August 3, 2018


Sunday, October 14, 3 - 5 pm

We are delighted to welcome Urban alum Elizabeth Rynecki ('87) for our fall UrbanReads. Elizabeth's book Chasing Portraits, published by Penguin Random House, is a memoir of her quest to find the art of her Polish-Jewish great-grandfather, Moshe Rynecki, lost during World War II.

Chasing Portraits is "a miraculous story of heartbreaking loss and spine-tingling discovery. In her search for her great-grandfather's paintings, Elizabeth Rynecki becomes a genealogist, an art historian, a detective, a crusader for justice, and a time traveler, peering through windows and into paintings to unearth her family's past. Her memoir will break your heart, but it will have you cheering wildly too because every new discovery is a triumph of art and love over hatred and loss."—Amy Stewart, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Drunken Botanist.

Elizabeth also produced a documentary about the project which was recently screened at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

UrbanReads, open to current parents, alumni, alumni parents and their guests, will kick off with wine and hors d'oeuvres in the Salkind Center Alumni Blues Lounge at 3 pm. We hope you can join us! Please RSVP here.

All-Alumni Reunion 2018
We are looking forward to welcoming all Urban alums and their guests back to Urban for this year's All-Alumni Reunion! Festivities will include an alumni basketball round robin tournament in our Salkind Center Gym with music, food and drink for fans in the Student Commons next to the court, a special "Classes Without Quizzes" in a classroom upstairs from the court (topic and faculty to be announced) and then a reception with live music, drinks and nibbles in the Old Library on our Page Street campus.

Partners and children are welcome and you may come for as little or as much of the program as your schedule allows. Watch your inboxes for invitations and be sure to RSVP so we can plan!

Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20


Decade celebrations for the classes ending in "8" are being planned and will be held at various locations and times. Please email us if you would like to make sure an event happens for your class.

Class of 1998 alums - see your event info below!

Saturday, October 20


3 - 5 pm

All alums, regardless of athletic ability, are invited to join us for a Round Robin Basketball Tournament! Don your vintage UrbanWear and come and play (or cheer).


4 - 5 pm

Alums and guests can join us in a classroom above the gym for an Urban-style class (topic and faculty member TBA).


5 - 7 pm

All alums, faculty, former faculty and their guests are invited to join us for a festive reception in the Old Library in our Page Street campus. Enjoy live music, delicious food and drink and company with old and new Urban friends and family.


7:30 pm

SF Athletic Club

Class of 1998: After the All-Alumni reception at Urban ends at 7 pm, the festivities will continue at Ezra Berman's ('98) SF Athletic Club on Divisadero and Bush. More details to follow.


Message from Scott Foster, Urban's Performing Arts Chair

Dear Urban Jazz Band Alumni:

On Wednesday, August 29, I am inviting any former Urban Jazz Banders to come and speak with our current jazz band students as we kick off a new school year. We've had few folks stop by over the last few years and it has been awesome. Please email me or LeRoy if you are available to come by. We will be meeting from 10:50 - 11:50 am with lunch on Haight Street after for anyone who is available to stay.

Whether you are currently involved in music making or not it has been really great for the jazzbanders to hear stories from your experience in the Urban Jazz program, in college and beyond.

Wishing you all the best,

Scott Foster

2017-18 Annual Report

In case you missed it, Urban's Annual Report from the 2016-17 school year (our 50th Anniversary year) featuring memories from our celebratory weekend is available here. We hope you enjoy seeing more of life at Urban within these pages including photos and reflections from the November, 2016 anniversary celebration.


Special Note from our Alum Ambassador LeRoy Votto

Dear Urban Alum Community,

Your enthusiastic support for The Dan Murphy Fund for Educational Innovation and Faculty Growth was a resounding success with 214 donors raising nearly $50,000 for the professional development of our current and future faculty. We deeply appreciate your support and your generosity. Thank you!!

This effort meant a lot to me personally. Dan Murphy enriched the lives of so many Urban students over his 50 year tenure at Urban. He was the epitome of a teacher who was perpetually learning and was deeply immersed in the topic at hand -- whether it was on the Miranda Rights or free speech issue in Con Law; or Joan of Arc, the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the Council of Trent in Medieval Europe; the Long March, the Chinese Revolution in Modern China, or the literary impact of George Orwell in his Orwell course. We believed a fitting Urban tribute to Dan Murphy was to establish an endowed fund in his name to sustain Urban's commitment to faculty learning and innovation. 

I can personally attest to the vital importance of professional development in my teaching. In my years at Urban I attended four professional development programs including one on the "1787 Constitutional Convention" (a NEH grant) at SUNY, Binghamton and another NEH grant on antebellum literature at the University of  Kansas. I had the opportunity to deeply immerse myself in each of the topics, to think deeply about what I was learning from the texts I was reading. I returned to Urban with a deeper knowledge of each topic -- and with more nuanced questions to pose to myself and to my students. 

It is exciting to see the next generation of Urban teachers and students benefit from Urban's commitment to professional growth and innovative teaching and learning practices. Thank you Urban Alums for your wonderful support!

All my very best --- and Go Blues!



UrbanReads - Chasing Portraits

Author Elizabeth Rynecki ('87)

Sunday, October 14,  3-5 pm Salkind Center



All-Alumni Reunion

Saturday, October 20

At Urban

3 – 5 pm

Basketball Round Robin Tournament in the Sakind Center Gym

4 – 5 pm

Classes without Quizzes in a Salkind Center Classroom

5 – 7 pm

All-Alumni Reception in the Old Library, Page Street Campus

7:30 pm

20 Year Reunion for the Class of 1998, SF Athletic Club



Jazz Band Panel with Urban Alums


Wednesday, August 29, 10:50 am

The Shed, Page Street Campus


Class Days including Alumni visits with Urban Sophomores


Friday, October 19

At Urban

Fall Production


Wednesday, Nov 7, 4:30 - 6:45 pm

Thurs - Sat, Nov 8 - 10, 7:30 - 9:30 pm

Winter Music Concert


Sunday, December 16, 5 - 8 pm

Herbst Theater


Cris Beam ('90)'s recent book I Feel You: The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy, published by Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt, is "a thoughtful exploration of empathy in all its form" as noted by The NY Times in this review.


Erin Berg ('08): We love reading about our alum-owned businesses in the news. The SF Chronicle carried this piece on Kipper Clothiers in May.


Torbin Bullock ('89 ) was in Ireland last month speaking at a special screening of Toy Story - he spoke about his career path and advice for anyone trying to break into the film industry. "The cornerstone of your career is built on having two of three years of people saying, 'Hey can you do this thing', 'Can you start tomorrow?' and you say 'Yeah.'" Read the full interview here. 


Bobby Chinn ('82) has joined the lineup for the 19th annual highly anticipated World Gourmet Festival in Bangkok. If you find yourself in Thailand in September Bobby's festival dinner will be held on September 8!

Gabby Lang ('97): Congrats to Gabby La La and Snow Angel for being named one of DoTheBay's Eight Local Artists to Hear Right Now!

Maggie Nelson ('90): Soft Skull Press recently reissued Maggie's book of poetry, Something Bright, Then Holes. The Paris Review carried an interview with Maggie about the work and the experience of having it reissued 10 years after its first release.

Jes Tom ('09): Congratulations to Jes who was named Funny Human of the Week by BYT - BrighestYoungThings.com!

In Memorium

We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of alum Rita Cruz ('96) after a five year battle with cancer. Rita was an artistic and vibrant presence at Urban -- and a steadfast friend to her classmates many of whom she stayed connected with over the years. Our hearts go out to her friends and family.


For questions about BluesNotes or other alumni communications please email us.


1563 Page St. San Francisco, CA 94117 | 415 626 2919

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