Bonnie Hale

Three words that describe me:

Thorough: I once had a teacher who used to say, “Twice the thought and half the paint makes the picture.”  When I tackle a project, resources allowing, I do it all the way.

Outspoken: I have asked just about every stupid question imaginable and am not afraid to share how I perceive things. I don’t mind being wrong.

Advocate: As an engaged world citizen, I work on issues that are important to me, and fully participate in the legislative process.

Favorite colleges:  

I have three favorite colleges – Cambridge University, Reed College, and San Francisco State University.

Cambridge is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. If you arrive there at dusk, you can see the outline of the medieval architecture against the pale sky and sense the presence of ghosts past: Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and other intellectual giants who pondered their science on those ancient grounds. It is awe-inspiring.

Reed College in Portland, Oregon, fosters critical thinking and creativity. It is where I fell in love with poetry and met 20th-century literary greats like Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg.

San Francisco State University is not an Ivy, but I love it for its diversity, its dedication to community, and its institutionalization of service as a path to learning.

Special moment in my career:  

I have been very fortunate these past few years to work with a cadre of special students at San Francisco State who, at one time, were incarcerated. I had to confront my own fears and prejudices and was able to witness the incredible transformative power education has in helping students turn their lives around. These students’ intellectual capabilities, motivation, and academic achievements are truly inspirational. Two of the students I worked with have earned Master’s degrees and are now university lecturers.

If you were 16 years old again, what would you do differently?  

The saying, “Hindsight is 20/20” is true.

When I was 16, my parents expected me to go to college, and I thought a degree was merely a path to a well-paying job. I did not reflect on the civic or global implications of what it meant to be privileged to have an education, or how I could make connections between what I was learning and becoming a change agent. I was a dreamer, but if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t be afraid to dream MUCH bigger, to ask for what I needed,  to reject other people’s notions of what I could or could not do, and to risk failure more often.

Describe your ideal student:

I love to see students who are excited about learning, who aren’t afraid of taking chances and making mistakes, and who are self-motivated. In education, we call those “learner-centered learners,” like I believe Albert Einstein, Jimi Hendrix, and Charles Darwin were.

Bonnie Hale, Advisor

Bonnie began her undergraduate studies in Creative Writing and has professional experience with most forms of writing and editing, including writing for electronic media. She has more than 20 years of professional experience in higher education, beginning as an assistant editor for an academic research journal, 16 years at Stanford University, where she was an editor and writer, and worked with new faculty to help them develop peer-reviewed journal articles and grant proposals. Most recently, she was lead writer and editor for the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at San Francisco State University. There, she edited multi-chapter service learning monographs, wrote applications for national awards and letters of recommendation on behalf of two university presidents and the Institute director, and mentored students.


  • Stanford Publishing Courses: All phases of professional publishing.
    Professional copyediting with Karen Judd, editing manager at McGraw Hill, Inc.
  • M.A., Education, San Francisco State University
  • B.A., English, San Francisco State University.
    Poetry workshops with Kathleen Fraser and the late Stan Rice