San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian has been named Woman of the Year for the state’s 28th Assembly District by State Assemblymember Evan Low, an SJSU alumnus.
Papazian received the honor today at a ceremony during the California Legislative Women’s Caucus in Sacramento. She was one of a select group of women who were so honored by state senators and assemblymembers to mark Women’s History Month.
“I am both grateful for and honored by this distinction, and for Assemblymember Low’s strong support of San Jose State and our students,” Papazian said. “But none of us succeed alone, and women especially know the immense value of professional networks and collaboration in helping us achieve our goals. This honor is a testament to the generosity, hard work and support of my colleagues and peers at SJSU and throughout the CSU system.”
Since 1987, the Legislative Women’s Caucus has set aside a day in March to honor those women who are having a positive impact in their California communities.
The event has become a signature event for the California State Legislature. Both the Assembly and Senate pause from their daily routines to celebrate and encourage women of all ages to pursue lives of service.
“Since becoming San Jose State University’s 30th president in 2016, Dr. Papazian has had a track record of strong leadership that centers on her core commitment to the success of students,” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “As a proud alumnus of San Jose State University, I am proud to recognize President Papazian with this award.”
Papazian joined San Jose State University as its 30th president on July 1, 2016. As the leader of the founding campus of the California State University and Silicon Valley’s only public university, she is firmly committed to student success; open, transparent and inclusive leadership; fostering a culture of curiosity and discovery; and building enduring campus and community partnerships.
Papazian is currently focused on revitalizing communication among and between campus leaders, students, faculty and staff; energizing alumni, supporters and friends of the university; meaningfully elevating engagement with elected, industry and community leaders on important regional policy issues; empowering people across the university singularly to focus on student success; inclusively assessing opportunities to enhance operational effectiveness; and articulating an aspirational vision for SJSU to be America’s preeminent urban public university.
Notable milestones at SJSU since Papazian’s appointment include approval of plans to build a Science and Innovation Complex (the first planned expansion of academic facilities in more than three decades); and the launch of an Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change.
Papazian is actively engaged in national and regional volunteer leadership, serving on the boards of Higher Education Resource Services, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Bay Area Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
Papazian holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. She and husband Dr. Dennis R. Papazian, founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, have two adult daughters.