Don and Sally Lucas

From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

SJSU held a reception Sept. 10 to thank Don and Sally Lucas, who have been lifelong supporters of the college.

Don and Sally Lucas spent a lifetime giving to San Jose State. Now San Jose State is giving back. The couple joined Dean David Steele, President Mohammad Qayoumi, many more dignitaries, students, faculty and staff Sept. 10 to celebrate the naming of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

Students streaming in and out of classes in the Business Tower and Boccardo Business Center stopped to listen as speakers thanked Don and Sally Lucas, who graduated in the late 1950s from SJSU with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and primary education, respectively. The Lucases were the first donors to make a major gift to the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, which eventually raised more than $200 million for SJSU.

“To be the first is not easy,” President Qayoumi said, thanking the couple for their “faith in the intangible power of philanthropy.” Dean Steele noted private giving supports programs that distinguish the college, which has maintained its “gold standard” accreditation for nearly a half century.

Displaying a deep sense of modesty reflecting his rise from humble beginnings, Don Lucas said, “giving is a basic human need, like eating and sleeping” and then thanked SJSU for providing the foundation that allowed him to complete his education, experience early success as a car salesman and then build on that to the point when he could give back.

As implied by recent graduate Jasmine Rezai, who spoke at the Lucas event, it’s tough to know when you’re a busy student just how much is going on to ensure support is in place for the programs that make the college exceptional.

This was certainly true at the Jack Holland Student Success Center. As dignitaries prepared to continue the festivities by celebrating the opening of the center — named for a much loved late faculty member and funded in part by donors — students, tutors and academic advisers had already filled every available seat, working away and laying the foundation for the next generation of Spartan supporters.

Celebrate the power of philantropy

A Popcorn Bar, Yogurt Bar and Cake!

Tower Lawn

Join the celebration noon Sept. 10 on Tower Lawn as we thank donors for giving $200 million to SJSU.

From the University Library to Athletics, EVERY area of campus was touched by Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State.

Here are 10 reasons to join us at noon Sept. 10 on Tower Lawn as we thank donors for giving $200 million to SJSU.

1. We’re offering free refreshments and student entertainers including Pitch Please, the SJSU Gospel Choir, Pride of the Pacific Islands and Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol de SJSU.

2. $74 million was raised to support our faculty members.

3. More than $53 million was contributed to student scholarships and fellowships during the campaign.

4. $17.3 million was contributed to facilities such as labs and smart classrooms.

5. More than 30,000 donors contributed to the Acceleration campaign.

6. Nearly 17,000 donors—55 percent of the total number—made their first gift EVER during the campaign.

7. Spartans Supporting Spartans (the annual faculty and staff campaign) raised $134,000 in just two years.

8. Donors make it possible for SJSU engineering students to compete in the Concrete Canoe competition.

9. Thanks to donations, the Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s Simulation Lab enables students to practice caring for patients in real-world simulations.

10. And last but not least, we received two airplanes—yes, airplanes!—during the campaign.

 

 

$208,863,349 raised during the Acceleration Campaign

Exceeding Our Goal, Powering Our Future

$208,863,349 raised during the Acceleration Campaign

Strong support helped “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State” exceed its goal and conclude one year earlier than anticipated.

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – President Mohammad Qayoumi announced today that San Jose State University has raised more than $208 million in private giving during its first-ever, multi-year comprehensive fundraising campaign. Strong support helped “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State” exceed its goal and conclude one year earlier than anticipated. President Qayoumi made the announcement during his Fall Welcome Address, an annual tradition marking the advent of the academic year. (View prepared remarks.)

“Let me take this opportunity to thank all involved for their hard work and strong commitment,” President Qayoumi said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our donors for believing and investing in San Jose State. Together, we have laid a solid foundation for the next campaign.”

San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi delivered the Fall Welcome Address on Aug. 19 in Morris Dailey Auditorium.

President Mohammad Qayoumi delivered the Fall Welcome Address on Aug. 19 in Morris Dailey Auditorium.

Acceleration began in 2006 with the goal of raising $200 million in eight years from individuals, corporations and foundations. SJSU received more than 30,000 individual gifts, with half of the donors hailing from the Bay Area. The funds raised will support all seven colleges, the University Library, Student Affairs and Intercollegiate Athletics. Planning for the next campaign is underway.

SJSU’s Strategic Plan

Using San Jose State’s strategic plan as a framework for his Fall Welcome Address to faculty and staff members and students, Qayoumi focused on the university’s five long-term goals, including “Unbounded Learning,” which encompasses all efforts to enhance student success through continuous learning innovations.

The president highlighted enhancements across the disciplines, including engineering, business, education, math and computer science. Qayoumi also affirmed his commitment to San Jose State’s most controversial efforts, which have involved instructors experimenting with massive open online course platforms offered by edX and Udacity.

“I hope our collective curiosity and passion for student success motivates us to continually explore new approaches to teaching and learning,” President Qayoumi said. “I am encouraged that our faculty members are considered innovators and pioneers. Change is hard. Yet it is essential that we improve student access, enhance academic performance, shorten time to degree and increase graduation rates.”

Planning for the Future

President Qayoumi continued by describing progress with nearly a dozen ongoing or planned campus construction projects, reflecting SJSU’s strategic goal of developing “21st Century Spaces.” The president also declared the university budget structurally balanced for the first time in recent memory, applauding officials for passing the state budget on time and restoring support for the California State University system.

“We have accomplished much in the past year, and there is much more to be done,” President Qayoumi said. “A spirit of collaboration and shared mission will be more important than ever.  All of our efforts will involve discussion.  A few may even provoke disagreement. Let us commit ourselves to respectful, civil, collegial and healthy dialogue.  I am confident that together we can continue to transform San Jose State in its continuing journey for excellence.“

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

 

Fall Welcome Address

President to Deliver Fall Welcome Address

Fall Welcome Address

President Mohammad Qayoumi

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi will deliver the Fall Welcome Address at noon Aug. 19 in Morris Dailey Auditorium. The event is open to the campus community and media. Afterward, a video and transcript will be accessible from the SJSU homepage.

An annual tradition, the gathering for faculty, staff and students marks the beginning of a new academic year. President Qayoumi will reflect on the successes of the previous year, and frame future challenges and opportunities.

The president’s speech will include a significant announcement about Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State University, the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in SJSU history.

In addition, he will provide updates on the budget, Strategic Plan: Vision 2017 and campus capital improvements.

SJSU map, directions.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Innovations in Engineering Education

Engineering Education Innovators

Innovations in Engineering Education

Mark and Carolyn Guidry at the 2006 Engineering Awards Banquet (photo courtesy of the Guidry family).

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – To support San Jose State University’s groundbreaking efforts to develop new approaches to teaching engineering, the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation has made a $2.5 million gift commitment, establishing the Carolyn Guidry Professor of Engineering Education.

“We are grateful the Guidry family values San Jose State’s position at the forefront of the transformation now underway in higher education,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “The Carolyn Guidry Professor of Engineering Education will help SJSU make a major impact in this field.”

The Carolyn Guidry Professor of Engineering Education will be a senior faculty member who is a national leader in engineering education and higher education research. This professor will conduct research in approaches and strategies for teaching engineering, resulting in the development of best practices for retention and learning outcomes for engineering students at the university level.

“My family strongly believes in the power of education and that we must continually transform engineering education to produce graduates with the tools needed for the world as it will be, not merely as it is today,” said Gayle Guidry Dilley, Carolyn’s daughter and the president of the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation.

All three of the couple’s children graduated with degrees in engineering or computer science. David earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA at London Business School; Mike earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering at San Jose State; and Gayle earned a bachelor’s in computer science at Chico State.

Mark and Carolyn Guidry

The late Carolyn Guidry, ’79 MS Computer Engineering, was born in Mississippi and spent her childhood in various states across the Deep South. She earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Louisiana State University in 1959. One week after graduation, she married Mark Guidry, a fellow electrical engineering major she met at LSU.

Carolyn began her career at Boeing, but she soon put her engineering career on hold and devoted 20 years to raising their three children. She later returned to school and earned her master’s in computer engineering from SJSU in 1979. She joined Hewlett-Packard and was a member of the design team for several HP computers until 1988. At HP, she was directly responsible for the development of a new flexible interconnect ribbon cable and the micro code for a new computer.

In partnership with Mark, Carolyn founded two successful companies:  Simon Software, a semiconductor design software company, and Avasem Corporation, a semiconductor product development company. Both eventually merged with other companies, and the combined companies became leaders in their respective fields.

Carolyn became a full-time volunteer for the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose, developing its computer systems and software, and assisting in the development of concepts and funding.

Family foundation

After the Guidrys’ second company was acquired by Integrated Circuit Systems in 1993, she founded the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation and managed all aspects of the organization, which is devoted to supporting education and the arts.

Carolyn received an Alumni Award of Distinction from SJSU’s Davidson College of Engineering in 2006, and both she and Mark were inducted into the LSU College of Engineering’s Hall of Distinction in 2001. Carolyn passed away in 2009.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from LSU, Mark took a position at Boeing, in Seattle, Washington. He subsequently earned a master’s in electrical engineering from University of Washington and a doctoral degree from Iowa State University.

Mark taught at LSU, where he conducted research in semiconductor technology, laser technology and radio wave propagation. Prior to founding their companies, Mark, now retired, worked for Fairchild Semiconductor in Palo Alto, a small San Diego company and Texas Instruments in Houston.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Faculty and Staff Get Inspired

SJSU faculty and staff members gathered at several recent kickoff events to launch the second annual Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign. This annual campaign is an opportunity for faculty and staff members to celebrate the things that inspire them at San Jose State by making a gift to a department or program of their choosing. Spartan pride was in full swing — blue and gold pennants waving and balloons blowing — as those who attended the events shared what inspires them about students, colleagues and the campus community here at SJSU.

As the campaign progresses, faculty and staff are making contributions to a variety of departments, funds and campus organizations, including chemistry, the Support Our Staff Scholarship, the Student Emergency Fund, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisesexual and Transgender Resource Center, and the Center for Community Learning and Leadership.

“The students continue to inspire me as a staff member,” said Joy Njema Vickers from Student Outreach and Recruitment. “So giving back, as was once done for me, is my contribution to continuing the legacy.”

The annual faculty and staff campaign continues through April 19.

SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

Phyllis Simpkins

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose State is set to honor the life and extraordinary commitment of Phyllis Simpkins,’46 Home Economics and Marketing, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. in Morris Dailey Auditorium. A reception will follow in the rose garden and bell plaza area outside Tower Hall. Both events are open to the public.

Mrs. Simpkins, who passed away July 7 at 87, and her late husband Alan Simpkins, ‘48 Physics, were lifelong supporters and donors to SJSU. Among San Jose State’s most generous benefactors, the couple committed nearly $20 million to many athletic and academic programs.

The Simpkins’ led the effort to restore the Spartan Marching Band in 1977 after several years of absence. Last year, Phyllis provided seed money for a campaign to provide the band with new uniforms. On Sept. 8, when SJSU football takes on UC Davis, the band will wear those new uniforms in a half-time show dedicated to the couple. Sewn inside each uniform is a label bearing the name of a donor, including Phyllis and Alan Simpkins.

Among SJSU Most Generous Donors

“The legacy created by Phyllis Simpkins’ leadership and generosity will benefit San Jose State University students for generations to come. Not only did she give generously, she inspired others to support San Jose State,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “It is important that we pay tribute to the many ways in which Phyllis and Alan supported our students and university as a whole.”

Gifts from the Simpkins support the following:

  • Phyllis Forward Simpkins International Center (the SJSU International House)
  • Alan B. Simpkins Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Building
  • Simpkins Stadium Center
  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • Department of Nutrition and Food Science
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • School of Music and Dance

Giving and Getting Involved

But the Simpkins did much more than give to SJSU; they got involved. The International House was a personal passion for Phyllis who, in addition to being a regular visitor and occasional cook, oversaw its purchase, renovation and upkeep. Phyllis served as president of the SJSU Alumni Association in 1977. She and with her husband were among the founders of the association’s Santa Cruz Chapter.

San Jose State and the California State University have honored Phyllis and Alan Simpkins many times over the years. In 1979, Phyllis Simpkins received the Tower Award, SJSU’s highest honor for philanthropy and service. Phyllis and Alan Simpkins were named CSU Philanthropists of the Year in 1989. Both Phyllis and Alan Simpkins also received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at the SJSU commencement in 1996.

Parking for the event is available in the South (Seventh Street) Garage, located at South Seventh and East San Salvador streets.

Jim Harvey photo

Inspired by Personal and Professional Connections, Moss Landing Interim Director Gives to SJSU

Jim Harvey as a post-doc, assisting to rescue whales in Alaska.

In 1988, Harvey was a postdoctoral fellow when he was tapped to be part of a team of scientists involved in the rescue of three gray whales trapped underneath the ice near Barrow, Alaska. Rescue team members Mark Fraker (left, oil company), NOAA’s Dave Withrow (center) and Jim Harvey (right, seated). (Dave Withrow/NMML/NOAA image)

(Editor’s Note: The following was originally published in the Acceleration Update on March 7, 2012).

A lot has changed since Jim Harvey first stepped foot on the campus of San José State. He earned a Ph.D. and helped rescue a few gray whales. He found the job of his dreams and became the interim director of a leading marine research lab. He’s married, mentored more than 75 graduate students and—perhaps most noticeable—he’s grown a couple feet taller.

Few people can claim a deeper association with SJSU than Harvey. His father was a professor in the College of Science and Harvey grew up in a home that valued science. Harvey remembers coming to campus as a child and taking trips with his father to do research on giant sequoias in the Sierra and marsh restoration in San Francisco Bay. Later, Harvey would become an alumnus when he attended San José State as an undergraduate.

Now, Harvey is a professor and Interim Director of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. If you’ve driven down the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California, you’ve probably cruised past the marine research consortium’s headquarters, which is operated by the CSU and administered through San José State. The facility is located in Moss Landing, Calif., and offers a well-regarded graduate program in marine science.

Recently, Harvey and his wife decided to bequest a portion of their estate to Moss Landing through San José State. It was a decision that grew from their deep connection to the lab and the confidence that their gift would go to good use. Read more.

grads in cap & gown

How Will You Honor Your Favorite Spartan Grad?

grads in cap & gown

The Senior Gift gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of graduates,

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

How will you honor your favorite San Jose State graduate this spring? Consider contributing $20.12 or more to the 2012 Senior Gift fund.

The Senior Gift gives graduating students, along with their family and friends, the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of graduates, while contributing to a program that will directly support current and future students.

Donors get to vote for one of three recipient organizations. This year’s choices include the SJSU Alumni Association Scholarship Program, the Educational Opportunity Program and the Student Emergency Fund.

Last year, 165 SJSU graduates, parents, and faculty and staff members gave a total of over $3,800. The money raised went to the Educational Opportunity Program because it received the most votes.

Honor someone special and vote for this year’s Senior Gift recipient. Your name and the names of those you honor will appear in May’s commencement program and the Donor Honor Roll.

To learn more, contact Carolyn Canete, annual giving manager, at 408-924-1782. Give now.

SJSU in the News: Athletics Department Raises Funds for Bill Walsh Center

SJSU in the News: Athletics Department Raises Funds for Bill Walsh Center

A rendering of the Bill Walsh Center exterior view (SJSU Athletics image).

San Jose State forges ahead with Bill Walsh Center

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Feb. 10, 2012.

By Jon Wilner

The San Jose State athletic department is planning to build a massive football complex that will include a facility named in honor of its most famous alumnus.

The Bill Walsh Center will be the spiritual and intellectual heart of the 60,000-square-foot, two-building complex rising above the north end zone of Spartan Stadium. A football operations center also is in the works.

With an estimated cost of $9 million to $14 million, the project is expected to begin next winter and be completed by the start of the 2013 football season.

“We’re very excited,” said Walsh’s son, Craig. “There’s enough synergy in the community to get it done. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do it and another to get the financing. But they’ve closed that loop. They’ve worked hard.”

San Jose State president Mohammad Qayoumi supports the project provided that funding goals are met, according to university media relations director Pat Lopes Harris.

No state money will be used. The complex will be paid for by donations to Spartan athletics, which is using a committee of Walsh’s friends and former players to help raise money.

Athletic director Tom Bowen said enough money has been pledged to start the project but that fundraising is ongoing.

“The commitment by the university is there — this project will happen,” Bowen said. “We’ve been working on it for four years. This is the fulfillment of a promise that (former SJSU president) Don Kassing and I made to Bill. It’s something he wanted to do.”

According to at least one influential faculty member, it’s something the Spartans need to do.

“There are facilities needs in athletics to modernize, improve and expand in order to best serve current and future students at the highest levels, which includes the fact that we are a Division I institution,” said professor Annette Nellen, chair of the university’s Athletics Board, which serves as a liaison between the faculty and the athletic department.

“I think there has been appropriate research and input from many on-campus and off-campus sources to identify where fundraising efforts are needed.”

The football operations center will include offices for coaches, a locker room and player lounge, medical and training facilities and a dining hall.

It’s designed to allow SJSU to remain competitive in the Western Athletic Conference, where numerous schools have built new athletic facilities since the completion of SJSU’s last project, the Koret training center, more than a decade ago.

“We’re behind, and this will get up right there with them,” Spartans coach Mike MacIntyre said. “It will help in recruiting, in our daily function and help with the overall culture of the team and the community. People will realize football is important, and perception’s huge.”

But the centerpiece of Bowen’s plan is what SJSU is calling “The Bill Walsh Center: Institute for the Development of Human Potential.” It will hold lectures and seminars promoting Walsh’s vision of leadership.

San Jose State is the first Bay Area sporting institution to name a facility after the legendary coach, who played for the Spartans and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from SJSU.

Walsh’s wife, Geri, also attended the university, and they met there. Walsh died in 2007.

“It’s where Bill got his start, and it’s appropriate,” said Bill Ring, who played for Walsh with the 49ers and remains a close family friend.

“The embodiment of what San Jose State is trying to do is exactly what Bill wanted — (after his coaching career) he really turned his attention to mentoring people. He was in it to give of himself, to teach.”

SJSU’s plans call for an eight-foot bronze statue of Walsh outside the complex. The buildings will be connected by a second-floor walkway, with the Walsh Center overlooking the north end zone of Spartan Stadium.

The first floor will house San Jose State’s athletic Hall of Fame and Walsh memorabilia, including his 500-page thesis on the flank offense, which Craig Walsh described as the precursor to his father’s famed West Coast offense.

But the facility is not a museum.

The second floor will have an amphitheater and meeting rooms, allowing San Jose State to host conferences, clinics and seminars based on Walsh’s philosophy of sports psychology and management.

After retiring from coaching, Walsh taught classes at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He is also the author of numerous books on coaching, organization and leadership.

“It’s going to be a think tank for leadership,” Craig Walsh said. “We want it to be a West Coast destination. Everything will be under the guise of innovation.”

For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner’s College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.

THE CENTER
What it is: A 60,000-square-foot, two-building complex that will rise above the north end zone of Spartan Stadium and allow SJSU to stay competitive in the WAC.
Cost: $9 million to $14 million, paid for by donations to Spartan athletics
Mr. Thomspon with 2 students in Hong Kong

Thompson Global Internship Program Receives $950,000 Gift

two students with Crown truck in Hong Kong

Students Jimmy Sigona (left) and Artem Shevchuk (right) in Hong Kong with the Thompson Global Internship Program (photo courtesy of Jimmy Sigona).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

James E. Thompson, ’62 Aeronautical Engineering, has made a $950,000 gift commitment to San Jose State University supporting a College of Business program he helped establish in 2010. The gift is expected to support student participants over the next ten years. The competitive Thompson Global Internship Program sends undergraduate business students to tackle challenging, real-life projects identified by Crown Worldwide Group in cities where it operates such as Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. Thompson is founder and chairman of the Hong Kong-based business, the world’s largest privately-held international moving company. He created the internship so students could develop a truly global worldview. “My interest in funding this program was to encourage San Jose State students to realize the fact that globalization is now part of all our lives and we should embrace it,” he said in May as SJSU’s commencement speaker. “We’ve come very far in making the world a global society, and in my opinion there’s no turning back.”

To learn more, please contact Program Director William DeVincenzi, (408) 924-3488.

Provost Ellen Junn speaking with Power Point in the background

SJSU Welcomes 26,800 Students to Spring Term 2012

Provost Ellen Junn speaking with Power Point in the background

Ellen Junn at her first forum as SJSU's chief academic officer (Robert Bain photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Sunny skies greeted nearly 26,800 students beginning spring term 2012 Jan. 25 at San Jose State.

Around 800 transfers arrived on campus, including at least one San Francisco 49er. Donte Whitner lit up Twitter with tons of questions on everything from barbecue to student services.

New Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn became perhaps the first SJSU administrator ever to incorporate live audience polling via cell phone into a campuswide forum on the budget and strategic plan.

President Mo Qayoumi began the term with a welcome back message vowing to move forward on Vision 2012. “I am well aware that ‘strategic plans’ can become empty words. Let me assure you that this is not our path,” he said.

“Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State University” will continue to make progress toward its $200 million goal, while Governor Brown proposed a flat budget for the CSU in 2012-2013. He’ll update the numbers in May.

The University Police Department introduced an evening shuttle, providing safe transit for campus community members traveling between SJSU and nearby residences, workplaces, classrooms or public transit.

Students of course continue to work away on a wide range of academic and pre-professional endeavors. One example is a team of aspiring engineers developing a futuristic spherical drive system.

Athletics Director Tom Bowen will provide all faculty and staff two free tickets to a Spartan Basketball doubleheader Feb. 4, when rally towels will be given away to the first 500 people in attendance.

Later this semester, on Feb. 25, MSNBC political analyst Rachel Maddow will accept the John Steinbeck Award, “In the Souls of the People,” following in the footsteps of Sean Penn, Michael Moore and many others.

Spring term is for milestones. The Honors Convocation will celebrate its 50th anniversary April 20, recognizing students with top GPAs. The same day, an Investiture Ceremony is planned for President Qayoumi.

At Commencement May 26, SJSU will send more than 8,000 students into the workforce or on to graduate school. Go Spartans!

K-12 teachers in an SJSU classroom for professional training

Sustainability Education Pilot Project Receives $71,000 Grant

K-12 teachers in an SJSU classroom for professional training

The effort will build on SJSU’s Bay Area Earth Science Institute, which offers a comprehensive, year-round professional development program for teachers of grades 4-12 (Elena Polanco photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Improving the sustainability literacy of California’s 450,000 sixth graders is the goal of a new pilot project uniting SJSU and Creative Change Educational Solutions, a national leader in sustainability education.

This effort will also form a network of teacher education faculty members from SJSU and CSU East Bay. They will develop a sustainability lens for teachers of grades K-8.

The California Alliance for Sustainability will be funded by a $71,333 grant from the the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation.

Professor of Geology Ellen Metzger will be the principal investigator. Assistant Professor of Education Grinell Smith, science education coordinator for elementary education, will be the co-principal investigator.

Over 20 in-service teachers and education faculty members from SJSU and California State University East Bay will participate in summer workshops. Then they will receive follow-up support as they significantly re-frame their instructional units and university courses using a sustainability lens, one that expands environmental education to include issues of social equity and economic sustainability.

Metzger and her colleagues will focus on sixth grade science standards, investigating and addressing barriers to implementing educating for sustainability in real classrooms.

Chevron provided $5,000 in seed funding for the project. The effort will build on Metzger’s role as director of SJSU’s Bay Area Earth Science Institute. Now in its 21st year, BAESI offers a comprehensive, year-round professional development program for teachers of grades 4-12.

Student works with employee to use special technology that allows him to hear rather than read materials.

Donor’s Support for Adaptive Technology Center Helps Students Overcome Barriers to Success

Student works with employee to use special technology that allows him to hear rather than read materials.

“Being here at San Jose State is a dream come true. And the dream has brought me to places that I never thought I’d be as an undergraduate. What’s ended up happening is that I’ve become a nurse leader. If not for the Adaptive Technology Center, none of this would be possible,” said Rick Becker, ’12 Nursing.

When nursing student Rick Becker found out he was a San Jose State President’s Scholar, he rushed over to share the news with the Adaptive Technology Center staff. Becker says he wouldn’t have been able to earn a 4.0 GPA without their help. Through the center, Becker was able to test-drive several document readers to find the one that works best with the complex medical vocabulary and diagrams in his nursing textbooks.

Becker learns most effectively by listening to, rather than reading, course materials. He uses document readers, which take digital files and read them back aloud, to stay on top of The Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s rigorous coursework. He also uses voice recognition software to compose emails, presentations and evidence-based research papers.

A gift from Linda Starek, ’66 Education, will be used to update the center’s technology and make it available to students like Becker. Every year, about 1,200 students from every college and every discipline—with challenges ranging from cognitive to physical disabilities—go to the center to use and get training on adaptive technology. With the training and technology the center provides, these students overcome barriers to success.

Becker is making a name for himself among his peers and in the state of California. In addition to serving as president of the Public Health Nursing Club, he is also the first undergraduate student ever to hold a voting seat on the California Public Health Association-North’s Governing Council, which influences statewide health policies. Becker is also a member of the association’s Communication Task Force, which, among other things, ensures effective communication to the California public. “The help from the Adaptive Technology Center has allowed me to excel academically and to branch out,” says Becker. “The center’s staff uncovers what you can actually do.”

“It’s not that students who use the Adaptive Technology Center cannot learn. They just learn in different ways. And with online classes and new technology that’s used in classrooms, providing equal access to course materials becomes even more essential,” said Wendy Lin, adaptive technology center coordinator.

View the complete SJSU Tower Foundation Annual Report 2010-2011.

MESA Schools Receives $30,000 Grant from Boston Scientific Foundation

MESA Schools Receives $30,000 Grant from Boston Scientific Foundation

Young student operating a simple machine created with MESA Schools support.

San José State’s MESA Schools Program works with secondary school teachers to encourage educationally disadvantaged students to pursue college degrees in science, technology engineering and math related majors.

Robot parts and computers to program the robots. Balsa wood for building bridges. Paper and pencils. A $30,000 grant from the Boston Scientific Foundation will, among other things, finance an interesting list of supplies for SJSU’s MESA group.

The MESA Schools Program, which worked with the San José State’s Corporate and Foundation Relations team to apply for the grant, was informed that it was being awarded the generous gift in October. Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices. Its products are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties.

This year’s grant follows on a prior grant for $10,000. The increase in grant funding developed out of a multi-level relationship between SJSU and Boston Scientific including Spartan alumni within the company, Boston Scientific volunteer participation with MESA kids and the demonstrable success of the program.

San José State’s MESA Schools Program—its name is an acronym for Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement—has worked since 1979 with secondary school teachers in the Santa Clara Valley to encourage educationally disadvantaged students to pursue college degrees in science, technology engineering and math related majors.

Read more.

A filler machine at the Pack Expo in Las Vegas. Attendants are showing visitors how the bottles are filled on a packaging line

Donor Funds Food Packaging Program Plans

A filler machine at the Pack Expo in Las Vegas. Attendants are showing visitors how the bottles are filled on a packaging line

A private donor has provided funds for an SJSU packaging plant similar to this one, shown at a recent industry expo. Now in the design phase, the pilot plan will give hands-on experience to packaging, food science, and business students (photo by Fritz Yambrach).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Ever marvel over the clever plastic clam shell protecting your freshly harvested head of butter lettuce?

It’s this sort of innovative packaging that San Jose State students may one day develop for all kinds of local businesses, from organic farmers shipping delicate fruits and vegetables to wineries seeking to boost the shelf appeal of their chardonnnays.

Thanks to seed money provided by a private donor, SJSU Packaging Program Director Fritz Yambrach has begun to develop plans for equipment that will allow students to do this.

“Right now, I’m putting together proposals to build a packaging pilot plant, where students will be engaged with the selection of packages and the actual production, filling, sealing and labeling operations,” Yambrach said.

The field of packaging incorporates the disciplines of engineering, graphic design, project management, advertising, and material science. Every product manufactured from health care and beauty products to washing machines and drugs require packages to protect and sell the product.

All 45 packaging students as well as food science and business students will benefit from the project, and serve as packaging consultants.

“I think it’s a really good job training opportunity for us where we can get hands on experience and learn how to package different materials,” said first-year packaging technology graduate student Romica Chandra Lal.

Wine Packaging Pilot Line

A small wine packaging pilot line is another idea that could run concurrent with the packaging pilot plant, according to Yambrach. The wine packaging line would teach students hands-on techniques such as cleaning and filling bottles, the best way to label bottles, and how to run cappers and corking machines. UC Davis and Sonoma State Universities have wine programs, but do not focus on this part of wine production. Yambrach sees this as an opportunity.

“It would be interesting to see a cooperative program going with these universities to get students trained on wine production or receive a certificate in packaging,” Yambrach said. “The wine industry is very local to Northern California and public education should focus on local industries.”

Planning Process

According to Fritz, the project will take a year just to plan. But once completed, the pilot plant will offer clients below-cost products and services designed by students providing an equal if not higher level of service.

“There is an incredible amount of organic foods in California,” Fritz said. “These specialty food companies can increase their profit margins by picking up additional operations, such as selling nut paste in a tube.”

Partially funded by a $400,000 gift from a private donor, the late Jerry Erich, the plant would cost an estimated $2 million, assuming industry supporters donate equipment.

“It will take some time and effort to make a FDA and county approved food processing facility,” Yambrach said.  “But we have the talent and just need support.”

SJSU in the News: MetLife Foundation Gives $20,000 to CommUniverCity and SJPD

CommUniverCity, SJPD Honored for Work as Day of Service Projects Aid Community

Originally published by NeighborWebSJ in November 2011.

CommUniverCity San Jose’s fifth annual Day of Service was launched with recognition that law enforcement, the university and the community can successfully fight crime, remove blight and renew economic vitality in neighborhoods near the campus.

The recognition came with a $20,000 MetLife Foundation award given by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to CommUniverCity and the San Jose Police Department. LISC is a national organization that promotes community development and policing through creative partnerships. The San Jose award winners were among 10 selected from a pool of more than 700 applicants.

The announcement of the award came early on Friday, November 4, at San Jose State University as 800 students and faculty prepared for their Day of Service assignments to remove graffiti, plant trees, clean up trash and help resident with neighborhood projects.

Specifically, the award recognized work that included cleanup of an abandoned railroad site, a shopping center renovation and a new housing development that helped bridge a divide between the McKinley and Olinder neighborhoods. From 2008 to 2010, the target area experienced a 17 percent decrease in overall crime incidents, a 34 percent decline in gang-related incidents and $4.8 million in public investment.

But for Day of Service volunteer, the focus was on the changes they could make in a day.

At the future Five Wounds Trail that begins near Five Wounds Church on Alum Rock Avenue, residents, SJSU political science students and Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa removed 70 graffiti tags and filled 53 bags of trash in two hours. That sets a record, according to Political Science Professor Terry Christensen.

“I think the volume of trash is actually declining, thanks to our ongoing efforts,” Christensen wrote in an email.

In the Delmas Park neighborhood, 30 volunteers worked with Our City Forest to plant 18 trees at 11 sites on five streets between West San Carlos and the Guadalupe Expressway. For most of the students, tree planting was a new experience.

“It’s kind of hurting my arms,” admitted Stephanie Ramirez, an SJSU sophomore as she and Daniel Thorburn, a freshman, dug into the dirt to make a new home for a young tree on Josefa Street.

“We really have to go deeper than this,” she said, looking into the hole. “That’s all I know for a fact.”

On Auzerais Avenue, another group supervised by OCF AmeriCorps volunteer Colin Reitman were getting their hands dirty as they loosened roots from the base of a young Flowering Pear before it was placed into the two-foot deep hole in the park strip.

“It’s pretty rewarding, right?” Jack Harding, a network analyst for the university’s technology services, said to the students, who answered with a laugh.

“A neighborhood planting project is a great way to engage volunteers,” Reitman said, adding that residents have agreed to take care of the trees while they mature.

The planting was the start of a Delmas Park project that neighborhood leader Phil Hood hopes will bring 50 new trees to the area through a partnership with Our City Forest.

Across town, another 30 student volunteers were building a rustic wooden fence along Caminito, a short pathway near the I-680 McLaughlin Avenue off-ramp.

The shortcut emerged over the years as a natural way for residents walking to McKinley Elementary and Fair Middle schools, grocery shopping and the bust stop at the end of the pathway. But the overgrowth of plants and trees, muddy conditions and trash made it unsightly and unsafe.

With a $2,000 grant from the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools and a $1,000 from the McKinley/Bonita Neighborhood Association, the residents cleaned up the area, constructed a pathway covered with fine gravel and cutback the vegetation. Ramona Lerma, a neighborhood leader, estimates about 80 people a day use the pathway dubbed Caminito.

To make the path safer and keep people form taking another shortcut across the freeway off-ramp, residents needed a fence. It was a perfect project for Day of Service.

“Once we told them what we wanted, they came ready to work,” Ramona Lerma said.

She and her husband, Dario Lerma, worked in advance to prepare the area for a new fence. On Friday, dozens of students rolled up their sleeves to place posts in the holes, fit the pieces of wood together and cement the supports.

“I love it,” said student and team manager Shane Peters. “It’s really good to come out here and see the difference.”

Said Brad Cardier, who volunteered with his Kappa Sigma brothers, “I wish there were more projects, smaller magnitude and more often.”

President Kassing speaking in Seattle

Spartans in Seattle: "A Great Deal of Energy in the Room"

Gary and Sharon Read near SJSU banner.

Gary Read, '70, and his wife Sharon drove from Vancouver for an SJSU reception in Seattle.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

SJSU is accelerating the lives of the extraordinary students we educate, energizing our region and expanding our reach. Most of all, we’re working to re-engage those who love their alma mater.

One way we’re doing this is through a series of amazing alumni events, including a reception at the Museum of Flight April 6 in Seattle. One couple drove two hours from Vancouver to attend!

“I felt a great deal of energy in the room and I hope we will return soon to build momentum,” said Interim President Don W. Kassing.

Jeanne Sheldon, ’70, vice president of Office Authoring Applications for the Microsoft Business Division, spoke at the event. She leads the product development teams for Microsoft Office Word, Office OneNote, Office Publisher and Microsoft Works.

“She was engaging, informative and very humble about her experience,” said Brian Bates, alumni relations associate director. “The audience responded with a number of questions for her.”

Next up? Los Angeles! There is no cost to attend, and there’s still time to RSVP. Spend an exclusive morning with San Jose State at the executive screening room at Raleigh Studios.

Enjoy the exhibit and discover what’s new on campus through a fun and informative program that features President Kassing and Bob Pisano, ’65, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. Pisano is responsible for the worldwide operations of the motion picture and television industry trade association.

President Kassing speaking in Seattle

Spartans in Seattle: “A Great Deal of Energy in the Room”

Gary and Sharon Read near SJSU banner.

Gary Read, '70, and his wife Sharon drove from Vancouver for an SJSU reception in Seattle.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

SJSU is accelerating the lives of the extraordinary students we educate, energizing our region and expanding our reach. Most of all, we’re working to re-engage those who love their alma mater.

One way we’re doing this is through a series of amazing alumni events, including a reception at the Museum of Flight April 6 in Seattle. One couple drove two hours from Vancouver to attend!

“I felt a great deal of energy in the room and I hope we will return soon to build momentum,” said Interim President Don W. Kassing.

Jeanne Sheldon, ’70, vice president of Office Authoring Applications for the Microsoft Business Division, spoke at the event. She leads the product development teams for Microsoft Office Word, Office OneNote, Office Publisher and Microsoft Works.

“She was engaging, informative and very humble about her experience,” said Brian Bates, alumni relations associate director. “The audience responded with a number of questions for her.”

Next up? Los Angeles! There is no cost to attend, and there’s still time to RSVP. Spend an exclusive morning with San Jose State at the executive screening room at Raleigh Studios.

Enjoy the exhibit and discover what’s new on campus through a fun and informative program that features President Kassing and Bob Pisano, ’65, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. Pisano is responsible for the worldwide operations of the motion picture and television industry trade association.

SJSU faculty and students hold giant ceremonial check.

Health Science Outreach Effort Yields Gift for Service Learning Partners

SJSU faculty and students hold giant ceremonial check.

Angelica Diaz, Kathleen Roe, Aldo Chazaro and German Blanco accept a check from McKinley families in support of an exchange with Arrazola, Mexico. Diaz, Chazaro and Blanco are SJSU public health and health science students.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Sometimes, the smallest gift can be the most meaningful, especially when it connects people separated by thousands of miles.

This is the story behind a $384 check McKinley Elementary School families presented to SJSU for university work with the villagers of Arrazola, Oaxaca, Mexico.

“They have posted this on Facebook, including their statement that they did this out of love because we are family,” said Department of Health Science Chair Kathleen Roe.

What bonds these three groups? An intercambio, or exchange, involving Arrazola, McKinley, and SJSU’s Department of Health Science.

The exchange takes SJSU faculty and students to Arrazola for service learning, and brings the people of Arrazola to the United States, where they meet McKinley families.

McKinley, like Arrazola, is a service learning site for the health science department. The McKinley families presented the funds, raised through food sales, at a recent workshop sponsored by SJSU.

The relationship between Arrazola and McKinley, home to many first-generation Americans, is also based on a shared understanding of the challenges facing immigrants.

The people of Arrazola have embarked on a village-wide effort to turn their native craft, an exquisite form of wood sculpture known as alebrije, into a means of economic support.

Alebrije takes the form of fantastical, colorful animals in many shapes and sizes, from tiny earrings to large coffee table pieces.

Arrazola’s goal is to keep families intact by alleviating the pressure to move north for work. When they visit San Jose, artisans sell alebrije to raise money and learn about the U.S. market.

They also speak to McKinley students about the importance of art and expression in Mexican life, their efforts to create a sustainable local economy through alebrije sales, and their commitment to re-forestation to be environmentally sustainable and preserve their natural resources.

Their message has found a receptive audience. Though the McKinley families crafted a $384 check, the final total was $409, after people at the workshop gave an additional $25 cash.