Few faculty members have had as broad and deep an impact on our institution as Dr. Sally Veregge, Professor of Biological Sciences, who passed away on September 22 after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. Sally’s commitment to the university was expressed in many facets. She served as the chair of the Academic Senate from 2005-2006, and as Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences from 1999 to 2006. Sally believed passionately in the SJSU Mission of preparing students for exciting roles in the 21st century workforce, and was a strong guiding force behind the development of the Master’s program in Biotechnology (for which she served as program director or co-Director from 2006-2012), the Clinical Lab Sciences Program, and the Department of Biological Sciences’ Stem Cell training initiatives. All of these programs provided their graduates with rich training and valuable work experience that greatly increased their chances of finding employment on the cutting edge of their disciplines.
Sally recognized that many emerging areas in the sciences occur at the boundary between disciplines and that employers in industry value employees who have scientific expertise, the ability to work in teams, and business skills such as project management and the ability to develop compelling business plans. To that end, she was instrumental in establishing collaborations between the colleges of Science and Business for the Master’s in Biotechnology and in encouraging students from that program and elsewhere in the college to successfully compete in events such as the annual Neat Ideas Fair (now renamed the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge).
Her own career and educational path modeled this breadth of interests. Earning a bachelor’s in Biology from UC Davis, Master’s degrees in Nursing and Biology from CSU Fresno, and a doctorate in Neuroscience from Baylor University’s College of Medicine.
Dr. Veregge also was instrumental in inspiring young women in our region to pursue education towards STEM careers, principally through her involvement in Expanding Your Horizons, an annual program that brought around 800 middle school women to campus each year to learn from campus mentors who successfully pursued careers in Science and Engineering.
Sally had many friends across campus and throughout the community. She was as active in her church and in her community as she was at SJSU. A celebration of Sally Veregge’s life will be held on October 19 from 330-530 PM in Washington Square 109.