David Owen, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney befriended at SF State and began performing together in their comedy group Totally False People alongside Gabriel Diani (BA, ’00). In 2002, the trio founded SF Sketchfest to showcase Bay Area comedy. Twenty years later, the festival has grown into a nationally recognized month-long festival that features some of the biggest names in comedy, such as Gene Wilder, Carol Burnett, Robin Williams, Catherine O’Hara, Alan Arkin and many others.

Individually, they have had prolific careers in entertainment. Owen has worked as a producer for events and festivals such as Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Clusterfest, Mill Valley Film Festival and more. Stratton hosted the acclaimed “Pop My Culture Podcast,” appeared on television and in film, and, with Varney, wrote and performed downloadable comedy commentaries on films for Varney has starred in several television shows, including “You’re the Worst”, “The Legend of Korra”, and “Stan Against Evil”. She is also a longtime host of “The JV Club” podcast and continues to perform improv comedy with ThemePark Improv.

More information on tickets and our inductees is available online.