SJSU in the News: Silicon Valley Companies Invest in SJSU Effort to Increase Number and Diversity of Engineering Students

Pizarro: Silicon Valley firms give million-dollar boost to San Jose State engineering program

Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News June 16, 2011

By Sal Pizarro

Silicon Valley companies, led by KLA-Tencor and Xilinx, are investing in a San Jose State program to help ensure that the Bay Area continues to produce a steady stream of engineers.

The firms, which also include Cisco Systems, Intel and Aruba Networks, have pledged $1 million in donations over the next five years to the Engineering Pathways to Success program that’s part of San Jose State’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. KLA-Tencor and Xilinx have each committed $250,000 over five years.

Engineering Pathways to Success is a public-private initiative that tries to steer middle school and high school students into college engineering programs — and eventually into engineering jobs. More than 2,000 students in 23 Bay Area schools are participating in the program, which is founded on a nationally known curriculum called Project Lead the Way. Another 20 schools in the Bay Area plan to offer classes with the curriculum in the fall.

“Silicon Valley is the innovation engine of the world, and we need to make sure we are providing enough homegrown engineering talent to keep it running,” Don Kassing, San Jose State’s interim president, said in a statement.

The incoming SJSU president, Mo Qayoumi, has an electrical engineering degree, so he knows something about how important engineers are to Silicon Valley’s success.

HIGH-FLYING SHOW: Paul Richardson, executive director of SJSU’s Alumni Association, says anyone who enjoyed the association’s “Beach Blanket Babylon” fundraiser couple of years ago will get a kick out of its upcoming Viva Variete benefit.

The June 28 show at the San Jose Rep will feature acrobats, jugglers, contortionists and magicians. And there’s a preshow reception featuring wine tasting, a silent auction and costumed characters.

Tickets, which range from $80 to $125, are available at www.vivavariete.com or by calling 408-367-7255.

Contact Sal Pizarro at 408-627-0940 or spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at www.facebook.com/mercurynews.aroundtown and Twitter.com/spizarro.

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