Ms. Downing was chosen as student speaker at the graduation, where she spoke to a class of more than 8,000 students and their guests. She was also chosen to receive the symbolic hood at commencement on behalf of all the students in the College of Business.
Graduating with a bachelor's degree in hospitality and tourism management, Ms. Downing is already putting her training into practice. For the past year, she has combined studies with a full-time job as a food and beverage manager at the country club, where she leads a staff of 35.
During her last year at San Francisco State, Ms. Downing served as event chair for Taste of the Bay, the annual food and wine fundraiser for the department of hospitality and tourism management. The event raised $145,000, providing funds for more than 15 student scholarships.