Marjorie Stern

Marjorie Stern

Marjorie H. Stern was inducted into the SF State Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995. She was a teacher, unionist, author, senior and women’s rights advocate as well as a founding member of both the Coalition of Labor Union Women and the AFT Women’s Rights Committee.

Marjorie graduated from high school in Chicago during the Great Depression. She immediately wanted to enroll in college courses, but faced financial hardship as well as opposition from her family. “My father said I was only a girl and was going to get married anyways. I still wanted to go to college. I always wanted to go to college. I guess I felt I was worth going to college." Stern saved while working in Chicago. She supported her husband through his own graduate education. After the birth of her fourth child left Marjorie functionally blind for six months, she was more determined than ever to obtain her own higher education: “I decided during that long, dark period, I would go back to school, no matter what it took.”

Working as a secretary and mothering four children, she started college at age 36 at San Francisco State University and graduated 4th in her class, receiving her bachelor’s degree from SF State in 1958. After obtaining her degree, Stern taught American History and Government, English and Home Economics at Galileo High School for 22 years, “Women in the Labor Force” and related skills courses at night at SF Community College for five years, and “Women in Unions” at SF State for one year.

Over her life, Marjorie received numerous honors for her efforts for women, educators and senior citizens, including from the National Organization of Women, CLUW, and the Senior Action Network. She established this scholarship to give back to SF State, which gave her “a chance at the age of 36 to become a student and not be discriminated against because I was a woman.” The Marjorie H. Stern Scholarship supports women’s rights and social justice by helping Women and Gender Studies (WGS) students in immediate financial need remain in school.


“Receiving the Marjorie Stern Scholarship was an honor. This scholarship helped me focus more on my studies and worry less about my medical expenses. I had a huge medical bill that I was not sure how to cover. Because of this scholarship, I was able to both pursue my studies and pay off everything I owed.”
~ Samukezi Ngubane, M.A. 2016, Recipient of Marjorie Stern Graduate Scholarship

“I offer my sincerest gratitude to the WGS Department scholarship committee for the Marjorie Stern undergraduate scholarship award. Receiving this scholarship helped me pay for a semester’s worth book rentals, printing fees and transportation costs. In addition, the award helped ease some of the stress of a serious computer crash and data loss. It was a true blessing and an honor to have been selected for such a distinguished award.”
~ Sharron Watts, B.A. 2016, Recipient of the Marjorie Stern Undergraduate Scholarship