SJSU in the News: "Engineering Whiz" Selected as 28th President

Cal State East Bay’s Qayoumi to lead San Jose St.

Originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on March 24, 2011.

By Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer

San Jose State University named Mohammad Qayoumi, an engineering whiz who has led Cal State East Bay in Hayward since 2006, as its 28th president Wednesday.

In making the leap across California State University campuses, Qayoumi will trade a small school of fewer than 13,000 students for one of 30,000 that is among CSU’s most popular and crowded destinations.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected,” Qayoumi said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the talented students to ensure they have a rich and rewarding college experience and to prepare them for future success.”

Qayoumi spoke optimistically about his new campus, noting that opportunities “will only be limited by our imagination.” But opportunities will soon be constrained by more than imagination at San Jose and at all 23 CSU campuses.

University trustees announced Tuesday that they will bar the door next fall to 10,000 qualified students, and that each campus will have to reduce the number of employees because California will cut CSU’s funding by at least $500 million.

Imagination helped define Qayoumi’s five-year tenure at Cal State East Bay, long a campus of last resort in the CSU system that attracted mainly older and part-time students who declined to live on campus.

But Qayoumi, who has five engineering degrees, imagined it as the go-to school for science, technology, engineering and math education.

He recently pulled in more than $2 million in grants toward that goal, and created new programs in health and environmental fields. A vigorous outreach program at area high schools has more than doubled the number of students living on campus, and led to a steady increase in first-time freshmen.

“He leaves the university well positioned for future expansion, increased excellence and growing prominence,” said James Houpis, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cal State East Bay.

Qayoumi will join San Jose State next summer, succeeding interim President Don Kassing.

CSU trustees are expected to appoint an interim president at Cal State East Bay before selecting a new president.

Another Bay Area college with a new president is the private Dominican University in San Rafael. The campus has chosen Mary Marcy as the ninth president in its 121-year history. She succeeds Joseph Fink.

Marcy has been vice president of Bard College in upstate New York since 2004.

E-mail Nanette Asimov at

This article appeared on page C – 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle