Commending and Honoring Shawn Whalen

Resolution Number: RF15-335
September, 2015
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen served San Francisco State University as a bold leader, unafraid to be “out in front” on controversial issues within our campus community, while capturing in words our complex commitment to diversity and vibrant spirit; and
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen began his service on the San Francisco State Academic Senate in Fall 2005, served as a noteworthy Academic Program Review Committee member, reading and discussing volumes of material; and went on to serve as an exemplary Academic Policies Committee Chair in 2006, and Academic Senate Vice Chair in 2007; and
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen served as Academic Senate Chair for three consecutive terms and internalized Robert’s Rules and Academic Senate policies and procedures so thoroughly that subsequent Senate Chairs actively sought his sage advice and took advantage of his unending patience to avoid complete humiliation; and
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen made many friends during his journey through San Francisco State University, and invariably treated them humanely, loyally, and amicably, and now leaves behind colleagues who will always remember how he treasured collegiality and carried shared governance in his pocket like a trusted navigator when the seas got rough and dark; and
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen will be remembered as an exceptional faculty member and forensics educator, building one of the strongest speech and debate programs in the history of the California State University system and cultivating a legacy of local and national coaches, teachers, and students who continue to draw from his wisdom, strategic thinking, and convivial nature; and
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen is a careful and honest communicator who, as Chief of Staff to the President, has served as a key link and moderator between faculty, staff, students, and the upper echelons of university administration, positively resolving many issues through personal diplomacy; and
Whereas: 
in this role, Shawn Whalen actively supported the preparation of the first comprehensive campaign to raise $150 million for student aid, faculty research, and modernized facilities, led the team that executed the successful transition of Commencement ceremonies from campus to AT&T Park, and as a founding member of the Education Budget Advocacy Committee, assisted a coalition of faculty, administration, students, and staff, and advocated for San Francisco State University in Sacramento to increase funding for higher education, and gave voice to students who revealed the real consequences of budget cuts and increased tuition fees; and
Whereas: 
in additional to his intense, often irrational thralldom to the San Francisco Giants, Shawn Whalen epitomizes an ardent and resilient liberalism, open to and appreciative of different ideas, opinions, and judgments, all of this founded on the conviction that, in the words of Kenneth Burke, humanity “is rotten with perfection”; and
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen will be remembered by Provost Rosser for the ways in which he made connections and communications among different constituencies on campus and skillful maneuvering, to avoid disaster, while facilitating new initiatives; and
Whereas: 
President Wong reminds us “Shawn’s commitment to students and this university was exceptional. His contributions to our relationship with the school district and to the neighborhoods were critical to the future of San Francisco. He set a standard of excellence that matched his genuineness and kindness to many.”; and
Whereas: 
former President Robert A Corrigan reminds us that, “Good universities become great universities because of faculty members like Shawn Whalen. As a first rate classroom teacher, dedicated debate coach, outstanding head of the Academic Senate, Chair of UPAC, and assistant to two university presidents, Shawn has contributed significantly to the success of San Francisco State University and we are all indebted to him.”; and
Whereas: 
Shawn Whalen, will be completing a remarkable eighteen-year career at San Francisco State University, and his ability to listen and thoughtful determination has established appreciated standards for the faculty, staff, and students who enter these chambers; NOW THEREFORE BE IT
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate of San Francisco State University express their heartfelt gratitude by commending Shawn Whalen for his commitment, leadership and service as an administrator, challenger, debate coach, teacher, and mentor of students and senators that made San Francisco State University a better campus community, and wish him well in all his future endeavors; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate grant Shawn Whalen the title of Pontifex Maximus Omnium, “The Greatest Bridge Builder of All,” for the legacy of collegiality with which he has endowed us.