SJSU Reinstates Men’s Track and Field Program and Announces Plans for New Stadium

From Speed City to Mexico City: The Impact of the Olympic Project for Human Rights Panel Discussion:

Track and Field Announcement:

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

Visuals:
Historic photos and broadcast-quality video are available upon request.

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University will announce today that it will restore its men’s track and field program in 2018. The program is historically renowned for producing record-setting athletes devoted to the advancement of human rights.

In addition, SJSU will seek private funding for a new venue to house its men’s and women’s track and field programs.

President Mary Papazian and Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier will deliver the news to a crowd of several hundred track and field alumni and families who will return to campus for the occasion.

“In bringing back a once-storied athletics program known the world over and building a new track and field venue, we are welcoming home and reuniting with a group of Spartan legends who have left their mark in sports and society,” President Papazian said, “as well as providing needed support for our current and future student athletes.”

“This is an enormously proud day for all of us, a day to celebrate a storied past and look ahead to a bright future.”

Among those expected to be in attendance at the announcement ceremony are SJSU alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised global consciousness for the struggle for racial and social equality in the United States when they took a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics. Smith and Carlos—each of whom earned medals that year in the 200-meter dash—were heavily criticized for their courageous actions.

Also slated to return to SJSU on Aug. 1 are fellow alumni and track and field Olympians Lee Evans, John Powell and Ed Burke, as well as alumnus, former faculty member and world renowned sports sociologist Harry Edwards.

The men’s track and field program at SJSU officially will return 50 years after that landmark action by Smith and Carlos, which is memorialized by a sculpture commissioned by student leaders in 2005 and placed in the heart of the downtown San Jose campus. Today’s announcement will be made next to the sculpture.

Stadium Planned for Bud Winter Field

Smith, Carlos and Evans were just three of many track and field athletes who trained at San Jose State and went on to earn so many Olympic medals and set so many NCAA and world records that San Jose State became known as “Speed City.” Their coach was the legendary Lloyd “Bud” Winter, who headed the SJSU men’s track and field program from 1941 to 1970.

Winter put his athletes through innovative drills on a portion of San Jose State’s athletics complex that came to bear his name. Today, Papazian and Bleymaier announced plans to build a $5 million track and field facility at Bud Winter Field. The project will be funded by the SJSU Student Union and private gifts specifically made for this purpose.

The stadium will be home to the men’s and women’s track and field programs (the women’s program began in 2014). In addition, the new track and field facility will serve the campus and the broader community.

“We began a women’s indoor and outdoor track and field program in 2014.  We believe that 2018 is the right time to reinstate men’s track and field so we can commemorate and celebrate the achievements of San Jose State student athletes at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City,” Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier said.

“San Jose State was renowned around the world for its track and field program. We want to build on that rich tradition and bring back the pride, visibility and prestige track and field garnered for SJSU. This is a golden opportunity to celebrate the historic 1968 Olympics and the 1969 NCAA Track and Field Championship that was won by San Jose State,” Bleymaier continued.

Visionary in the Sport

Perhaps less known is the fact that San Jose State’s Olympic track and field history began with a woman. While enrolled at what was then known as San Jose Teachers College, Margaret Jenkins participated in baseball, basketball, hockey, volleyball and tennis and was introduced to the javelin. After graduating in 1925, she trained for the Olympics and subsequently competed in the discus and shot put at the 1928 and 1932 games.

The Speed City era began with the arrival of Coach Bud Winter in 1941. Not only did he bring to San Jose State a host of innovative coaching techniques, but he also welcomed to his program the very best athletes―race, ethnicity and national origin notwithstanding.

As word of his success spread, Americans came from as close as Overfelt High School (Lee Evans) and as far as Harlem, N.Y., by way of East Texas State University (John Carlos). Others came to SJSU from abroad, and then went on to represent their countries in the Olympics, including Jimmy Omagbemi (Nigeria), Lloyd Murad (Venezuela) and Dennis Johnson (Jamaica).

Between 1941 and 1970, under the guidance of Coach Winter, 91 Spartans were ranked in the top 10 worldwide by Track and Field News, 27 were Olympians, and men’s track and field won the NCAA team title in 1969. Details are provided below.

Taking a Stand for Human Rights

In the late 1960s, San Jose State became ground zero for the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a movement that called upon black athletes to boycott the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. With school record-setting discus thrower Harry Edwards as its chief spokesperson, the project attracted international attention at a time when the civil rights movement was in full swing.

In the end, all nine SJSU track and field team members who qualified chose to compete in the 1968 Olympics. Three found other meaningful ways to express their views on equity and civil rights. Smith and Carlos left an indelible mark in the memories of many with their stand. Evans struck a similar note by wearing a black beret on the awards podium after his gold medal performance in the 400-meter relay race.

All team members of the Speed City era came to SJSU to engage in the most rigorous and technical program of their time and trained hard to reach their full potential. Many returned home to become teachers, coaches and mentors, dedicating their lives to sharing what they learned at San Jose State.

For example, Dennis Johnson returned to Jamaica to found a coaching college. Today, he is known as “a godfather of Jamaican track.” Due to the opportunities he and others have provided young athletes, the tiny island nation has produced a steady stream of top sprinters, including Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world today.

Men’s track and field, wrestling, men’s cross country and women’s field hockey were discontinued in spring 1988. In a reallocation of resources, the university initiated a strength and conditioning program and a student-athlete support services unit based on surveys conducted with the student-athlete population.

Background information on SJSU track and field. 


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 Track and Field Background Information

San Jose State University will announce today that it will restore its men’s track and field program in 2018. The program is historically renowned for producing record-setting athletes devoted to the advancement of human rights.

Fast Facts (Men’s Track and Field)

  • Since 1948, 25 San Jose State University men’s track and field athletes from the United States, Greece, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo and Venezuela represented their country in an Olympic Games.
  • Olympic Games medal winners in track and field include Willie Steele (1948, long jump, gold medal), Tommie Smith (1968, 200 meters, gold medal), John Carlos (1968, 200 meters, bronze medal), Ronnie Ray Smith (1968, 4×100 meter relay, gold medal), Lee Evans (1968, 400 meters & 4×400 meter relay, gold medals), and John Powell (1976 and 1984, discus throw, bronze medals). Jim Doehring (1992, shot put, silver medal) had his medal performance vacated.
  • San Jose State University hammer thrower Ed Burke was voted by the U.S. Olympic team members to carry the American flag during the 1984 Olympic Games opening ceremonies.
  • San Jose State University athletes are responsible for 43 world and 49 American track and field individual records between 1958 and 1979.
  • John Carlos, Lee Evans, Tommie Smith, and Coach Bud Winter are members of the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
  • San Jose State University won the 1969 NCAA Division I Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Knoxville, Tenn. In outdoor track and field, the Spartans also have three seconds, a third and three fourth-place team finishes from 1952 through 1975 at the NCAA Championships. San Jose State’s best finish at the NCAA Division I Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championships was third-place in 1969.
  • Despite not sponsoring men’s track and field since 1988, San Jose State’s 24 individual NCAA outdoor champions still ranked in a tie for 21st place among all Division I programs prior to the 2016 NCAA Championships. The Spartans have an NCAA champion in 12 of the 20 individual outdoor events. San Jose State also has three individual NCAA champions in indoor track and field.
  • San Jose State’s honorary doctorate recipients who competed as Spartan track and field athletes include Dick Smothers (distance runner), Tommie Smith (sprinter), John Carlos (sprinter) and Harry Edwards (discus thrower). Lee Evans (sprinter) was a Fulbright Scholar.
  • San Jose State men’s track and field alumni also include quarter-miler Christopher Darden, prosecuting attorney in the O.J. Simpson murder trial; long jumper Louis Wright, the first Spartan football player selected in the first round of a National Football League draft; high jumper Darnell Hillman, a 1971 Golden State Warriors’ first-round draft choice and winner of the 1977 NBA Slam Dunk competition; sprinter Dennis Johnson, characterized as the “Godfather of Jamaican track” by the New York Times, and sprinter Ray Norton, given the title of “World’s Fastest Human” entering the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Fast Facts (Women’s Track and Field)

In the three seasons since its launch, San Jose State women’s track and field accomplishments are many:

  • Successfully recruited student-athletes from California, Idaho, Texas, Florida, England and New Zealand.
  • Ten entries in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Regional Championship meet. Entries must be in the top 48 of their respective events from the western half of the United States.
  • One Mountain West champion: long jumper Kelsey Johnson-Upshaw in 2015.
  • Five All-Mountain West honors for finishing in the top three in an individual event at a conference championship meet.
  • One Capital One Academic All-America Third Team: distance runner Rebecca Garcia in 2015.
  • Eight Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars as selected by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
  • Twenty-four Mountain West Scholar-Athlete awards for earning a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 at the time of the nomination.
  • Seven President’s Scholar and 10 Dean’s Scholar awards earned by team members at the last three annual San Jose State University Honors Convocations.

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.

 

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 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.

 

Chicano Commencement Honors Students and Their Families

A moment to remember at the 2015 Chicano Commencement (Photo: Sergio Estrada | Estrada Photos).

A moment to remember at the 2015 Chicano Commencement (Photo: Sergio Estrada | Estrada Photos).

In 1968, a group of Chicano students participating in the San Jose State commencement ceremony at Spartan Stadium peacefully walked out of the president’s speech in protest of lackluster resources and in support for students of color. They created their own “Chicano Commencement” to celebrate their accomplishments, and a tradition was born.

Now 48 years later, Chicano Commencement has evolved into an elaborate event where participating students invite loved ones on stage, give speeches and share cultural food while enjoying mariachi music. The event is one of several dozen convocations and receptions held annually by departments, programs and student groups.

“This is rooted in history,” said Lizbet Huizar, ’16 MA Mexican American Studies  and co-chair for Chicano Commencement. “Back in the day, it was just a few parents putting together a potluck and through the years, it’s expanded to what we see now, which is a $50,000 celebration.”

By hosting fundraisers on campus, participants of each year’s commencement aim to raise $50,000 toward planning and supplying an event location, food and entertainment. The organization is currently $15,000 shy of their goal.

Loved Ones

Photo: Sergio Estrada | Estrada Photos

Honoring friends and family in 2015 (Photo: Sergio Estrada).

Photo: Sergio Estrada

2015 caps (Photo: Sergio Estrada).

Huizar said 60 graduates will enter the Event Center accompanied by two loved ones and have the opportunity to bestow “Stoles of Gratitude” to their loved ones in honor of their support.

“I thought this was a perfect thing to add to find different ways to connect our parents even more to this ceremony,” Huizar said.

For Irma Flores, ’16 Behavioral Science, her family support system eased her “rollercoaster” of a transition when she learned she was pregnant in her second semester at SJSU.

Flores comes from a family of hard workers; her grandfather came to the U.S. as a fieldworker as part of the Bracero Program in the 1940s, her mother cleaned houses and her father has worked in the fields during Flores’ upbringing.

“My mom has always told me ‘go to school’ and she’s always pushed that on me,” Flores said. “I just wanted to be a good role model for my daughter because I wanted her to grow up with everything I didn’t have.”

Andrea Fernandez, ’16 Communication Studies and co-chair of Chicano Commencement, said she believes the ceremony is as much about celebrating family and loved ones of graduates as it is for the students who participate.

“I want to recognize all the families and friends present because they are a huge part of the journey here as Spartans,” Fernandez said.

Progress

Some journeys prove to be historically bumpier than others, and only flourish by an aspiration for a better life.

Andrea Ruiz, ’16 Public Relations, is the programming chair of the ceremony and has been fueled by her parent’s journey from Oaxaca, Mexico, to the United States.

“I’ve realized the biggest thing that they’ve ever granted me was the ability to dream,” Ruiz said. “[Chicano Commencement] highlights how we can progress as a culture, as a community, that change is coming.”

In 1969, 11 students participated in the commencement protest and now 60 students will grace the Event Center stage as part of this historic event. But Fernandez wants those numbers to steadily increase for years to come.

“I think it just shouldn’t be 60, I think it should be every single Latino and Chicano student who is graduating. It’s almost like a hidden gem of the university that people find out through word of mouth,” Fernandez said. “Our focus is to make it as inclusive for anybody who attends just as it is for their graduates, so I think it brings cultural awareness to the campus as well.”

Activism

‘This year Damien Trujillo,’93 Journalism, will take a break from his reporting gig at NBC Bay Area to deliver the keynote speech, a speech that Fernandez said she hopes resonates with the emerging professionals.

Most notably though, Huizar said Chicano Commencement’s legacy should endure through the activist spirit on which it was founded.

“We’ve really emphasized this year that this is an organization of activism. It’s not the same as before, when you would get out and go protest, but there is still this responsibility that you have to help your community in any way possible,” Huizar said. “I feel like these graduates are going to go out there, do whatever they can, wherever they work, as they now have knowledge of what it means to be a Chicano or Chicana.”

 

Honors Convocation Recognizes Top Academic Achievers

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

When Kenney Chiu, ’15 Business Finance, joined 4,127 Dean’s and President’s Scholars as part of the Honors Convocation in the Event Center on April 15, someone special shared a seat with him — his baby boy Abraham Charles.

“I snuck him in to sit on my lap,” Chiu said with a laugh. “All the honorees that sat around me were playing with him and they just loved it, too.”

Chiu joined a record number of 3,714 students honored with recognition for earning a 3.65 or higher GPA in at least two contiguous of the past three semesters at San Jose State.

Although Chiu credited his honor with the exceptional teaching found in his home Lucas College of Business, he stressed the impact that his baby boy has had on his academic accomplishments.

“That’s where my motivation comes from,” Chiu said. “I just want to show my kid that he can be proud of his dad.”

Supporters

Interim President Sue Martin took a moment during the ceremony to praise the “unsung heroes,” including family members, friends and spouses who helped support and guide the student scholars.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

For Emily Vann, ’16 Public Relations, her President’s Scholar recognition was a testament to her mother Olivia and her coaches both on and off the basketball court.

Vann joined a record setting 59 student-athletes recognized for academic excellence, including eight student-athletes who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA for at least two contiguous of the past three semesters.

“You have to kind of go into another gear to kind of get this distinction,” Vann said. “I know firsthand how much it takes and how much time, dedication and effort it takes to go through the everyday process of waking up and having to wear two hats as a student and an athlete.”

Vann, a forward on the SJSU women’s basketball team, said she could not have reached the academic milestone without the support of her mother.

“My mom is a teacher and I just feel really blessed to have had her in my life. She helped me and coached me from the time I was little,” Vann said. “[She’s] always letting me know that my academics come first even though I’m an athlete.”

Provost Andy Feinstein said such support by loved ones and faculty members alike married with personal sacrifice helped usher in the record number of honored scholars this year.

“These students have shown a commitment to their studies, through personal, economic, social and educational circumstances, to be among the top one percent at this university,” Feinstein said.

Sacrifice

Kenneth Peter, 2016 Outstanding Professor, said in his keynote speech that students should be fueled by the various sacrifices they make in their quest for higher education.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

“Your talents are not only exhibited in your academic success, but are profound when viewed in light of the struggles you have overcome,” Peter said. “When many of you are first generation college students, when most of you worked more than half time, when many of you have family obligations, when most of you come from public schools with inadequate resources, you are remarkably talented and you have proven this by being in this room tonight.”

Peter’s assertion rang particularly close to home for Jamil Elbanna, ’16 Mechanical Engineering, who spent most of his academic career working two jobs in addition to his schoolwork.

In order to finance his way through college, Elbanna took a job as a courtesy clerk at Safeway and a security officer at a hospital, all while pursuing a degree.

“It’s definitely not the easiest thing but having passion for my major and what I want to study is important,” Elbanna said. “There were times where it almost felt impossible, but I just keep at it and pushed at it day and night.”

Peter concluded his keynote speech by reminding the student honorees that by receiving recognition for their academic accomplishments, they are also receiving an important responsibility.

“Your talent must not be wasted. Each of you should leave SJSU with the kind of education you will need to fight for greater fairness and equality than this world has yet seen fit to offer,” Peters said. “You have likely experienced some hardships. Let those light the fire within.”

 

“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.

Conference Brings 300 Women Engineers to SJSU

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

When Hanni Ali, ’17 Chemical Engineering, took the Student Union Ballroom stage, she prepared to share an all-too familiar experience with over 300 female engineering students and professionals as part of the second annual Silicon Valley Women in Engineering (WiE) Conference on Saturday, March 12.

“Usually, when people ask me what I’m majoring in, I reply with ‘engineering,’ and they give me a confused look and ask me ‘Why?’” Ali said. “And I reply, ‘Why not?’”

Ali attended the conference last year as a prospective transfer. This year, she was selected to speak at a gala dinner. The event offers the opportunity for professional women engineers to share with students their perspectives on entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership in the predominately male dominated industry.

Photo: David Schmitz

Oracle CEO Safra Catz (Photo: David Schmitz).

Photo: David Schmitz

Associate Dean of Engineering Jinny Rhee (Photo: David Schmitz).

“It is crucial to continue to hold events to encourage and empower future generations of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) women,” Ali said. “This year’s conference is bigger than last year’s, with a lot more professionals donating their time to inspire the next generation of women innovators.”

Speakers included Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Apple Vice President of Wireless Technologies Isabel Mahe, and Facebook Vice President of Product Management for Social Good Naomi Gleit.

Guests attended 25 workshops throughout the day in topics including mentorship strategies, women in STEM leadership, smart cities, renewable energy, water sustainability, 3D printing, robotics, self driving cars, precision medicine and big data.

The conference was supported by a gift from the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Family Foundation. The late Carolyn Guidry, ’79 MS Computer Engineering, worked at Hewlett-Packard and then founded two companies in partnership with her husband. The conference is part of a wider effort to support aspiring women engineers. Applied Materials was a sponsor.

“I was deeply touched by the level of enthusiasm and energy of conference participants,” said Belle Wei, conference chair and Carolyn Guidry Chair in Engineering Education and Innovation Learning. “It is about building a community to inspire the next generation of women engineers to change the world.”

With the help of each speaker and activity, the misconceptions and concerns expressed by many in the beginning of the day were exchanged with supportive, excited chatter come dinnertime.

Apple’s Isabel Mahe silenced the common concern that women can’t be successful engineers and also be strong mothers when she shared her experience getting invited to dinner by Steve Jobs while she was still on maternity leave. After two hours of conversation with Jobs, Mahe accepted the position that she has held for eight years. She is now a mother of four.

Grumblings of the “glass ceiling” limiting women in the industry were shattered when Catz shared her journey from a stint in the “boys club” investment banking realm to the evolving software industry — all while donning a pair of blue pumps.

“Advice that I learned: if you really want to be successful, you have to change the game entirely,” Catz said. “In my case, I decided ‘I’m going to take a risk with my very fledging career and look at software.’ But you see, it was against crazy odds in those days. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Photo: David Schmitz

IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager Kristina Vasquez, ’02 Computer Engineering (Photo: David Schmitz).

IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager for IBM Kristina Vasquez, ’02 Computer Engineering, hosted an interactive mentorship workshop with nine engineering students to discuss the importance of mentors and how to find them.

“I remember being in their shoes and I remember the people who helped me, and I don’t think I would be here today if it weren’t for them,” Vasquez said. “I have a daughter and these girls are like my daughters. I want the best for them.”

Vasquez, who graduated from San Jose State in 2002, said she saw this conference as an opportunity to not only maintain the sense of community among women engineers at the university, but also teach women that anyone can fill the role of being a mentor.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Solango Altanparev has been accepted as an SJSU civil engineering major (Photo: David Schmitz).

One attendee of the workshop, Solango Altanparev, raised her hand during a discussion portion and admitted her initial interest in attending the conference was beyond merely receiving professional advice.

“I came here to this conference in a way seeking a mentor because I don’t really have any guidance,” Altanparev said.

Altanparev, who has been accepted as an SJSU transfer from Peralta Community College as a civil engineering major this fall, said the conference gave her a sense of hope and preparedness as she continues her academic career.

“I thought it took a lot of bravery and initiative to share her story with us,” Vasquez said. “If we can help someone feel better about their career, feel better about what they’re doing and make a difference — that’s why we’re here.”

Kaitlyn Bell, ’18 Mechanical Engineering, said she struggles to find representation in her department, where just 17 percent of the students are women, but felt warmly welcomed into the broader evolving engineering community.

“When I first saw everyone here, it honestly kind of choked me up,” Bell said. “It’s always nice to meet other female engineers so you can relate with them and know that someone feels the same way you do — together we can all get through it, being a minority in such a male-dominated field.”

The idea of girl power was a common discussion point across several workshops and even in the final keynote speech of the evening, delivered by Leyla Seka, senior vice president and general manager of SalesForce.

“You have to help other women,” Seka said. “This is not an optional situation given where we are as a nation, as a world and as an industry.”

Seka pressured the women in attendance to raise their voices in the professional realm so they may pursue opportunities, demand equal pay compared to male counterparts in the industry, and take risks.

“There are things that are built into society about the way we think about ourselves so it’s important that we as future leaders — you more specifically as future leaders — are the people that can write technology and the next generation of technology,” Seka said. “We will push the world that much further.”

 

 

“Essence of Blackness” Event Educates, Entertains and Builds Community

IMG_8264

Brian Andres & the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel perform at the second annual Essence of Blackness event (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

The pounding of conga drums married with the seductive blare of the trumpet filled the Student Union Ballroom as part of the second  annual Essence of Blackness event.

The African AmericanStudent Success Task Force hosted the event along with its Harambee Committee to explore just one influence of African culture on the world by focusing on jazz music and its rich, diverse history in the United States and beyond.

“Harambee, the arm of the task force that sponsors these kinds of events, brings together not only the African American students, faculty and staff but also reaches out to the larger campus to participate in cultural events,” said Michelle Randle, director of the CASA Student Success Center and chair of Harambee. “And [also it is important] for the African American students to see the support that they actually have on campus beyond themselves.”

The Essence of Blackness theme was born last year following conversations with African American students regarding the type of programming they felt was necessary to share with the campus community, with an educational component being at the forefront.

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Charlie Channel of the Charlie Channel Quartet strums on his bass during a traditional jazz performance at the second annual Essence of Blackness event (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

“I do think young people now are not exposed to jazz and do not always understand that its origins do come from Africa and this country,” Randle said.

Charlie Channel of the Charlie Channel Quartet, one of two types of jazz represented that night, lectured attendees on the history of jazz before delving into a traditional jazz performance.

Channel read Langston Hughes’ poem titled “Drums,” which represents the origin of jazz by chronicling the movement of slaves from Africa while describing the survival and re-emergence of the drums into new lands.

“When you think about slavery and tribes of people who were thrown together, who didn’t know each other, the oppression, the brutality, there was just one thing they had in common — it was the drum,” Channel said. “Ultimately, it resulted in this new form of music that had never been heard before on the planet called ‘jazz.’”

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A server from Sandi’s Cobbler Cups serves American soul food at the second annual Essence of Blackness event (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

The genre’s diversity was introduced to attendees by Brian Andres, the drum set and leader of the Brian Andres & the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel. He discussed how the music evolved in the United States with the help of Mario Bauza, a Cuban clarinetist who played a role in launching the Afro-Cuban jazz movement during the Harlem Renaissance.

While some attendees leapt to their feet and danced as Andres and his band’s upbeat conga drumming and lively trumpeting reverberated throughout the ballroom, others merely indulged in Walia Ethiopian, Caribbean and American soul-food cuisine.

As part of the Harambee Awards, a first in the program’s history, commemorative clocks were given to individuals in the campus community who have served and shown commitment toward the success of African American students.

Six members of administration, four students and two community members were awarded recognition and two students were given special recognition for their “Strength in the Face of Adversity.”

“It means something if it comes from the community out to people to say ‘hey we recognize what you do, and we want to publicly be able to acknowledge your contributions because I don’t think people do it for the recognition,” Randle said. “They do it because they love what they do, they want to see the students succeed, and they want to be a part of a community that supports everybody.”

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Commemorative clocks were given to individuals in the campus community who have served and shown commitment toward the success of African American students (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

Gary Daniels, Harambee awardee, said although he is thankful for the recognition, he is not a student activist to gain accolades.

“Young people should use their talents and energy to make the world a better place regardless of whether they get awarded or recognized,” Daniels said.

Jerusalem Bekele, ’17 Kinesiology and fellow Harambee awardee, said events like Essence of Blackness are essential to not only educating the campus community about various cultures and the origin of traditions, but also to building a sense of community.

“Our perspective is kind of limited to what’s in front of us, and not necessarily outside so events like this kind of reach outside of America,” Bekele said. “I think it introduces a lot of culture and tradition to the SJSU community as well.”

Donntay Moore-Thomas, ’17 Communications, said although it was nice to see familiar faces that comprise the three percent African American population at SJSU, she was thrilled to see people from other cultural backgrounds attend as well.

“If we can share a meal together, I feel that we can come together for a greater cause,” Moore-Thomas said.

Students Organize Biomedical Device Conference

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

The San Jose State Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) ushered in its Seventh Annual Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference March 30 with discussion topics ranging from unmet medical device needs in developing countries to nanotechnology and entrepreneurial guidance.

The conference, which has been student-organized by the SJSU BMES since its inception in 2010, was created to give students the opportunity to exchange ideas and network with medical device industry professionals and academics.

“As our biomedical program continues to expand, collaboration with industry partners becomes increasingly important,” said Provost Andy Feinstein. “Today’s conference is one of many ways we can work together in preparing San Jose State students to work in this growing field.”

Hanmin Lee, surgeon-in-chief of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, said the more than 300 students, staff and industry professionals who filled the Student Union Ballroom all share a common interest as part of the biomedical realm — making the world a healthier place.

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Olubunmi Ode (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Shanelle Swamy, ’18 Biomedical Engineering (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

“Helping your fellow man is the most important thing we can do and we’re all interconnected,” Lee said. “To be able to help somebody else not only helps them but it helps you. It’s just the biggest privilege that we can all have.”

Olubunmi Ode strives to do just that, by aiding unmet biomedical needs of young children in Nigeria, a country that she says is plagued by power outages and a lack of proper medical devices.

Ode, a pediatric intensivist based in Abuja, Nigeria, has focused her life’s work on taking care of children in intensive care units through Hospitals for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that is mostly volunteer based.

“We do the surgeries and take care of the kids, but also train people on the ground so they know how to do this so we can set up the pipelines,” Ode said. “The kids do well. They survive, they go home and then come back to visit and they’re doing great.”

Shanelle Swamy, ’18 Biomedical Engineering, said she was inspired by Ode’s tales of working in inadequate medical conditions in an effort to improve Nigeria’s high child mortality rate.

“I come form the Fiji Islands and I’ve lost a lot of family members to inadequate medical conditions, hospitals that don’t have devices or just not having enough surgical rooms,” Swamy said. “Hearing about the medical needs in these developing countries is essentially what I want to work on after I graduate to really implement what we have here in the U.S. and bring it to these countries.”

Swamy, who was also a conference volunteer from SJSU BMES, said listening to the successes and difficulties of Ode and other industry professionals helped her narrow her goals as an emerging biomedical engineer.

In addition to the talk sessions, 28 student groups presented various research projects to industry professionals on posters during the networking reception portion of the conference.

Jung Han Kim, ’16 MS Biomedical Engineering, presented his research on using nanoparticles to deliver drugs that can precondition the heart to future heart attacks.

The drug delivers “small heart attacks” so that “when the real heart attack occurs, the heart is preconditioned so it can withstand the longer heart attacks,” Han Kim said.

Han Kim’s research was born from his advisor Folarin Erogbogbo, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who is an expert in nanotechnology. Erogbogbo presented his student-collaborated findings as part of his afternoon session titled, “Nanotechnology for Biomedical Theranostics.”

“I’m part of [Erogbogbo’s] group and there are many students that are working under his advisory, so it was good for me to see where my project actually plays a role in that research.” Han Kim said. “I know that my research can also help play a big role, maybe in some ways that I don’t even know right now, in nanotechnology development.”

Erogbogbo said conferences like these are important for students to not only showcase their research, but to also engage with professionals.

“[Han Kim’s] been an excellent student, learned to solve problems and worked on a whole variety of nanoparticle synthesis techniques so it’s always great working with students like that,” Erogbogbo said. “It’s extremely important to engage in this kind of communal activity and the impression that a lot of people leave with is, ‘wow the SJSU students are really organized and impressive,’ so it’s also building our reputation here.”

Student Hackathon Explores Internet of Things

San Jose State undergraduate and graduate computer science majors whip out their laptops and begin downloading Python and JavaScript software (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

San Jose State undergraduate and graduate computer science majors whip out their laptops and begin downloading Python and JavaScript software (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

Thirty San Jose State undergraduate and graduate computer science majors spent a recent Saturday hunched over hardware chips and sensors as part of a two-week Internet of Things Workshop that kicked off on March 19.

The workshop, born from collaboration between the SJSU Department of Computer Science and Aeris, a Santa Clara-based cellular network operator, offers students not only an introduction to various scripting languages but also the opportunity to create their own applications.

“I am thinking about a smart parking garage, so you have an app that says ‘this car is leaving this spot right now,’ then you can direct the people looking for spots to that spot,” said Dennis Hsu, ’16 MS Computer Science.

But even a simple idea requires sophisticated tech tools and collaborating with experts. This is where Aeris comes in.

Aeris senior software engineer Maanasa Madiraju gives thirty San Jose State computer software engineering majors an introduction to downloading software needed for the workshop (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

Aeris senior software engineer Maanasa Madiraju gives thirty San Jose State computer software engineering majors an introduction to downloading software needed for the workshop (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

Meredith Ku, VMware intern, and Robinson Raju, MS Computer Science ’16, review the accounts they’ve just set up on Aeris’ cloud management system (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

Meredith Ku, VMware intern, and Robinson Raju, MS Computer Science ’16, review the accounts they’ve just set up on Aeris’ cloud management system (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

Meredith Ku, VMware intern, takes a closer look at a blinking Tessel Board as it connects to her laptop (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

Meredith Ku, VMware intern, takes a closer look at a blinking Tessel Board as it connects to her laptop (Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism).

“One of the original goals of this was a basic hackathon but at a much higher level, so most of the work is going to be with JavaScript, Python, the Tessel platform and the types of sensors that feed data into the Internet of Things,” said Harry Plant, vice president of social sector at Aeris. “More importantly, I would like [students] to take away a sense of working at a Silicon Valley company.”

The thirty students are divided into ten groups of three, where they are tasked to work collaboratively to build an application over the course of two weeks to solve a real world problem or an application that has commercial value.

Groups were armed with a box of components to kick-start their product development stage, which included AeroCloud credentials to access the company’s Cloud system, a Tessel board hardware platform, connecting cable, climate or RFID (radio-frequency identification) modules, and Python and JavaScript software for coding.

Maanasa Madiraju, Aeris senior software engineer, guided participants in connecting Tessel boards to their laptops and navigating the company’s data management system.

“Our basic objective is to help students learn new languages so they can use them for the mainstream jobs,” Madiraju said.

Hsu, who envisioned the parking garage app, said prior to attending the workshop kick-off, the idea of the Internet of Things was an abstract concept as it relates to the broader connected world.

“I like that we got hands-on experience with the devices and actually doing the programming with professionals who give us their feedback and their ideas,” Hsu said.

Paired with Vihneshwari Chandrasekaran, ’17 MS Computer Science, Hsu said most of their early conceptual application ideas were born from various examples provided in short information sessions proctored by Aeris software engineers.

Aeris engineers suggested exploring applications that improve society in some capacity like water filter sensors for water crises, refrigerator sensors to prevent food spoiling and mobile payment applications.

Over the next two weeks, participants will have the opportunity to visit Aeris offices to attend “office hour” sessions, where they can de-bug ideas and gain feedback from Aeris engineers on how to improve their applications.

Students will present their final applications to Aeris on April 2, in a judging process that takes into consideration originality of the idea, technical achievement and execution, and real world value or commercial viability.

“There are two end goals,” Plant said. In addition to completing an app, the firm wants to “bring more students into Silicon Valley workplace and to expose them to the Internet of Things, and have them think from a design perspective,”

 

Student Uses Wearable Tech to Track Stress

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Exactly how much stress do you feel on the job?

Kelli Sum, ’16 Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Assistant Professor Dan Nathan-Roberts are tackling this question as part of their work in the SJSU Undergraduate Research Grants Program.

The program, which gives student-faculty teams the opportunity to collaborate, provided the pair a $1,000 grant toward their project regarding quantifying workload with wearable technology.

“I was always interested in fitness trackers and how it let me understand how much I moved that day,” Sum said. “I brought up that idea to Dr. Nathan-Roberts and was talking about my research interests and we were able to find a way to use this human factors application as research.”

Sum’s initial idea was founded on how fitness trackers can be used as motivation to improve a person’s health, but she realized upon consulting her professor how the same technology could lend itself to tracking and managing the workload of nurses, athletes and even soldiers.

“My goal is to hopefully solidify that foundation and use these [trackers] for many different people to quantify how hard they’re working,” Sum said.

Sum is conducting preliminary research with the help of her colleagues in the USERlab (User Systems Engineering Research Laboratory), a group of undergraduate and graduate students collaborating on research projects under the guidance of Professor Nathan-Roberts.

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

Armed with Basis Peak fitness trackers for a week at a time, Sum’s colleagues have tracked their heart rate, skin temperature, Galvanic skin response (the skin’s electric activity), number of calories burned and number of steps taken.

After a week of tracking, Sum downloads the device’s collected data, drops it into an Excel worksheet and analyzes the information.

“What it will have is minute-by-minute reporting,” Sum said. “I basically have a line graph looking at the heart rate and other factors over time and we try putting all this information into a graph so we can understand the trends.”

The peaks in the graph indicate when a person is working hardest, and perhaps experiencing the most stress. That knowledge may one day help nurses, soldiers and others moderate their activities so they are more effective over the long run.

For now, Sum is testing the concept on fellow students.

Michael Cataldo, ’17 Industrial and Systems Engineering, said his one-week pilot with the tracker was telling of the technology’s benefits.

“I’m getting more and more into fitness, so it can tell me if I need to push myself further or ‘hey your heart beat is too high, you need to slow down,’” Cataldo said.

Cataldo said his involvement in Sum’s research and collaboration with Professor Nathan-Roberts has cultivated a culture of sharing ideas.

“I think that I’m lucky to get to work with a number of students that have a lot of passion in the same area that I do, which is improving health and health care,” Nathan-Roberts said. “It’s aligning our research interests together and finding places where my expertise could help identify what is missing in the research or if there are opportunities for us to further study.”

As Sum nears the end of the preliminary data collection period, she hopes to collaborate with the SJSU Valley Foundation School of Nursing to pair nursing students with trackers in an attempt to understand how the body works in various environments.