- Barbro Osher
San Francisco State University
Barbro Osher, Honorary Consul General of Sweden in San Francisco, is a philanthropist with broad interests and a broad reach. As chair of the board of The Bernard Osher Foundation, she helps to direct one of the nation's largest and most generous philanthropic organizations. She also has a leadership role in the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Fund and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, of which she is the president.
The Osher Foundation focuses strongly on higher education. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI), a growing national network of campus-linked programs—some 120 to date—offer classes and special programs for older adults. San Francisco State has an OLLI program. The Osher Foundation also supports medical education centers that integrate conventional and alternative approaches to research and treatment. The three current centers are housed at the University of California, San Francisco; Harvard University; and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Both through the Bernard Osher Foundation and her own Pro Suecia Foundation, Mrs. Osher has a strong association with San Francisco State University. The Osher Foundation has made a number of gifts to SF State, four of them seven-figure gifts. Through donations from the Pro Suecia Foundation and direct personal involvement, Consul General Osher has for more than a decade worked closely with the university to generate and support art exhibits and special programs that have brought SF State into partnership with such major arts organizations as San Francisco's de Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Canada and the Shanghai Museum.
Mrs. Osher has received a number of honors and awards, including, from Sweden, His Majesty the King's Medal in 2002. In 2010, Barbro and Bernard Osher were among the earliest signatories to the Giving Pledge—a challenge issued by billionaire Warren Buffet asking the wealthiest families and individuals in the U.S. to commit at least 50 percent of their wealth to charitable causes. As Barbro Osher once stated, "We want to give in life."
In recognition of her wise and generous contributions to higher education and the greater society, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Francisco State University are proud to confer upon Barbro Osher the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.