Francisco Jiménez to Receive Steinbeck Award

Fsco-head-shot-photo-2016-360x342

Francisco Jiménez (courtesy of Santa Clara University)

SJSU Media Relations Contact:
Pat Harris, pat.harris@sjsu.edu, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Educator, author, and advocate for social justice Francisco Jiménez will receive the John Steinbeck Award at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) on Wednesday, September 28, in the Student Union Theater at San Jose State University. A highlight of the university’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the event will feature a conversation between Jiménez and Chicano political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz.

Proceeds from the event benefit SJSU’s Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center. Camino Arts, a non-profit arts initiative, is a pro bono co-producer of this event. Tickets ($20 general, $10 student) are available at the Event Center Box Office (408-924-6333) or at ticketmaster.com.

Like the Joad family in Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, the Jiménez family came to California looking for a better life but found mostly hardship and struggle. Born in Mexico in 1943, Jiménez spent much of his childhood moving around California with no permanent home or regular schooling. Against incredible odds he went on to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor at his alma mater, Santa Clara University. His accolades include the CASE/Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year in 2002.

His critically-acclaimed books for young readers, including The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, have given voice to families like his and introduced a generation of American children to the plight of migrant laborers in our country.

More information is available on the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies’ website.

President Papazian Delivers First Formal Speech to SJSU Community

Media Contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – President Mary Papazian introduced herself to the SJSU community, reflected on the university’s legacy, and shared her optimism about its future at the Fall Welcome Address, held noon Aug. 25 in the Student Union Ballroom.

This was President Papazian’s first formal speech to the campus community since taking office July 1. Academic Senate Chair Michael Kimbarow opened the event and welcome attendees. The speech is an annual tradition marking the start of the academic year.

All students, faculty, staff, community members and the news media were invited to attend. The event was streamed live.

Read the president’s prepared remarks.


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 31,200 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

Update: University Housing

SJSU Campus Village 2 window view, courtesy of University Housing Services

SJSU Campus Village 2 window view, courtesy of University Housing Services

This morning, the Office of the President emailed the following message on Campus Village 2 to all faculty, staff and students.

Dear Campus Community,

This weekend, thousands of Spartans will move into our residence halls. This includes 820 frosh assigned to be the first residents of Campus Village 2, our newest tower.

SJSU Campus Village 2 desk view, courtesy of University Housing Services

SJSU Campus Village 2 desk view, courtesy of University Housing Services

While this building was scheduled for completion this month, we have determined that it is not yet suitable for housing our students. Campus Village 2 residents will be housed temporarily in available spaces in other residence halls.

You can read more about this on the Housing Services website.

Sincerely,

Office of the President

Special Announcement: Track and Field

A special announcement will be made about the future of track and field at San Jose State at 11 a.m. Aug. 1 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture.

Speed City's legacy lives on August 1.

Speed City’s legacy lives on August 1.

Olympians Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Lee Evans, Ed Burke and John Powell are among the many Spartan luminaries from the Speed City era who plan to travel to campus for the event. SJSU President Mary Papazian, Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will participate in this announcement. All faculty, staff, students and members of the public are invited to attend.

SJSU’s men’s track and field program was once world renowned for the caliber of its athletes and for an uncommon dedication to the advancement of human rights. Unfortunately, the program was discontinued in spring 1988 amid a reallocation of university resources.

The special announcement will be streamed live on the university’s website.

President Releases Statement on Campus Safety

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on June 29, 2016.

All,

As you may know, a shooting occurred near the intersection of South 11th and East San Antonio streets yesterday, leaving one victim dead and another gravely wounded. This occurred one block east of campus and within the jurisdiction of the San Jose Police Department.

Although few details have been released by police investigators, it has been determined that the victims are not SJSU students, faculty or staff members. That said, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

I was deeply shaken by this news. The shooting occurred in a neighborhood where many students and other members of the SJSU community live or regularly walk. Our location—in the heart of Silicon Valley and in an increasingly vibrant downtown—is a significant asset. It provides our students with numerous professional and community service opportunities, as well as a rich residential and cultural life. We are working closely with the city of San Jose and other community partners to further enhance and enrich life in our city. If there is one certainty in all of this, it is that we all want a community with less crime and that is safe for everyone.

I would like to express particular concern for those most affected by yesterday’s events, including students living in nearby homes, apartments, sororities and fraternities, and I would like to thank these students for their patience while South 11th Street was closed to traffic as police secured the area during the early stages of their investigation.

As returning students and many others of you know, the Alert SJSU system sends messages about time-sensitive safety issues. New students are automatically registered for the service; if you are a staff or faculty member, I encourage you to register as well. All registered users can and should periodically update their information to ensure we have the appropriate contact data to connect with you for important safety alerts.

This system issued several alerts yesterday afternoon. While important, these updates can also be frightening. It is worth noting that, compared to other large cities, San Jose is among the nation’s safest urban communities.  We will continue to seek ways to further enhance your safety.

Our Student Affairs staff began outreach to affected students yesterday afternoon; those efforts continue today. Please keep in mind that counseling is available at no cost to students, faculty and staff members.

Sincerely,

Sue Martin, Interim President

SJSU Alumnus Harry Edwards Reflects on Muhammad Ali’s Legacy

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

The following statement should be attributed to pioneering sports sociologist and human rights leader Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology:

I first met Muhammad Ali just before my freshman year at San Jose State. Ali —
then Cassius Clay — was training for the 1960 Rome Olympics at San Jose State in the summer of that year. The boxing coach was Julie Menendez, who was the boxing coach at San Jose State as well. Both Julie and I were from East St. Louis, Ill., and he invited me over to meet some of the boxers — especially the younger ones (Ali was born in January of 1942; I in November of that same year).

Julie warned me that he couldn’t “stop Clay from talking,” and he was right. I thought at the time that “Clay” was “nuts.” Of course he wasn’t nuts, just brashly, wonderfully unique and iconoclastic, especially for a “Negro” athlete in those times. There was no way that I could’ve anticipated that our paths would intersect as they have over the years or the auspices under which that would happen.

It is only when a GIANT passes from among us, and we stand blinking and rubbing our eyes in the glaring reality of our loss, that we come truly to appreciate the extent to which we all have really been just living in his shadow. So it is with Muhammad Ali: He was an athlete of unparalleled brilliance, beauty, and bravado at a time when black athletes (other than the Harlem Globetrotters) were expected to be seen, not heard — silent, self-effacing “producers,” not loquacious, verbose entertaining performers in the arena.

In popular culture, he almost single-handedly deepened our understanding of  “religious freedom” as something more than an American “historical and political cliche.” He influenced people from the most powerful (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, for example) to the most naive college students and “draft vulnerable” youths in the community to rethink their positions on the issue of “war and peace.”

He was the model for generations of athletes on questions of the political relevance of sports and athletes’ activist potential and involvement in political causes, from the Olympic Project for Human Rights in 1968 to the threatened boycott by the University of Missouri black football players in support of University of Missouri students protesting racism on campus in 2015.

He taught us all by word and example that there can be no “for sale” sign, no “price tag” on principles, human dignity, and freedom, among so many of his other contributions. “THE GREATEST?” Compared to who? Compared to what, of his era or any other? “The Greatest” doesn’t begin to truly capture the magnitude and measure of his broad scope, contributions and legacy.

He stood astride the last four decades of the 20th Century like a statuesque athlete colossus, the most recognizable human face on Earth, one foot firmly planted in the sports arena, the other in the world beyond, eventually dwarfing us all in both spheres. His athletic brilliance long since faded, now his very physical presence among us will be missed, but his spirit of principled courage, commitment, and sacrifice will always be with us because it has so penetrated our visions of who we are as a people and impacted our standards of what we should and could become as a society.

It was a blessing and a profound privilege to have known him. WELL DONE, CHAMP, AND GODSPEED, MY BROTHER!

 

SJSU Celebrates 2016 Commencement

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University concluded the year with its largest graduating class ever and a commencement speaker who pulled no punches while telling SJSU’s newest alumni that the fate of the nation rests on their shoulders.

More than 9,000 students received degrees this year, including approximately 2,000 engineering majors, 1,000 business majors, and thousands more majors in the arts and sciences.

They will enter the working world or begin coursework toward advanced degrees as colleges and universities nationwide continue to address campus unrest over race relations, equity and safety.

Harry Edwards

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

There was perhaps no better time for alumnus Harry Edwards to return to serve as the commencement speaker on May 28 in Spartan Stadium. It was his first major address at SJSU since leaving campus in a cloud of controversy a half century ago.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Edwards came to California to attend college, arriving during the middle of the civil rights movement. He finished his degree, and then began a doctoral program at Cornell University while teaching at SJSU.

It was then that he became nationally known as the outspoken leader for the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which exposed the inequities experienced by black athletes representing the nation abroad while fettered by racism at home.

Edwards was a major influence on Tommie Smith and John Carlos, SJSU students and track and field stars who medaled at the 1968 Olympics. They leveraged their moment in the spotlight to take a stand for human rights, then were expelled from the Games and admonished by many, angered by the politicization of the international event.

Once known as a dangerous militant, this year’s commencement speaker is now recognized for his role in the civil rights movement.

“Harry Edwards is a renowned sociologist and author,” Interim President Susan Martin said, adding his contributions “represent the ideals of the California State University and San Jose State University.”

Tribute

Perhaps the most poignant moment of commencement came when Edwards rose to receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the California State University.

CSU Trustee Steven Stepanek bestowed the honor, assisted by John York, co-chair of the San Francisco 49ers. York and Edwards appeared together, a rare glimpse into the personal nature of the relationship between the professor and the team.

In addition to serving as a teacher, author and father, Edwards carves out time to work with the 49ers, something he began back when desegregation of professional sports was fresh and new.

His role has been to help coaches and players from very different backgrounds work and grow together. He was especially close to the late Bill Walsh, the 49ers coach and fellow SJSU alumnus who took the team to three Super Bowls in the 1980s.

A note from Walsh to Edwards is among the items in a new collection at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The video and prepared remarks from today’s speech are available online.

Speech

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Edwards opened with a bit of humor, vowing to keep the speech short: “That’s an exceedingly high bar to achieve — especially for a sociologist!”

His messages were simple: “keep the faith,” “do not be afraid,” “continue the struggle.”

But his thoughts were rooted in the complex academic theories he spent a lifetime studying, discussing and practicing, especially what it means to live in a participatory democracy.

“The difference between a mob and a movement,” he said, “is that a movement not only organizes and mobilizes around an issue — it gets people out to vote!”

In these ways, he addressed the question on everyone’s mind — what can today’s activists learn from those of yesteryear? — while encouraging youths to confront and prevail over the greatest challenges of our time.

“One day,” he concluded, “someone standing at this very podium, overlooking some future graduating class, may well feel compelled to the judgement that you, members of the 2016 San Jose State University graduating class, were part of our ‘greatest generation.’”

Tradition

Edwards’ deep voice thundered through Spartan Stadium, midway through a ceremony steeped in tradition. Top graduates were recognized, beloved professors honored, a moment of silence held in memory of classmates who passed away.

One tradition that takes on extra meaning at SJSU is the moment when the president invites all the graduates to stand and thank family and friends for their support over the years.

Given that more than half of the graduates are the first in their families to earn college degrees, this never fails to bring forth sustained applause from the graduates on the field, and tears from their loved ones in the stands.

Of course there comes a point at any commencement when the graduates can’t hold back any longer, and today was no different. Once again, exuberance erupted as degrees were conferred, tassels moved from left to right, and beach balls appeared.

Congratulations, class of 2016!

See and share photos and messages from commencement with #SJSU16 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

SJSU Appoints CFO / Vice President of Administration and Finance

Charlie Faas

Charlie Faas

Charlie Faas has been appointed chief financial officer and vice president for administration and finance effective June 1. He will serve on the president’s cabinet and report directly to incoming President Mary Papazian.

A seasoned financial executive with three decades of progressive, diverse, private and public sector experience, Faas most recently served as CEO of the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano, a non-profit organization selected by the State Department to ensure a strong U.S. presence at the 2015 World’s Fair in Milan, Italy.

For ten years prior to that, Faas was executive vice president and CFO for Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the business enterprise of the National Hockey League’s San Jose franchise. He also served on the executive board of the team’s non-profit foundation. In these capacities, he interacted closely and productively with many local and regional partners, including the city of San Jose. In addition, he has held senior roles in financial management with numerous entities in Silicon Valley and New York, including IBM.

Read more. 

SJSU Breaks Ground on $10.2 Million Spartan Golf Complex

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it will break ground next week on the Spartan Golf Complex. The $10.2 million project will be the first-ever on-campus training facility for SJSU men’s and women’s golf. The entire project will be funded by private giving, including a $5 million lead gift commitment from entrepreneurs, financial industry executives and alumni Rich and Cindy Thawley.

“Revitalizing campus facilities— for academic, athletics and extracurricular activities—is a top priority for San Jose State,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “To make some of these projects possible, we must rely upon philanthropic support from donors such as Rich and Cindy Thawley. We are so thankful for the leadership of the Thawleys and everyone who is making the Spartan Golf Complex a reality for our student-athletes and our university community.”

The ground breaking will take place 11 a.m. May 13 at South Campus, near East Humboldt and South 10th streets. The complex will be located on acreage bordered by these two streets plus East Alma Avenue and Senter Road.

The groundbreaking will be celebrated by Interim President Susan Martin, incoming President Mary Papazian, Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier, donors Rich and Cindy Thawley, and members of the men’s and women’s golf teams and their coaches. This event is free and open to the university community, the public and the media.

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Project

“The Spartan Golf Complex will provide the campus, our community and San Jose State’s teams with a world-class practice facility,” Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier said. “The complex will help our student-athletes prepare for competition at the very highest level while supporting our efforts to recruit the best and brightest. In addition, the facility will serve students enrolled in physical education courses and strengthen our ties with alumni and neighbors through memberships and learning opportunities.”

The complex will span from East Humboldt Street in the north to East Alma Avenue in the south. Two grass tee areas will provide hitting positions for 80 golfers. In addition, the complex will offer two large tour-quality putting greens, three bunkers, and two chipping greens. Three target greens will be positioned in a 400-yard-long driving range for distance hitting practice.  This work is slated for completion in December 2016.

Phase 2 will include a clubhouse with a fitness center, locker room and coaches’ offices. SJSU has selected two San Jose-based companies, Blach Construction and Gensler, to serve as general contractor and architect, respectively.

The baseball, softball, soccer and tennis facilities will be moved to other South Campus locations.

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Donors

Rich and Cindy Thawley consider themselves, first and foremost, family people. College sweethearts, they have been married since 1979. They first met at SJSU at Cindy’s sorority house when Rich was running a successful campaign for the student body presidency. Rich also worked in San Jose State Athletics as an associate athletics director. Rich and Cindy attribute a lot of their early personal development to their experiences at SJSU and are proud alumni. Shortly after their marriage, Rich and Cindy left San Jose State to pursue a career in financial services.

“We are honored and excited to support San Jose State, our alma mater and the university serving the region we call home,” Rich and Cindy Thawley said in a joint statement. “We believe the Spartan Golf Complex will help change the feeling around the university’s South Campus, both elevating the look and feel, and exposing a different part of the community to the Spartans. This facility will be able to impact the school and greater community through youth camps, fundraising efforts and, of course, the men’s and women’s golf teams for years to come.”

Today, the Thawley family consists of two sons, a daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. Rich and Cindy believe that their greatest accomplishments have been within the walls of their home. They are passionate about their business and industry, but their life’s work is truly about being people of faith and being parents and grandparents.

The Thawleys feel strongly about giving back to the community and those organizations that have touched their lives and continue to reach out and strengthen others’ lives. They routinely teach that “no family financial plan is complete without a determination to share your blessings with others.”

Rich and Cindy started their extended career in the life insurance and securities business in 1980. They quickly excelled in leadership development and as agency builders. In their early career, they helped to develop a company that is known today as Primerica Financial Services. In 1991, they left Primerica and founded a company that is known today as World Financial Group. For more than 30 years, they have been directly or indirectly responsible for introducing and transitioning tens of thousands of people from all walks of life into the financial services industry. The organizations they founded have generated billions of dollars of life premium, annuity deposits, and other investments.

The Thawleys also sit on several consulting and advisory boards with other companies, foundations and universities.

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

San Jose State Golf

San Jose State’s impact on the game of golf is defined by world-renowned Hall of Fame players; valued teaching pros and club professionals around the country; Hall of Fame coaches; and the television voices and leaders of the game.

Since college golf first became a NCAA sport in 1897, and with the addition of women’s golf to the NCAA’s championship calendar starting in 1982, the Spartans are one of only nine programs to claim a NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and Division I Women’s Golf Championship. San Jose State won the 1948 men’s championship and became the first school to win three women’s championships with victories in 1987, 1989 and 1992.

The Spartans are one of 11 schools with a NCAA individual men’s champion and women’s champion. Bob Harris finished first in 1948 and Terry Small did the same at the 1964 NCAA Men’s Championships. In 1989, Pat Hurst led from start to finish capturing the NCAA Women’s Championship.

San Jose State, Arizona State, Florida, Georgia and Purdue are the five schools with men’s and women’s NCAA Division I team championships and NCAA Division I men’s and women’s individual champions. Overall, San Jose State has 29 top-10 team finishes and 32 top-10 individual placings at a NCAA Division I Men’s or Women’s Golf Championship.

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

Professionally, San Jose State alumni have 131 victories on the PGA, LPGA, Champions, Nationwide and PGA Tour Canada tours. Spartan golfers can claim 23 major and United States Golf Association (USGA) championships through 2015. Ken Venturi, Juli Inkster and Patty Sheehan have major championship victories as part of their World Golf Hall of Fame careers. Mark Hubbard, ’11 Business Management, is the latest Spartan to join the PGA Tour.

Venturi would become one of America’s voices of golf as CBS’s lead TV analyst for 35 years after he retired from the game. Today, Spartan alumni Roger Maltbie, Arron Oberholser, Mark Lye and Inkster offer their expertise to NBC, Fox Sports and Golf Channel shows.

San Jose State’s great coaches include Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Famers Mark Gale, who led the women’s team to three NCAA Championships, and Jerry Vroom whose men’s program appeared in 22 consecutive NCAA Championships.

Lyn Nelson was the chief executive officer of the Northern California Golf Association from 2008 to 2013. She served 150,000 members, managed operations for 400 golf courses and catered to 8,500 children who played the game. And, San Jose State legend Peter Ueberroth is one of the co-owners of the Pebble Beach Company – home of the one of the world’s best-known shrines of the game.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

 

Provost Releases Student Success Plan

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on May 5, 2016.

Dear Campus Community,

For the past year, we have collaborated and gathered information from faculty, staff, students and other experts, to develop a data-driven campus-wide student success strategy with one goal: to significantly increase our retention and graduation rates for all students while improving the quality of their educational experience. Our 57 percent six-year and 10 percent four-year graduation rates, and a double digit underrepresented minority student graduation rate gap are not acceptable. We owe it to our students, their families, taxpayers, employers and our community to improve.

We have developed a plan to accomplish this. We encourage you to review “SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success: College Readiness, Advising, Student Engagement and Clearing Bottlenecks,” which highlights our process in developing the plan and details of each pillar.

Public universities across the nation are striving to improve graduation rates, and provide an educated workforce. It’s a huge challenge, and now, SJSU is on the road to a meaningful solution on our campus. We look forward to working with you to enhance the success of every SJSU student.

Sincerely,

Andy Feinstein, Provost, and Reggie Blaylock, Vice President for Student Affairs

SJSU Names 2016 Outstanding Thesis

Amanda Feldman

Amanda Feldman

Amanda Feldman is the 2016 Outstanding Thesis Award recipient, in recognition of the quality of her research. She will be recognized at Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 28 in Spartan Stadium.

Feldman’s interest in sharp force trauma research was spurred by “the magnitude of the domestic violence problem in America” and the prevalence of knife attacks in these cases.

Learning that domestic disputes accounted for the majority of knife-related homicides, Feldman’s study included research about the motives and mindsets of perpetrators, which she hopes “will contribute to the improvement of validation standards in forensic studies.”

While researching her award-winning thesis, “From Trauma to Trial: Proposing New Methods for Examining the Variability of Sharp Force Trauma on Bone,” Feldman says she “became passionate about collaborating with students.”

Having graduated with a master’s in applied anthropology in December, She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and become a professor.

SJSU Names 2016 Outstanding Seniors

Erin Enguero and Anna Santana are the recipients of SJSU’s 2016 Outstanding Graduating Senior Awards  in recognition of their scholarship and contributions to the community. Both will be recognized at Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 28 in Spartan Stadium.

Erin Enguero

Erin Enguero

Erin Enguero (photo by Inderpal Kaur)

Since age 11, having a hearing loss has influenced how Enguero identifies herself academically and socially. She has evolved from a self-described “cautious pre-teen to an ambitious young woman striving for excellence” in her educational and community endeavors.

Carrying a 3.796 GPA, she has earned numerous scholarships and has been recognized as a CSU Trustee Award winner, SJSU Salzburg Scholar and 2016 American Kinesiology Association Undergraduate Scholar.

While Enguero’s hearing loss has taught her to adapt using her existing strengths, she says she is proud “not just for overcoming my disability, but for finding the courage to explore my identities as a student, leader and, ultimately, an agent of change.”

Enguero graduates in May with a bachelor’s in kinesiology. In fall 2016, she plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy at California State University, Fresno.

Anna Santana

Anna Santana with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta (photo courtesy of Anna Santana)

Anna Santana with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta (courtesy of Anna Santana)

At age six, Santana transferred schools three times in less than a year in search of a bilingual teacher. This daughter of former farmworkers says this was just part of the struggles that “have shaped my dreams and aspirations.”

Today, Santana advocates for the education of migrant families through the Apoyo Campesino project, which seeks to change a state regulation that forces students to move to a different school after each growing season ends.

In addition, Santana is the founder of the College Awareness Network, which has been integral in bringing students from marginalized schools to university campuses to promote a college-going culture.

A double major in sociology and Spanish, Santana will receive her bachelor’s degree in May. As a McNair Scholar, she maintains a 3.9 GPA and has been accepted to Stanford University for graduate school.

 

Spartan Daily Digitizes 82 Years of Print Editions

Media contact:
Sarah Lopes, DB&H Communications Agency representative
916-217-7441, sarah.lopes@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – The Spartan Daily, San Jose State University’s student newspaper, is celebrating the digitization and online presence of more than 80 years of hyper-local news.

The SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications will be having a public launch event on May 2, 2016, from 10:30-11:45 a.m, at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in room 225.

For the past year, JMC, in partnership with King Library, has been working to digitize and upload searchable PDF issues of the newspaper dating all the way back to April 1934.

A plethora of historical events, arts and entertainment, opinions and sports has been resurrected and can be found online with just the click of a mouse. More than 77,000 pages of the school newspaper are available to the public.

The project received funding from Jack and Emma Anderson, who profited from typesetting and printing the Spartan Daily over the years. Former King Library Associate Dean Mary Nino partnered library resources with the journalism department to help manage costs and add this archive to the ScholarWorks digital collection.

Tim Mitchell, SJSU journalism lecturer and design adviser, has overseen the project and is enthusiastic about what this means for the university and the public.

”In the process of brightening old, faded ink, we are opening the historical vault to many perspectives of change through the eyes of student journalists: cultural shifts in campus life for students, faculty and staff; [transitions in] metal typesetting, design and printing in the digital era; student-targeted advertising; and Vietnam War protests, to name a few [items of interest]. This is a record of the local area transitioning from farmland to Silicon Valley. We are sharing to the world big time,” Mitchell said.

About the Spartan Daily

The Spartan Daily is the student newspaper, currently distributed three days a week on the San Jose State campus and in the surrounding community. The newspaper covers news, sports, arts and entertainment, tech and opinion relating to the campus and its students. The first issue with the Spartan Daily title was published April 9, 1934. Alumni include six Pulitzer Prize winners, including four winners since 2000.

“Spartan East Side Promise” to Prepare East Side Students for SJSU Admissions

Media contacts:
Linda Ornelas, ESUHSD Marketing and Public Engagement Director, 408-347-5014, ornelasl@esuhsd.org
Connie Skipitares, SVEF Media Relations Manager, 408-790-9593, connie@svef.com
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – An initiative that fosters a college-going culture in East San Jose schools and promises to help prepare students for admission to San Jose State University will be unveiled at a formal “promise signing” next week.

WHAT:  Spartan East Side Promise
WHEN:  9:30 – 10:15 a.m Friday, April 29
WHERE:  W.C. Overfelt High School, Room F5, 1835 Cunningham Ave., San Jose, CA 95122

Collaboration

Remarks will be offered by East Side students, SJSU Interim President Susan Martin, East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris D. Funk and Silicon Valley Education Foundation CEO Muhammed Chaudhry.

The “Spartan East Side Promise” provides a pathway to admission to SJSU by clearly specifying admissions requirements and actively sharing this information with students and families at the 13 high schools in the East Side Union High School District.

The Spartan East Side Promise is a collaborative venture created by SJSU and ESUHSD, with support from the East Side Alliance, a network that includes ESUHSD, seven elementary feeder school districts (Alum Rock, Berryessa, Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Mt. Pleasant, Oak Grove, Orchard), and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.  The East Side Alliance brings together these eight districts as an educational community to share ideas, leverage resources, and align practices to ensure every student’s success.

Admissions Pathway

In order to gain admission into SJSU, students must meet the California State University/University of California course requirements known as the “A-G” requirements — a set of 15 high school course requirements covering a range of subjects that establish a foundation for college-level work.

Students must achieve a “C” grade or better in these subjects. Students at ESUHSD this fall must also earn a 3300 eligibility Index (SAT) or 790 (ACT), and require no remediation as determined by math and English placement test scores. The eligibility index is based on grades and test scores.

By clearly articulating the specific criteria for SJSU admission as part of the Spartan East Side Promise, ESUHSD students will know what is expected early in their academic careers and can prepare to take the steps needed to ensure college admission at SJSU.

The key here is locking in the eligibility index. The EI when an East Side student enters high school will be the maximum EI when the East Side student applies for admission to SJSU. This is important because SJSU may need to make upward adjustments to the EI for other applicants, depending on the university’s capacity to admit new students.

Roles

“We want students and families to see how students can go to college and earn a degree. This program provides a clear roadmap for success,” SJSU Interim President Susan Martin said. “We are excited to collaborate with East Side Union High School District, the East Side Alliance and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation on this innovative program to serve our local students.”

SJSU will provide presentations on CSU and SJSU admission requirements to students and their families at ESUHSD schools and middle schools feeding into ESUHSD; participate in onsite college fairs; identify a specific admissions counselor and financial aid counselor for East Side students and families; offer opportunities for ESUHSD students to visit SJSU; and ensure East Side Union high schools have publications regarding SJSU admission requirements.

The ESUHSD will appoint a district sponsor to work with SJSU; provide opportunities and facilities for SJSU representatives to meet with East Side students, families, faculty and counselors; provide bus transportation for ESHUSD students to visit SJSU and tour campus; promote the Spartan East Side Promise in elementary, middle and high schools; and identify a specific contact for SJSU at each high school.

Quotes

“This is an exciting program that will provide a clear pathway into a university for students who might not otherwise gain this access,” said SVEF CEO Muhammed Chaudhry. “We are thrilled to be giving students this chance for a bright future and rewarding career opportunities ahead.”

“The Spartan East Side Promise will reinforce all our current efforts to create an environment that encourages our students to strive for college,” said Chris D. Funk, superintendent of the East Side Union High School District.

“We are excited to provide our East Side Alliance elementary students with a college pathway to a great California State University right here in their own back yard!” said Kathy Gomez, Evergreen School District superintendent,

“I want to acknowledge and thank both Interim President Sue Martin and former President Mo Qayoumi, who have been active partners with the East Side Alliance and have made the Spartan East Side Promise possible,” said Manny Barbara, SVEF coordinator of the East Side Alliance.

About the East Side Union High School District

East Side Union High School District, established in 1950, serves more than 23,000 students in grades 9-12 in San Jose, Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley). The district has approximately 2,021 employees. It has the seventh largest high school student enrollment in the state and the largest in northern California.

The district’s mission is to align decisions to create safe, dynamic and relevant learning environments that inspire critical thinking, problem solving and innovation.

 About Silicon Valley Education Foundation

Silicon Valley Education Foundation is a nonprofit resource and advocate for students and educators. We drive scholastic achievement in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by combining resources and partnerships to provide innovative academic programs. We are a catalyst for policy solutions in public education. Our mission is to make Silicon Valley the leader in academically prepared students. To learn more, please visit: www.svef.com.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

College of Engineering Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Roy Kusumoto

Roy Kusumoto, ’66 Mechanical Engineering, will be recognized as a distinguished alumnus. He is founder, former chairman and CEO of Solectron Corporation, once the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services company

Media contact:
Lisa Francesca, Engineering Communications Specialist, 408-924-3801, lisa.francesca@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

To commemorate its achievements throughout the last seven decades, the college will hold a 70th Anniversary Engineering Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 28, at the Fairmont Hotel. The event will celebrate the college’s longstanding industry partnerships with more than 30 Silicon Valley firms such as Applied Materials, Brocade, California Water Service Group, Cisco, IBM, Juniper Networks, Lam Research, Lockheed Martin, Netgear, Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Jose Water Company, and Xilinx, among others.

On this momentous occasion, the Davidson College of Engineering will recognize a distinguished member of its alumni: Roy Kusumoto, ’66 Mechanical Engineering, and founder, former chairman and CEO of Solectron Corporation, the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services company. Dr. David Hemker of Lam Research and Dr. Ivo Bolsens of Xilinx will also receive Dean’s Service Awards.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Winncy Du and students (photo by David Schmitz).

Seeking to bring relevant skills into the global marketplace, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Winncy Du works with students (photo by David Schmitz).

Tickets will be available until noon April 27. Interested alumni should contact College of Engineering staff member Lisa Francesca at lisa.francesca@sjsu.edu.

Keynote speaker

Former president, chairman, and CEO of Rockwell International, Don Beall, ’60 Metallurgical Engineering, will be the keynote speaker. Under his leadership, Rockwell became a global leader in aerospace, electronics, and automotive markets.

Beall has served as a director on the boards of Rockwell Collins, Conexant Systems, Mindspeed Technologies, and CT Realty. He is a former director of Jazz Semiconductors, Skyworks Solutions, Proctor and Gamble, Amoco, Rockwell, and Times Mirror. Involved in numerous professional, educational, public service and philanthropic endeavors, he is an overseer of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and has received many honors including the Horatio Alger award. At the event, Beall will receive a 70th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award.

Supplying Silicon Valley

Nearly 70 years ago, Prof. Thomas E. Leonard began providing the leadership and vision to deliver excellence in an aviation education at SJSU.

Professor of Aviation Thomas E. Leonard was one of the college’s early champions (photo courtesy of the College of Engineering).

“I’m both proud and honored to be managing the helm of this prestigious college over some of its greatest historic growth,” said Dean Andrew Hsu. “We have a time-tested reputation of supplying Silicon Valley companies with smart, grounded, hardworking engineers, as well as creative, industry-disruptive entrepreneurs. They are bringing relevant skills into the global marketplace, and learning how to solve planetary problems. Our faculty and I look forward to seeing what our students will accomplish over the next 70 years.”

As the largest contributing school to the engineering workforce of Silicon Valley, the Davidson College of Engineering offers unique programs to prepare career-ready engineering graduates: an industry-enriched learning community, Engineering Programs in Community Service (EPICS), and the Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium.

Read the latest edition of the college’s magazine.

About the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering

The Davidson College of Engineering comprises 12 engineering disciplines in addition to General Engineering, more than 7,300 undergraduate and graduate students, and approximately 260 faculty and staff members. It is the largest engineering program in the 23-campus California State University system. 

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Receives $4.8 Million Gift from Late Professor for the Steinbeck Center

Martha Heasley Cox

Martha Heasley Cox

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University has received a $4.8 million bequest from the estate of Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature Martha Heasley Cox. The gift will support the Center for Steinbeck Studies that bears her name. Cox’s total lifetime giving to SJSU is $5.5 million, the largest total ever for a faculty member.

“An Arkansas native, Martha Heasley Cox came to California and was immediately taken by the opportunities she found here,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew Hale Feinstein. “She dedicated her career to research on one of our region’s most iconic writers, John Steinbeck. Through this work, she sought to inspire a new generation of writers and scholars.”

Shortly after arriving, Cox began collecting Steinbeck materials. The collection grew to become so extensive and well respected that it was incorporated into plans for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, opened in 2003. The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies is the only university research archive in the world dedicated solely to Steinbeck’s life and work. Cox was active in Steinbeck Center affairs throughout her 34-year SJSU teaching career and after her retirement. She died in September 2015 at the age of 96.

Impact

Cox leading a tour of Cannery Row (photo courtesy of Greta Manville).

Leading a tour of Cannery Row (photo courtesy of Greta Manville).

Professor Cox provided financial support for the collection from the very start, and she continued to do so as the center grew into a multi-faceted organization with many related programs. Her bequest means the center and its work will reach more students than ever before in an array of fields, from humanities and the arts to science and mass communications. For example, the Martha Heasley Cox Steinbeck Fellowships will receive $3.1 million from the bequest.

“Her vision was to bring together a group of scholars drawn from the disciplines Steinbeck practiced—including fiction, drama, journalism and marine biology,” said Nicholas Taylor, Steinbeck Center director and an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature. “Over the last 15 years, SJSU has welcomed 36 writers and scholars to campus, at a rate of two or three per year.”

“The bequest will allow SJSU to expand the program significantly, bringing 10 or more fellows to campus each year,” Taylor said. “Steinbeck Fellows typically visit several classes during their residencies, but with only two or three fellows on campus at a time, the number of students they could reach was limited. Having a larger annual cohort of fellows will allow the program to touch many more students.”

Entrepreneur

Receiving the Tower Award (photo courtesy of the Steinbeck Center).

Receiving the Tower Award (photo courtesy of the Steinbeck Center).

The bequest will fund two more programs she founded. The Martha Heasley Cox Lecture Series will receive $1 million and the Cox-Manville Steinbeck Bibliography of everything Steinbeck will receive $690,000. Those who knew Professor Cox described her as an entrepreneur of arts and letters, offering a ceaseless stream of ideas on how to grow the Steinbeck collection and use its resources to encourage others to follow in the author’s footsteps.

“Martha made her fortune the old-fashioned way, through hard work as an ambitious academic author and careful investment in stocks and real estate,” said Paul Douglass, Steinbeck Center director from 2005 to 2012. “A child of the Great Depression, she wanted every dollar, like every moment in life, to count. She was a practical woman who wrote practical books: texts on writing, critical studies and guides for readers, and bibliographies useful to scholars of American literature.”

Martha Heasley was born in Calico Rock, Arkansas, in February 1919. She graduated with a bachelor’s in English from Lyon College, Arkansas, and received her doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas. In 1955, she moved across the country and joined the faculty at SJSU, where she taught for 34 years. She and her husband Cecil Cox divorced but remained lifelong friends. In 2000, she received the Tower Award, SJSU’s highest recognition for service to the university.

“Martha’s case for John Steinbeck was difficult to resist. Her colleagues in the Department of English weren’t exempt from service to the cause,” said Professor Emeritus Arlene Okerlund, who was new at SJSU when she met Cox. The two worked together on pioneering Steinbeck conferences and remained friends in retirement. Cox recruited graduate student Greta Manville, ’75 BA ’78 MA English, to create the Steinbeck bibliography that came to bear both of their names.

Steinbeck Award

With Steinbeck Award recipient Bruce Springsteen (courtesy of the Steinbeck Center).

With Steinbeck Award recipient Bruce Springsteen (courtesy of the Steinbeck Center).

In 1996, musician Bruce Springsteen reached out to the Steinbeck family with a request: he wanted to name his upcoming album and tour after the “Grapes of Wrath” protagonist Tom Joad. “Professor Cox’s warm relations with Steinbeck’s widow and literary agency led to an inspired idea,” Douglass recalled, the formation of the John Steinbeck Award: “In the Souls of the People.” The award became another way to honor Steinbeck’s legacy while supporting those who were following in his footsteps.

Now a regular fundraiser for the Steinbeck Center, the award brings to campus writers, artists, thinkers, and activists whose work captures Steinbeck’s empathy, commitment to democratic values, and belief in the dignity of people who by circumstance are pushed to the fringes. Recent recipients include civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, novelist Khaled Hosseini and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

SJSU Appoints Chief Diversity Officer

Kathleen Wong(Lau)

Kathleen Wong(Lau)

Kathleen Wong(Lau) has been appointed to serve as SJSU’s chief diversity officer. Wong(Lau) will lead the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, providing vision and direction for university-wide efforts to ensure a welcoming, safe climate for every member of our community and serving as a liaison to community partners and constituents on a wide array of diversity initiatives.

She was selected by and will report directly to incoming SJSU President Mary Papazian, and will serve on the president’s cabinet. Wong(Lau) will join our community on July 25.

Wong(Lau) joins SJSU from the University of Oklahoma where she has served since 2014 as director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE).

Her noteworthy accomplishments at Oklahoma included launching faculty training institutes on inclusive teaching, and administrator training on management and leadership for diversity and innovation.

In addition, she designed and led an inaugural, mandatory, five-hour Freshmen Diversity Experience training for more than 5,000 students.

Read an announcement sent via email to all students, faculty and staff on April 12, 2016.

President Releases Diversity Update

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on March 17, 2016.

Dear campus community,

As many of you know, court proceedings involving three former SJSU students charged with race-based hate crimes and battery against a fellow student ended earlier this week. Although jurors found all three guilty of misdemeanor battery, none were convicted on hate crime charges and all received reduced sentences.

These verdicts and sentencing outcomes left many in our community disappointed; some have expressed outrage. While we respect the independence and discretion of jurors and the courts in reaching these determinations, the offenders’ conduct was unacceptable and incompatible with our values. They are no longer enrolled at SJSU.

It is clear to me—as I believe it is to many of you—that building an inclusive, welcoming climate at SJSU demands sustained effort and contributions, large and small, from all of us. And these efforts need to support the unique academic, cultural and socio-economic needs of a highly diverse student population and campus community.

Some progress has been made. I am writing today to update you on this work. Among many things, our campus:

  • Is completing a search for a chief diversity officer. Finalists for this role will visit campus beginning this Friday, March 18. You can meet each of them during scheduled open forums. The successful candidate will report directly to the president, lead an Office of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, and spearhead diversity initiatives.
  • Added diversity awareness programming to new-student orientation, student leadership development and residence hall staff training, to increase every student’s sensitivity to others’ perspectives and differences.
  • Hired more resident assistants, bringing the ratio of RAs to resident students to 1-to-35, better than the national average of 1-to-40. This provides a greater degree of monitoring and mentorship in our residential community.
  • Launched task forces to support Chicano/Latino and African American student success by creating support networks and targeted, culturally specific programming and services.
  • Welcomed civil rights icon Ruby Bridges to campus on February 24 to receive the prestigious John Steinbeck Award and participate in an onstage interview on race issues.
  • Hosted KQED Forum for a very candid conversation about campus climate and race issues.

I am proud that students, faculty and staff have taken the lead on many of these and other diversity activities.

But, many challenges remain—among them, clear indicators in recent campus climate surveys that some in our community feel unwelcome, disconnected or unsafe. In some areas, perceptions have worsened over time. Clearly we have much work to do.

I believe an important next step in addressing these concerns is to have a meaningful dialogue that includes an overview of campus climate survey results and facilitated conversations about our future. This is scheduled for April 11 at 10 am in the Student Union Theater; we will follow up next week with additional details.

Together, we can work to make our campus safe and welcoming.

Sue Martin
Interim President

World-Renowned Sports Sociologist and SJSU Alumnus Harry Edwards to Serve as 2016 Commencement Speaker

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

Harry Edwards speaks at a campus event in May 2012 (photo: Christina Olivas)

Harry Edwards speaks at a campus event in May 2012 (photo: Christina Olivas)

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that human and civil rights icon Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, will serve as its 2016 Commencement speaker. In addition, Edwards will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 28 at Spartan Stadium. The event will be streamed live on the university’s website.

“Harry Edwards came to San Jose State to pursue an education while representing the university in intercollegiate athletics, and he accomplished both with extraordinary distinction,” said SJSU Interim President Susan Martin. “Dr. Edwards went on to dedicate his life to developing innovative approaches for raising the nation’s consciousness about the hidden inequities and barriers that exist in our society through his work in athletics. We are proud to recognize his contributions with an honorary degree and look forward to hearing him address our graduates.”

This academic year, an estimated 9,000 San Jose State students will earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Approximately 15,000 family members and friends are expected to attend Commencement.

Harry Edwards

Harry Edwards, 73, was born in St. Louis, Mo., and raised in East St. Louis, Ill., the second of eight children. With no more than a third-grade education, his father supported the family and encouraged Harry to take advantage of the opportunities the sports world provided.

Edwards followed through, excelling in sports and academics in high school. With financial support from a St. Louis-area attorney, he arrived in California to attend Fresno City College on a track and basketball scholarship. He later transferred to San Jose State University, where he served as captain of the basketball team and set school records for the discus.

Edwards set SJSU records for the discus (courtesy of Spartan Athletics).

Edwards set SJSU records for the discus (courtesy of Spartan Athletics).

After graduating in 1964 with a degree in sociology, Edwards had three choices: professional football, professional basketball, or graduate school. He chose graduate school, and began work on master’s and doctoral degrees at Cornell University in New York. After completing his master’s degree, he took a break from his studies to return to San Jose State, where he worked as a part-time instructor of sociology.

The year was 1966, and the civil rights movement was in full swing. Drawing on his childhood experiences, his years as a college athlete, his academic training, and his desire to educate, Edwards began gaining national attention for speaking out on the inequities he perceived in the nation and the sports world.

“During the 1967 college football season, Edwards, then a part-time instructor… presented a list of civil rights grievances to the administration on behalf of the school’s black students, particularly its athletes. Edwards’s group threatened to ‘physically interfere’ with the opening game if demands were not met. It was a regional watershed in radical sports activism, and the mainstream reaction was also a first; the opening game was canceled,” according to The New York Times.

Taking a Stand

The following year brought the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy. Edwards lent his voice and support to the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a movement calling upon black athletes to boycott the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Watching television in the United States, Edwards observed SJSU track stars and U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos take a stand for human rights on the awards podium.

Harry Edwards and Sandra Boze Edwards met at SJSU, and have been married 47 years (courtesy of Mr. Edwards)

Harry Edwards and Sandra Boze Edwards met at SJSU (courtesy of Mr. Edwards).

At the time, all three men were heavily criticized for their actions. Three decades later, San Jose State student leaders recognized the courage of these Spartans by memorializing the moment with a 24-foot tall sculpture in the heart of our campus.

Edwards went on to earn a doctoral degree from Cornell University in 1971, and to begin a distinguished, three-decade career as a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. A giant of a man with a caring presence, his “Sociology of Sports” course was among the most popular on campus.

During that time, he remained in constant contact with the professional sports world, where he served as a consultant to two luminaries who also graduated from San Jose State: Major League Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, ’59 Business, and the late San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Bill Walsh, ’55 BA, ’58 MA Education.

Providing Opportunity

In addition, Edwards worked with the Golden State Warriors and the University of Florida. In all of these roles, he sought to develop practices and programs to increase minority representation in the coaching ranks and to support players of color as they navigated the opportunities and pressures of college and professional sports. Edwards delivered a moving eulogy for Walsh, summarizing the ways they sought to provide opportunities to all NFL players.

Harry Edwards is the author of four books: “The Struggle That Must Be,” “Sociology of Sports,” “Black Students,” and “The Revolt of the Black Athlete.” He has been married for 47 years to Sandra Boze Edwards, ’70 BA Liberal Studies, ’88 MA Education. The couple resides in Fremont, Calif., and they are the parents of three now adult children: a lawyer, a physician, and an information technology/computer programming specialist.


About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

President Releases Statement on Hate Crime Sentencing

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA–The following should be attributed to SJSU Interim President Susan Martin.

We respect the district attorney’s and the court’s discretion in considering appropriate sanctions based on the defendants’ conduct. That notwithstanding, the behavior described in this case is unacceptable, and SJSU is committed to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. The three individuals convicted of committing battery on D.J. Williams are no longer enrolled here.