George Moscone & Leo McCarthy

Two of SI’s best known politicians graduated in the 1940s — George Moscone ’47 and Leo McCarthy ’48.

George Moscone’s senior yearbook caption included the following: “A devotee to athletics and ROTC, he was mentioned on several All-City basketball selections, having played on various school teams since his freshman year. He won the first year elocution contest and was a three-year baseballer. The ‘Bambino’ will attend St. Mary’s with Herman Wedemeyer.”

Born to working-class parents November 24, 1929, Moscone went on to SI where he excelled at basketball, earning all-city honors and an athletic scholarship to college. He played for Phil Woolpert, and, along with Cap Lavin, helped the team earn its second AAA championship. He was also a good speaker, as his victory in the Frosh Elocution Contest indicated.

After graduating from college and Hastings Law School, he married Gina Bodanza, his childhood sweetheart, and they had four children. (Two of those children, Chris Moscone ’80 and Jonathan Moscone ’82, were in class at SI the day their father died. His granddaughter, Zea Moscone, is a member of SI’s class of 2008.)

He became involved in San Francisco politics through John and Phillip Burton and won elections for supervisor, state senator and San Francisco Mayor. A champion for civil rights and the interests of the poor and working class, Moscone was a popular mayor. On November 27, 1978, he and Supervisor Harvey Milk were gunned down by former Supervisor Dan White. That night, 40,000 people marched in a candlelight vigil to honor Moscone and Milk. (More on this in Chapter XI.)

Leo McCarthy was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and immigrated with his parents to California when he was 3 years old. At SI he made the track team and competed in shot put. He later earned a Bachelor’s degree in history from USF in 1955. He married Jacqueline Burke, and they have four children, two of whom attended SI — Adam ’83 and Niall ’85. (Leo’s grandchildren Courtney Allen ’97 and Kevin Allen ’00 also attended SI.)

In 1964, he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (along with Moscone) and later served as California Assembly Speaker for six years in the 1970s followed by a 12-year stint as Lieutenant Governor. In his many years of public service, he is credited for his efforts in education, health and the environment. (He also made a point of driving to his San Francisco home every day from Sacramento to be with his family.) He is a longtime SI supporter who attends many of the school’s events and was a featured speaker at a Downtown Business Lunch in the 1990s.