A second-generation GGU alumna, Angelica Michela facilitated a gift from the estate her father, Alfred V. Sanguinetti, whose GGU education laid the groundwork for a legendary career at Levi Strauss & Co. Below are excerpts from a speech given by Angelica Michela at the Bridge Society Luncheon on December 8, 2024.
My grandparents hail from Italy and worked for iconic San Francisco companies—my grandfather worked in the Ghirardelli chocolate factory, as a laborer schlepping bags of cocoa, and my grandmother sewed jeans in the factories of Levi Strauss & Co. on Valencia Street. Growing up in North Beach and the Marina, my father lettered in football in high school, after which he was drafted to fight to Korea. Before and after his military service, he worked at Levi’s, starting as a pick packer in the warehouse. There, the goods came in and out in wooden crates. He took the wood home which provided free firewood for the family. In that same warehouse, he uncovered a bunch of old jeans from the early 1900s and he paid half a day’s wages—$3—for a pair of jeans that I still own.
At Levi’s, he met his wife and they married in North Beach. He started night school at GGU, taking advantage of the GI bill . He remembers that he and his buddies would sit in the back of the classroom smoking cigars back in those days! He gained invaluable quantitative analytical skills, earning his BS in 1961 and his MBA in 1965. He continued his rise at Levi’s for 36 years, considered by many industry pros to be one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the world of denim. President of jeanswear, he also oversaw product integrity and western wear—outfitting cowboys and cowgirls competing in rodeos—eventually sitting on the board of directors. He produced a catalog a couple of times a year and, to save money, he used my brothers and I as models.
I’m proud to share that I followed in his footsteps. I would go to work with him on Saturdays and pretend to be a fashion designer. I graduated from UC Davis, studying textiles and clothing, and worked down the street from GGU for Koret, a major women’s wear company, for over 32 years. Just like my father I earned my MBA at GGU, and met my husband at work.
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