B.S., 1984, Computer Science
Founder, Neda Nobari Foundation
Former Vice Chair of Bebe Stores, Inc.
"Every person should have the opportunity to pursue a quality education. I have a sense of allegiance and gratitude for having had that opportunity at San Francisco State."
Neda Nobari left Iran for the United States at the age of 15 to pursue education and opportunities not available in her home country.
As a computer science student at SF State she experienced a sense of freedom and acceptance that opened her vision to life’s possibilities.
Neda joined Bebe Stores, Inc. after graduation and maintained an active role in developing the business from three stores in 1984 to a publicly traded, international company with a market capitalization that grew to more than $1 billion in 2006 by the time she left.
Neda’s generous support of SF State is helping to transform the campus and the lives of its students. Her contributions, including a leadership gift to the renovated and expanded J. Paul Leonard Library and assistance to former foster youth challenged with navigating college years without traditional family support, represent her giving beliefs and personal commitment to making a difference.
Neda’s giving strategy is reflective of her focus on creating leverage and maximizing effective impact. She bases this strategy on her experience in business’s bottom line: Return on Investment.
M.S., 1990, Physics
Professor of Astronomy, Yale University
Debra Fischer is a Professor of Astronomy at Yale University where her team is developing next-generation instrument designs to break current measurement precision records and detect planets similar to our own that can serve as targets in the search for life beyond Earth. She earned her B.S. degree at the University of Iowa in 1975, her M.S. degree in Physics at SF State in 1992, and her Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1998.
Dr. Fischer began searching for exoplanets as a postdoctoral fellow at SF State in 1997 by measuring Doppler shifts in the spectra of stars. She has discovered hundreds of extrasolar planets with this technique, including the first known multiple planet system in 1999 while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2003, she was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at SF State and was promoted to associate professor in 2008. During this time, she led an international consortium that detected more than 30 new extrasolar planets. In 2009, she joined the faculty at Yale University as a professor in the Department of Astronomy. In recognition of her pioneering work in astronomy, Dr. Fischer has received honors and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Cottrell Scholar program. Dr. Fischer is also the co-chair for the NASA study of LUVOIR, a 12- to 16-meter space telescope currently under evaluation as a possible future mission.
B.S., 1981, Electrical Engineering
President and Chief Executive Officer, Arista Networks
Jayshree Ullal is a leading executive in the technology industry, with a career in Silicon Valley spanning more than 30 years. She is currently president and CEO of Arista Networks where she is responsible for building the company's business in cloud networking and has forged strategic alliances with Microsoft, HP and VMware, to name a few.
Ms. Ullal earned a B.S. in engineering (electrical) from SF State in 1981 and an M.S. in engineering management and leadership from Santa Clara University in 1986. She began her professional career in the tech industry with engineering and strategy positions at Advanced Micro Devices, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Ungermann-Bass before joining Crescendo Communications, where she became vice president of marketing. When Cisco Systems acquired Crescendo in 1993, Ms. Ullal rose to the rank of senior vice president, overseeing for Cisco numerous mergers and acquisitions and approximately $15 billion in annual revenue. In 2008, she was appointed president and CEO of Arista Networks, where she led a successful IPO on the New York Stock Exchange and earned recognition by Forbes Magazine as one of the top five most influential people in the networking industry. Ms. Ullal is also a former trustee of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, an international organization devoted to promoting the role of women in innovative technology. Through a foundation she established with her husband, she also supports cancer research, social services projects, and hunger relief programs in India. Ms. Ullal is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her work, including EY Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2015, Forbes Magazine named her one its Top 50 Most Successful Self-made Women.
B.A., 1964, Mathematics
Developed the ARPANET, the precursor of the Internet
David Walden graduated from SF State with a degree in mathematics in 1964. While working at Boston-based Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. (BBN), he was a member of the original, seven-person team selected to develop ARPANET, the precursor to the modern Internet. During his career, Walden has been involved in a number of Internet innovations as well as the nonprofit Center for Quality of Management, a collection of companies dedicated to sharing best practices in business.
Attended SF State 1960 - 1965, Mathematics
Co-Inventor of the World's First Microprocessor, Intel 4004
A classmate of Walden's, Stanley Mazor attended SF State as a mathematics major from 1960-1965, during which time he learned to program the University's only computer. He left SF State to become a computer programmer and eventually joined Intel, where in 1969 he and his colleagues designed and built the first microprocessor (computer chip). Following his time at Intel, he began teaching, including at Stanford and Santa Clara universities. In 2010, President Barack Obama invited Mazor and two of his Intel colleagues to the White House to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. He was previously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
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