Last week, I was discussing John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie: in Search of America with faculty and friends. We were brainstorming how this text could inspire our students and fellow citizens to re-imagine our collective American journey to discover this nation’s collective values.
Sitting with colleagues in the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies drew together so many wonderful things about our college: the generosity of our donors, such as former faculty member Martha Heasley Cox, who recently donated more than $4.8 million to support scholarship and burgeoning writers through the center she founded; our committed faculty, who strive every day to make our students more intellectually and ethically engaged; and our community friends who recognize the good that we do as an institution and help us achieve our goals. This is one of many joyful moments in a dean’s life.
This fall, San José State welcomed 4,500 freshmen and 4,500 new transfer students to campus—the largest entering class in the university’s history. We are working diligently to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and relationships they need to excel in their course work and their lifelong careers.
And we do a great job of this, providing our students an extraordinary AND affordable education. I am so proud that SJSU has been ranked 7th in the United States at raising graduates’ standard of living by a recent study.
In the College of Humanities and the Arts, we prepare our students to be creators, thinkers, and innovators. This issue of Expressions highlights those successes, such as Genevieve Eckel, whose training in the Music program prepared her for her graduate studies at NYU.
Our ability to provide top-notch arts education is supported by our faculty. Last year, two of our faculty, Brian Belet of the School of Music and Dance and Persis Karim of the English and Comparative Literature Department, were awarded the highly competitive President’s Scholar and the Outstanding Professor awards. When our faculty and students collaborate together, the results are amazing. This year, Reed Magazine celebrates 150 years. It is the oldest literary magazine west of the Mississippi, and it is produced by our own students working with a faculty advisor.
That same energy of talented students and committed faculty results in amazing arts performances, such as the second annual Kaleidoscope showcase by the School of Music and Dance on October 21 and Picasso at the Lapin Agile produced by the Department of Film and Theater on November 3 – 10.
With the world-class Hammer Theatre Center as a venue for our best student actors, writers, singers, and dancers, we power creativity at San José State and in the Silicon Valley.
We embody the values of the humanities and the arts, and we make our students’ dreams come true. We invite you to join us this fall for performances, lectures, art exhibits, and literary readings to see the power of the arts in action.