Honors Convocation 2019: We Are Always Learning

More than 1,300 President's Scholars were recognized at Honors Convocation May 3 in the Event Center at SJSU. Photo by Brandon Chew

More than 1,300 President’s Scholars were recognized at Honors Convocation May 3 in the Event Center at SJSU for achieving a 4.0 GPA in spring or fall 2018. Photo by Brandon Chew

San Jose State University celebrated its top students May 3 at the 57th Annual Honors Convocation in the Event Center at SJSU. This year 1,342 President’s Scholars were honored for achieving a 4.0 grade point average in spring or fall 2018 to a crowd of their family, friends, faculty and staff members.

President Mary A. Papazian shakes hands with a President Scholar at Honors Convocation on May 3. Photo by Brandon Chew

President Mary A. Papazian shakes hands with a President Scholar at Honors Convocation on May 3. Photo by Brandon Chew

“They have worked hard to acquire the knowledge that will prepare them for their chosen careers and to be engaged citizens in our community and beyond. In short, these students epitomize what it means to be a Spartan,” Interim Provost Joan Ficke, wrote in the event program.

During the ceremony, the college deans helped to recognize the President’s Scholars from their colleges, with students invited

The 2018-19 Outstanding Professor Susan Verducci offered an inspiring keynote speech to students in the top

President Scholar Kristine Leanos poses for a photo with her certificate during Honors Convocation May 3. Photo by Brandon Chew

President Scholar Kristine Leanos poses for a photo with her certificate during Honors Convocation May 3. Photo by Brandon Chew

5 percent, their family and friends. Verducci, who is an associate professor of Humanities who has helped to establish the Integrated Teacher Education Program at SJSU, asked students to think back to their kindergarten days. She shared writer Robert Fulghum’s list of things student learn in those early school days that remain valuable throughout their life: share, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, and so on.

“The liberal education all students earn at SJSU aims to help them understand how these simple ethical concepts map in extraordinary complex ways onto our relationships with others, (both near and far), our relationship with the environment, and our political lives,” she said.

Verducci shared a bit about her educational journey will highlighting for students other important lessons about learning: it requires jumping into the unknown; learning is hard; it requires that you stop and consider; and learning requires humility.

“This we learn in school, especially in schools like San Jose State, where engaging with diverse others is akin to breathing,” she said. “My wish for you is that you continue to remember that we are always learning…We are always learning, an army of learners arriving each morning, ready and excited to learn, and perhaps a little scared to jump.”

John Yumul holds up his Honors Convocation certificate during the May 3 event. Photo by Brandon Chew

John Yumul holds up his Honors Convocation certificate during the May 3 event. Photo by Brandon Chew

The Office of the Provost reached out to department chairs to nominate some of these students who are in the top 5 percent to share a few words about why they chose their major, who influenced them and what makes them a Spartan for a Featured Stories site.

In addition to the President’s Scholars, 5,429 students also made the Dean’s Scholars list for achieving a 3.65 GPA in spring or fall 2018. All Dean’s Scholars were recognized with certificates from their College Dean’s Office.