Celebration Begins at 9:30 a.m. April 20 in the SJSU Event Center
Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999
SAN JOSE, Calif., — Many years ago, the son of a carpenter in Kabul, Afghanistan, crossed town to go to the very best school he could to pursue a dream that would take him to the top of the profession he came to love and respect more than any other. At 9:30 a.m. April 20 at the SJSU Event Center, Mohammad H. Qayoumi will be formally invested as the 28th president of San José State University.
“This is a momentous occasion for me personally and for my family,” Qayoumi wrote in remarks drafted for the occasion. “It strengthens my belief that our great nation is truly a land of opportunity. For where else can the son of a carpenter with only an elementary school education from a war-stricken country like Afghanistan become the president of such a historic and vibrant university?”
Qayoumi will be surrounded by dignitaries and friends from around the world who shared his journey, and who support his vision for the future, including his wife Najia Karim, Afghan Ambassador Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed, San José Mayor Chuck Reed, and many university presidents and vice presidents from near and far.
“Together we must not only honor our past but collectively build a bright future for our university,” the president wrote in prepared remarks. “Situated in this cradle of creativity, in this epicenter of innovation … we must have the audacity of imagination and the courage of commitment to look ahead into the future with a resolute sense of urgency, purpose, and destiny, despite the challenges of our times … This is the only way we can continue to transform this great university.”
Reflecting this shared vision for SJSU, faculty members, students and alumni created the watercolor painting, musical score and presidential medallion central to the celebration, as shown in the Spartan Film Studios video. The medallion is an especially poignant symbol of the past, present and future of SJSU. A team comprised of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty and staff members who are alumni poured the medal in a traditional foundry using a laser-cut mold.
The event will begin with a formal academic processional into the Event Center, and end with an outdoor reception including light refreshments for all in attendance. Later, during the early evening, more than 300 university supporters will attend a sold-out inauguration gala at King Library. All proceeds will go toward the Presidential Scholars program. This is a new initiative intended to attract the very best high school students and to offer these students a rigorous program with opportunities for leadership, academics and mentorship, in addition to competitive scholarships.
To highlight the Presidential Scholars program, business executive and alumnus Peter Ueberroth will offer keynote remarks drawing from his leadership experiences as Major League Baseball commissioner and U.S. Olympic Committee chair.
San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.