San Jose State Receives $15 Million Gift Commitment from South Bay Philanthropist Lupe Diaz Compean

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

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic).

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

SAN JOSE, CA–San Jose State is pleased to announce that it has received a $15 million gift commitment from South Bay resident and friend of the university Lupe Diaz Compean. The gift will support student success initiatives and scholarships. In addition, the gift will support the maintenance of SJSU’s newly renovated and expanded Student Union, and the many activities housed in this structure located in the heart of campus.

“Lupe Diaz Compean’s remarkable generosity will enable San Jose State to make meaningful, sustained investments in student success initiatives, scholarships and student programming,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “Mrs. Compean did not graduate from college, but she and her late husband recognized the value of a college education for all and exemplified that a fulfilling life is within reach of everyone who works hard to achieve their dreams. San Jose State is pleased to recognize and honor the extraordinary work and generosity of donors who are making an enduring impact on our university and community.”

The building will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union in honor of Mrs. Compean and her late husband, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees at its March 8-9 meeting in Long Beach, Calif. President Martin and Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning will represent SJSU at the meeting.

“San Jose State has been in conversation with the Compeans for the past two decades,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “Throughout this time, Lupe Diaz Compean has been crystal clear that her motivation in making the gift was to benefit students, honor her family and her late husband by naming a facility, and demonstrating that by working hard and getting an education, anyone can achieve what she has in her lifetime.”

Endowments

Photo: David Schmitz

Student Union interior (Photo: David Schmitz).

The gift will be used to create the following endowment funds:

  • A Student Success Fund to support initiatives that foster student success and increase retention and graduation rates.
  • Three scholarship endowments to support emancipated foster youths, California Dream Act students, and a merit scholarship for high-performing students.
  • A Student Union Programming Fund to provide support for visiting lectures, art exhibits, workshops and other student-focused special events and programming.
  • A Student Union Operating Fund that will provide resources for ongoing maintenance and operating needs of the facility.

Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Lupe Diaz was born in 1926 in Edinburg, Texas and was the oldest in a family of 10 children. In 1955, she married Ramiro Compean, who was born in Reynosa, Mexico, in 1932. He was one of seven children in his family. Mr. Compean passed away in August 2002.

In 1956, one year after they were married, the Compeans moved to San Jose. Mr. Compean worked for George Day Construction building houses in Saratoga. Mrs. Compean attended school and helped her husband in the business. They saved their money and soon were able to purchase a home in Almaden Valley. They continued to buy properties as they were able. Mrs. Compean, at age 89, is still actively managing the properties she owns.

Mrs. Compean is not a graduate of SJSU, but believes very strongly in the mission of the institution and the importance of education. She first approached SJSU regarding making a gift in the mid-1990s. She and her husband had heard that SJSU had a good Mexican American Studies Department and wanted to contribute. Eventually, those conversations turned to the possibility of including the university in their estate. Following Mr. Compean’s death in 2002, Mrs. Compean continued the conversation with University Advancement and indicated that SJSU would be a beneficiary of half her estate.

In 2012, Mrs. Compean and her certified public accountant, Anne Lee of Bauerle, Lee and Associates, LLP, approached the university to explore how Mrs. Compean might experience the impact of her legacy while she was still alive. Over the course of the next three years, discussions continued regarding the use of the gift and how the gift would be structured. In December 2015, Mrs. Compean finalized the gift agreement.


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.

 

SJSU Students to Receive Full-Tuition Scholarships funded by $1 Million Samsung Gift

Photo: Orbie Pullen

Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon, SJSU President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (photo: Orbie Pullen).

Samsung presented San Jose State University Interim President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo with a $50,000 gift on Sept. 24, making SJSU the first recipient of $1 million in scholarships to be awarded to California’s public universities.

“San Jose State wishes to thank Samsung for supporting our efforts to prepare students for careers in the tech industry,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “SJSU sends more graduates to work in Silicon Valley companies than any other university, and this gift is an excellent example of SJSU’s collaboration with area employers.”

The company made the gift to the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, with the intention of covering tuition and living expenses for two students this year. Details on the selection process are in the works.

The announcement came as Samsung celebrated the grand-opening of its 1.1-million-square foot headquarters in North San Jose for its U.S. semiconductor operations.

Read the Samsung news release.

SJSU Alumni Association Awards Scholarships

Randy Vazquez,  '16 Journalism

Randy Vazquez, ’16 Journalism

More than 50 students received $150,000 in scholarships at the SJSU Alumni Association Scholarship Awards Reception on Sept. 15 in the Student Union.

“All of the scholarship recipients have a clear vision of how they will achieve concrete goals and make a difference after completing their college degrees,” said Alumni Association President Coleetta McElroy, ’97 Public Administration. She also serves as the university’s director of financial aid and scholarships.

Honorees

The honorees represent seven colleges and a cross-section of majors. They include:

  • James Keeley, ’16 Therapeutic Recreation, is a disabled veteran who works with homeless veterans.
  • Maria Stone, ’16 MA French and MS Physics, seeks to participate in space research looking for life on other planets.
  • Melissa Tracy, ’17 Child and Adolescent Development, chose her field based on her personal experience with foster care.

Read about more scholarship recipients and learn how to apply next year on the Alumni Association website.

Generous Support

Photo: Randy Vazquez,  '16 Journalism

Linh Dieu Do, ’16 Chemical Engineering, received the Hal Riddle Memorial Scholarship (Photo: Randy Vazquez, ’16 Journalism).

The SJSU program is among the most generous in the California State University system.

“What makes this program remarkable is these scholarships are funded by Spartans, for Spartans,” said Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations Brian Bates. “The donors—people in our community including teachers, accountants and artists—believe in creating opportunities through education for generations to come.”

In this way, alumni and students alike are part of a long legacy at San Jose State, spanning a half century of giving and receiving. And this legacy will continue, as this year’s recipients vow to pay it forward.

Paying it Forward

Linh Dieu Do, ’16 Chemical Engineering, received the Hal Riddle Memorial Scholarship, named for a lifelong educator and member of the Alumni Association’s Santa Clara County chapter.

“I am really hoping that someday I will be successful and will be able to come back and support my fellow students,” she said. “I work by this: Once you put your heart, your soul, your mind into something you love, nothing can stop you.”

 

Men’s Water Polo Returns to SJSU

Men's water polo coaches gather around their players at the edge of the pool.

The San Jose State men’s water polo team jumped back in the pool after a 34-year hiatus for its season opener against the Santa Clara Broncos on September 5 (Photo: Terrell Lloyd).

In the 1960s and 1970s, SJSU had a powerhouse water polo team. They won a national title in 1968, and finished in the top five nationally four times in the 1970s. But in 1981, the school discontinued the program to comply with Title IX regulations.

Bill Simpkins, a former college water polo player himself and son of long-time SJSU benefactors and alumni Alan and Phyllis Simpkins, repeatedly pressed the university to reinstate the sport. But the funds weren’t there. So Simpkins spearheaded an effort to raise enough money to bring the sport back.

“The team had a winning history. It needed to come back,” Simpkins said. “The sport of water polo has not added a new D1 team for over 30 years. Hopefully, this will start a trend. My parents, Alan and Phyllis, were my wingmen.”

Alumni support

Before the team’s first game, several donors and former water polo players participated in a cap ceremony, giving swim caps to the 19 players on the current roster (Photo: Terrell Lloyd).

Bill Simpkins and his wife Brigid made a generous donation. So did Peter Ueberroth,’59 Business Administration. Ueberroth is a former travel industry executive, Major League Baseball commissioner and U.S. Olympic Committee chairman.

Jane Hind set up a $1 million dollar endowment in her late husband’s name. Greg Hind, ’69  Health Science, was an All-American water polo player in the 1970s at SJSU.

Altogether, more than 100 people donated more than $3.5 million, which will sustain the program for five years until the university takes over the financing. Interest from the Greg Hine endowment will fund student-athlete scholarships beginning next year.

Cap ceremony

Before the team’s first game in September, several donors and former water polo players participated in a cap ceremony, giving swim caps to the 19 players on the current roster.

For a moment in time, right there on the pool’s edge, the years melted away as the generations bonded over their love of the game and their quest to keep this Spartan tradition going strong.

 

Kellogg Foundation Award

CommUniverCity

CommUniverCity San Jose engages local residents, SJSU faculty members and students, and city officials in learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-defined goals (David Schmitz photo).

Media contacts:
David Edelson, APLU, 202-478-6072
Pat Harris, SJSU, 408-924-1748

In recognition of its extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four members of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, including San Jose State, have been selected as regional recipients of the 2015 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award.

As regional winners, SJSU, Texas Tech University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of New Hampshire will represent and compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be presented during the APLU Annual Meeting Nov. 15-17 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. The three regional winners not chosen for the Magrath award will each receive a cash prize of $5,000.

Award history

Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship, and partnerships of four-year public universities.

The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005.

The Magrath Awards reward the significant impact our universities make in their communities, states, and across the nation as well as the world,” said APLU President Peter McPherson.

“This year’s regional award winners exemplify the broad principles of community-based outreach and engagement embraced by the public university community. We salute each of these model programs that feature students, faculty and administrators working in their community to improve the quality of life for all.”

A team of community engagement specialists judged this round of the award.  A second team will pick the national winner following presentations at the 2015 National Engagement Scholarship Conference in September.

About CommUniverCity San Jose

CommUniverCity San Jose is a unique community-university-city partnership that engages local residents with faculty members and students at San Jose State and city staff members in learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-defined goals. With nearly one million residents, San Jose is characterized by vast economic inequality and profound challenges with respect to poverty, unemployment, homelessness, gang violence, and low educational attainment.

To address these needs, CommUniverCity creates and supports 50 community action projects annually. Projects range from after-school tutoring and nutrition education to adult financial literacy classes. CommUniverCity’s structure can be described as three legs of a stable stool, with SJSU, the city of San Jose, and local organizations and residents each providing equal support for project identification and implementation.

SJSU’s role in this “town-gown” (city-university) partnership is threefold. First, faculty members apply subject-matter expertise to solve real-world problems. Second, students participate in community-engaged learning projects. Third, SJSU provides financial and administrative support. Over the past decade, this consistent engagement of faculty and students has generated a multitude of short-term studies and longer-term research, including a five-year comparison of social capital indicators within the service area.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 30,000 students and nearly 4,000 employees, San Jose State 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.

dan and jaime

Alumni Association Celebrates Scholarship Recipients

Cuong Truong

Cuong Truong, ’14 Nursing, plans to work toward ensuring all elderly patients receive quality care. She is a recipient of a San Jose Woman’s Club Scholarship (photo by Brandon Chew).

Aspiring professionals preparing to contribute to every part of our community and economy are recipients of 2014-15 SJSU Alumni Association Scholarships.

“These students truly define the Spartan spirit,” said Brian Bates, associate vice president for alumni relations. “They are achievers, innovators, dreamers and leaders in their classrooms, communities and even the world.”

The more than 30 recipients were invited to gather for a reception Sept. 16  in the Student Union ballroom. The group includes a future art professor, nurse and business owner as well as multiple engineers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers, social workers and fine artists.

Supporting Inspiring Students

Student recipients apply each spring through the SJSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The specific criteria and amount for each scholarship varies. But the overall objective is the same: to provide alumni with the opportunity to give back by supporting current students.

Onette Morales-Alcazar

Onette Morales-Alcazar, ’13 English, is seeking a teaching credential so she can support students learning English as a second language. Named a Connie L. Lurie College of Education Dean’s Scholar, she received the Pat Porter Memorial Scholarship (photo by Brandon Chew).

An excellent example is Angelina Loyola, ’10 Sociology, ’15 Mexican American Studies. Recipient of a College of  Social Sciences Dean’s Scholarship, she plans to teach at the high school or community college level so that she may empower her students to advance not just themselves but the entire community.

I hold steadfast to the words of the late Maya Angelou, ‘When you get, give. When you learn, teach,’” Loyola said.  “Thank you for acknowledging me as a scholar, and an individual that will take with her into this world the teachings from some of the greatest teachers I’ve encountered.”

Joshua Cruz, ’16 Computer Engineering, has taken advantage of the many leadership opportunities available to students at SJSU. A recipient of a Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering Dean’s Scholarship, he has served as a resident assistant, orientation leader, student instructional assistant and Spartan Marching Band member.

This scholarship…is a true validation that my involvements inside and outside of the classroom have an impact on my campus community,” Cruz said. “I will take the inspiration coming from those who have supported me through this scholarship to reach my scholastic goals.”

Tristan Pulliam

Tristan Pulliam plans to go to medical school. The recipient of a College of Science Dean’s Scholarship, he said, “I hope to one day reciprocate this investment by investing in the lives of future SJSU students” (photo by Brandon Chew).

Daniel Fenstermacher, ’16 Fine Arts, expresses his aspirations and sense of community through photography. The recipient of the Hoover Langdon Scholarship has his own business, currently specializing in aerial photography, including remarkable images of downtown San Jose captured using a drone.

Receiving the Hoover Langdon Scholarship gave me a great feeling of accomplishment and pride as a member of the SJSU community,” Fenstermacher said. “I feel fortunate to be rewarded with this recognition and this scholarship motivates me to keep improving every day both in school and in life.”

The generous support of alumni and friends makes these scholarships possible. Learn more about supporting the Alumni Association scholarship program.

 

Donors Give $31 Million to SJSU in 2013-14

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who continues to take our message and mission to heart (Robert C. Bain Photo).

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who continues to take our message and mission to heart (Robert C. Bain photo).

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Individuals, foundations and corporations made more than $31 million in gift commitments to the university during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, demonstrating heightened support for philanthropic giving to San Jose State.

“This shows tremendous progress in our efforts to build a culture of philanthropy supporting students and the faculty at San Jose State,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “We are grateful to the university community for participating in our fundraising efforts.”

Available This Year

Approximately $22.6 million will be available this year to support student scholarships, innovative programs and facility improvements. Additional funds will supplement the university’s endowment, now valued at more than $120 million.  The endowment ensures long-term continuity and sustainability of programs funded by donors.

In 2013, San Jose State completed its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State.” The university received over $208 million from individuals, corporations and foundations. Before the campaign, the university raised approximately $10 million annually. Afterward, the sum more than tripled.

Supporting Our Students and Faculty

“The campaign showed our many supporters the value of investing in our students and the faculty,” Vice President of University Advancement Rebecca Dukes said. “We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who continues to take our message and mission to heart.”

For the $31 million raised last year, individuals gave $24 million. Corporations and foundations provided $7 million. More than $19 million came through planned giving, which includes giving through financial and estate plans. The gifts benefit all of SJSU’s colleges and many programs.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city

Spartans Supporting Spartans

 Professor Eugene Cordero speaking at the 2012 TEDxSanJoseCA event on the topic of reducing annual carbon emissions (TEDxSanJoseCA/Flickr photo).

Professor Eugene Cordero speaking at the 2012 TEDxSanJoseCA event on the topic of reducing annual carbon emissions (TEDxSanJoseCA/Flickr photo).

“I’m inspired by work that happens on campus in areas that are very different from my own,” says Eugene Cordero, professor of meteorology and climate science. “Having the opportunity to support work others are doing allows you to feel as though you are helping.”

As regular donors and committee members for this year’s Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign, Cordero and his wife Clare, a lecturer in the engineering department, are passionate about helping. For Cordero, this campaign offers an opportunity for the campus community to come together and feel good about the university.

“You can give money to scholarships or to an outreach program that helps kids learn about science, or the library. Those are things that everyone can feel good about supporting,” says Eugene Cordero. “Our university is not just the administration; it’s the faculty, the staff, the programs, the students. I’m inspired by our students. That’s why I’m here.”

Cordero encourages his colleagues to consider what keeps them here, too. He offers this advice to fellow faculty members: “Keep using that positive energy to inspire students to learn and be creative and do great things!”

Make a gift through Spartans Supporting Spartans.

 

 

Spartans Supporting Spartans

Spartans Supporting Spartans: Sami Monsur’s Staff Scholarship

SJSU staff member Sami Monsur established the Support Our Staff Scholarship after earning a degree in Spanish while working at San Jose State.

“I am a strong believer in volunteering and giving back,” says Sami Monsur, resource analyst in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education—and she’s got the scholarship to prove it. In 2012, Monsur established the Support Our Staff Scholarship, an annual $500 scholarship that provides financial support for staff members working toward a degree at San Jose State.

The impetus for the gift was her own experience: Monsur was simultaneously a student and staff member while working toward her degree in Spanish, which she completed in 2011. “My dean, Elaine Chin, offers professional development money to every staff member. It has helped many, including me, pay for books and other costs related to our studies,” Monsur says. “As a student, I really saw how much the funds helped.”

The Support Our Staff Scholarship extends similar support to staff members university-wide who are matriculated students, whether they’re employees of the university, Research Foundation or Tower Foundation.

“You can always better yourself and try to move up in the world. Staff members don’t always make a lot of money, but we do have an opportunity to get a degree,” says Monsur. “Even with the tuition fee waiver [that state employees receive], school materials like books and a laptop are expensive—especially if someone is supporting a family.”

Last year the scholarship was awarded for the first time, and now, it’s growing. As one of the gift options for this year’s Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign, Monsur’s annual contribution has already been bolstered by more than a dozen new gifts from other staff and faculty members. “As it continues to grow, hopefully we’ll be able to award two or three scholarships a year,” she says.

“There is a really strong team of staff members that keeps this university going,” says Monsur. “I’m proud of that. I’m proud of our staff.”

Make a gift to the Support Our Staff Scholarship or an area of your choice through Spartans Supporting Spartans by April 18.

 

Celebrate 2014 Graduates and Support SJSU Alumni Association Scholarships

Quang Le, ’14 Civil Engineering

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

“I never thought I’d be here,” says Quang Le, ’14 Civil Engineering. Since transferring from an East Bay community college, Le has completed two internships and was elected SJSU chapter president for the Associated General Contractors of California. This year, he received the Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

“At SJSU, there are lots of ups and downs,” says Le. Luckily, Spartans take care of each other. Supported by donations, the SJSU Alumni Association Scholarship is awarded to two outstanding students from each of SJSU’s colleges each year. Selected based on academic excellence and community service, these students exemplify the Spartan spirit: they use what powers them to impact SJSU, their communities and the world. “Receiving this scholarship gives me the motivation to keep going—academically and professionally.”

Now, along with becoming “the best project manager out there,” Le hopes to mentor students who will impact their communities with innovative ideas for a sustainable future. Down the line, he dreams of endowing a scholarship in his name for other students like him—students who, he says, “you’d never think could be engineers.”

“Success isn’t just about being successful yourself, but also helping others achieve success,” says Le. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for some mentors I’ve had. I’m thankful and I want to give back.”

Give $20.14 and vote for the program that the Senior Gift will fund!

The SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program is one of three options for this year’s Senior Gift. To make a gift and vote for this year’s program recipient, download the Senior Gift form [PDF] or contact Carolyn Canete in SJSU’s Office of Annual Giving at 408-924-1782.

1. SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program
2. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
3. The Student Emergency Fund

Celebrate 2014 Graduates and Support the Student Emergency Fund

Students affected by the San Bruno fire received a $500 grant from the Division of Student Affairs. (Flickr photo / smi23le)

Students affected by the San Bruno fire received a $500 grant from the Division of Student Affairs. (Flickr photo / smi23le)

“We receive many requests for help,” says Monica Garcia, assistant to the VP for Student Affairs. Garcia’s office oversees the SJSU Student Emergency Fund, which provides financial assistance when students need it most.

What can students do if their car is stolen, along with personal items inside, and they have no way to get to class or work? Or worse, what can they do if they’re in a car accident and need money for temporary transportation or uncovered medical expenses? The Emergency Fund provides monetary support for out-of-pocket expenses to students involved in unforeseen, emergency events or situations that affect their ability to function as a student.

“We fund as many requests as we can,” says Garcia, who names sudden catastrophes from severe illness to funeral travel as examples of funded appeals. “We’ve funded students who are currently homeless and living in a shelter or car, and victims of house fires that resulted in loss of clothing, books and, in one case, even a house.”

Students may apply for an Emergency Fund award for out-of-pocket expenses on a one-time basis for up to a maximum of $500; an application [PDF] can be found on the Student Affairs website.

Give $20.14 and vote for the program that the Senior Gift will fund!

The Student Emergency Fund is one of three options for this year’s Senior Gift. To make a gift and vote for this year’s program recipient, download the Senior Gift form [PDF] or contact Carolyn Canete in SJSU’s Office of Annual Giving at 408-924-1782.

1. SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program
2. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
3. The Student Emergency Fund

 

Daniel Harris Lucas speaks at the I AM EOP event.

Celebrate 2014 Graduates and Support EOP

caption

Photo: Brandon Chew, ’14 Photojournalism

“If you’re from a high-crime city and all you hear is that you’re not going to make it, know that it’s not true,” says Daniel Harris-Lucas, ’14 Public Relations. Harris-Lucas was raised in foster care in Oakland after his mother became addicted to drugs. Today, thanks in part to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), a group designed to improve support of first-generation, low-income and historically disadvantaged students, he is about to graduate from San José State.

“EOP had a huge impact on me,” says Harris-Lucas, who was named SJSU’s first-ever African-American Homecoming King in fall 2013. “It’s a family. We support each other in major ways. When one of us wanted to drop out of school, everyone rallied around him. Last semester, my mom passed away, and my EOP family checked on me every day.”

From mentorship programs to career counseling, EOP provides enrichment opportunities as well as admission, academic, and financial assistance to help disempowered students find their power. “Without EOP I would have missed out on a lot,” says Harris-Lucas. “We have some tight bonds because we’ve been through a lot of the same things.”

As an EOP peer mentor himself, Harris-Lucas is committed to helping and advising other students. “If I help one person graduate, I’ve done something worthwhile,” says Harris-Lucas, who is applying to Georgetown University and Syracuse University for graduate school. “If people hadn’t helped me, I would not be where I am today,” says Harris-Lucas. “A gift to EOP goes a long way.”

Give $20.14 and vote for the program that the Senior Gift will fund!

EOP is one of three options for this year’s Senior Gift. To make a gift and vote for this year’s program recipient, download the Senior Gift form [PDF] or contact Carolyn Canete in SJSU’s Office of Annual Giving at 408-924-1782.

1. SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program
2. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
3. The Student Emergency Fund

The Power of Gratitude: Practicing Compassion

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

ThanhThuy Luu, ’13 Nutritional Science, ’16 MA Public Health

When donors help students achieve their goals, they are practicing compassion.”

Just three months after ThanhThuy Luu, ’13 Nutritional Science, ’16 MA Public Health, arrived in San Jose from Saigon, Vietnam, in 2008, she started her first semester at San Jose State. “I worked in the food industry in Vietnam and I burned out. I fell in love with nutrition,” says Luu. A first-generation college student, Luu already held a two-year degree in chemistry from a university in Vietnam when she decided to follow her heart into nutrition science.

In no time, she was excelling. In 2011, Luu was named a President’s Scholar, and this year she received an Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. “It is financial support but, more importantly, it is great motivation,” she says. “I came here not long ago and it is great to be recognized. I feel accepted into the academic community.”

Now enrolled in the master’s in public health program, Luu’s goal is to work as a health educator with English- and Vietnamese-speaking adults and seniors and ultimately teach as a university professor. “I am grateful for the cultural diversity at San Jose State,” she says. “The traditions, beliefs and values here are from all over the world. I enjoy that because it helps me prepare for my career.”

“I grew up in a Buddhist family; compassion is what I was taught as a child,” says Luu, who was nine years old in 1975 when Saigon was captured by the North Vietnamese forces and her brother, a soldier fighting for South Vietnam, was imprisoned. “Public health is more than nutrition. My passion for public health is built on the compassion I have cultivated in my life. When donors help students achieve their goals, they are practicing compassion.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.

Power of Gratitude: A Winning Attitude

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

David Fales, ’13 Psychology

I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here. It’s something I’ll remember forever. It’s been a great time.”

“If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship,” says David Fales, ’13 Psychology, “I probably wouldn’t be going to school here.” Which would be too bad for the Spartans. Since the quarterback came to San José State on a football scholarship in December 2011, he has become a single-season record holder in seven categories. In the 2012 season, Fales led the Spartans to an 11-2 record—throwing more than 4100 yards and 33 touchdowns with a pass completion rate of more than 72 percent—that culminated in a Military Bowl win and a move to the Mountain West Conference. Fales has not disappointed this season either: the Spartans are once again bowl-eligable following their last win, during which Fales threw for a school-record 547 yards and six touchdowns to spoil the Fresno Bulldogs’ perfect season.

“I always tell everybody that I don’t know what exactly I would be doing without the scholarship,” says Fales, who transferred from a junior college where he shouldered the cost of his education. “I’m very fortunate. Life is a lot easier now.”

Right now Fales is focused on football, but he has other plans in the works following his graduation in December. “I want to see how long I can play football and hopefully ride it out for a little bit longer. After that, I want to get involved in sports psychology.” Fales was first exposed to the profession during a brief semester at Wyoming. “They had a sports psychologist there and he really got me interested in working with teams.”

“I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here,” says Fales. “Being with the football team, the different experiences we’ve had, the relationships I’ve built in the two years I’ve been here. It’s something I’ll remember forever, and the relationships I have now I’ll have for the rest of my life. It’s been a great time.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.

Power of Gratitude: Being Inspired

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Gary Ortega, ’12, ’14 MA Jazz Studies

“Teaching challenges you to be a better person, for yourself and for others. Thank you to all of my teachers for keeping me inspired.”

“The music department is close-knit,” says Gary Ortega, ’12, ’14 MA Jazz Studies. “You are dependent on each other for ensembles; your music and your livelihood are reliant on it. It’s a community—a music family.”

Ortega has the opportunity to study, work and play with this family in part due to the Katherine Peterson Alumni Association Scholarship. Awarded on the basis of academic achievement, need and community service, this scholarship has allowed Ortega to say goodbye to the days of waiting tables so he can focus on more important things, like running his music lessons business, teaching instrumental music to third through eighth graders at St. Leo the Great School and staying involved with the nonprofit organization, San Jose Jazz.

“This award will be contributing to the success and completion of my master’s degree this spring with a lighter financial burden,” says Ortega, who is currently teaching jazz improvisation at SJSU. He plans to continue teaching to children and adults after he graduates. “Teaching challenges you to be a better person, for yourself and for others. And you get to help other people be better. Thank you to all of my teachers for keeping me inspired.”

The Power of Gratitude: Shooting High

Ta’Rea Cunnigan in uniform and basketball in-hand.

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Ta’Rea Cunnigan, ’15 Psychology

Basketball is only temporary but the relationships you make with people can last a lifetime!”

Ta’Rea Cunnigan, ’15 Psychology, is known for her skills on the basketball court, where she’s been helping lead the Spartans to victory. But the 5’9” guard is far from being all brawn and no brains. She has made the most of her San Jose State Athletics scholarship, as a Dean’s Scholar, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, Capital One Academic All-District VIII honoree and Academic All-WAC honoree for two years running.

As a psychology major with a kinesiology minor, Cunnigan has big plans for her future. She is shooting for a career in sports psychology, working with children and collegiate athletes to help them develop the mental stamina to balance the demands of being a student-athlete. “Through my scholarship, I’ve had the chance to inspire and work with young girls who want to play collegiate sports and get a college education,” she says. “I understand and can help them reach success, not only in academics, but in their sport as well.”

“I am most grateful for the friends and relationships I have made while being at San Jose State,” says Cunnigan. “Basketball is only temporary but the relationships you make with people can last a lifetime!”

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The Power of Gratitude: Sharing Success

Quang Le, ’14 Civil Engineering

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Quang Le, ’14 Civil Engineering

Success isn’t just about being successful yourself, but also helping others achieve success. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for some mentors I’ve had. I’m thankful, and I want to give back.”

“I never thought I’d be here,” says Quang Le, ’14 Civil Engineering. Since transferring from an East Bay community college, Le has completed two internships—with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and with The CORE Group construction company, where he served as lead estimator on a hospital project. This year, he was elected SJSU chapter president for the Associated General Contractors of California and he received the Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

“At SJSU, there are lots of ups and downs,” says Le. “Receiving this scholarship gives me the motivation to keep going—academically and professionally. It gets hard.”

Le is quick to share the credit for his success. “A lot of people helped me out,” he says. Now, along with becoming “the best project manager out there,” Le hopes to mentor students who will impact their communities with innovative ideas for a sustainable future. Down the line, he dreams of endowing a scholarship in his name for other students like himself who, he says, “you’d never think could be engineers.”

“Success isn’t just about being successful yourself, but also helping others achieve success,” says Le. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for some mentors I’ve had. I’m thankful, and I want to give back.”

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The Power of Gratitude: Coming Home

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Dylan Wondra,’13 Behavioral Science/Anthropology

“This scholarship does something extra to help soldiers coming home. It makes us feel appreciated.”

Two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001—on the day after his 17th birthday—Dylan Wondra, ’13 Behavioral Science/Anthropology, enlisted in the Navy. His heart filled with purpose and patriotic duty, he rose rapidly through the ranks as an airman, covering the globe by sea and land, and eventually, deciding to pursue a college education—something he never thought he’d do.

“To go from excelling at military life to being the lowest and the oldest student in remedial classes is incredibly difficult,” says Wondra. But a year into San Jose State, he was back at the top of his game. Newly married, he had just been recognized as a Dean’s Scholar in 2011 when he received word that he was to deploy—this time to Kuwait for 15 months. With his life “flipped upside down,” Wondra once again put his education on hold.

After returning to SJSU in spring 2013, Wondra received a veteran’s scholarship, funded by Cisco. “I believe that all student veterans deserve the scholarship money due to their unwavering dedication to the United States of America,” he says. With a pregnant wife at home, the scholarship was especially useful. “It’s so nice that there is a scholarship program just for veterans. Finding a job is the hardest part for vets,” says Wondra, who turned down a job in law enforcement to pursue new passions through education. “This scholarship does something extra to help soldiers coming home. It makes us feel appreciated.”

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Power of Gratitude: The Gift of Confidence

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Klarence OuYang, ’13 Management Information Systems

I had mentors, and you realize later what a big impact they had on you. One day I hope to be able to contribute to the next generation of students.”

When Klarence OuYang, ’13 Management Information Systems, first read the description of the MIS major he thought, “It was like it was written for me.” He packed up his belongings and left San Diego for San Jose—but not without help.

“I wouldn’t have been able to afford school if it weren’t for scholarships and aid,” says OuYang, who has received the Danny Fortune Memorial Business Scholarship, the Friends of Jack Holland Business Scholarship, and the Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. “It has greatly lightened my financial burden, allowing me to concentrate on my coursework and stay active on campus.”

The benefits of receiving scholarships go even deeper for OuYang. “A big part of their impact is in terms of self-confidence. Even the act of writing the application essay is valuable for looking back and reflecting on your accomplishments,” he says. He also recognizes that support comes in more forms than money, and currently works in the Career Center and as a mentor for the Gary J. Sbona Honors Program. “I had mentors, and you realize later what a big impact they had on you. One day, I hope to be able to contribute to the next generation of students.”

The Power of Gratitude: Saved by the Music

Music major and Spartan, Jessica Nuygen

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Jessica Nguyen, ’15 Music Education

Music saved my life. I could finally be myself with music; I could make my own path. It’s a special thing and I want to share it with others. I can’t be selfish and keep that gift to myself.”

Discipline, teamwork, fine motor skills, expression, a way to connect cross-culturally and without language—these are just some of the reasons why Jessica Nguyen, ’15 Music Education, believes her field is important. A recipient of this year’s Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship in the College of Humanities and the Arts, Nguyen plans to pursue a career teaching band, choir and orchestra to elementary and middle school students. “I connect with the younger kids—plus I’m taller than them,” jokes the diminutive musician, singer and conductor.

Nguyen is a member of the Concert Choir, Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band and the Choraliers, with whom she’s traveling to Europe in a few months for a concert tour—a dream come true. “Winning this scholarship made Europe possible,” she says with a wistful smile. “I’ll get to sing in the cathedrals where my favorite music was born! I’m so thankful.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.