Group shot of SJSU officials accepting $550,000 check.

Science and Math Teacher Training Program Receives $550,000 Gift

Group shot of SJSU officials accepting $550,000 check.

Dana C. Ditmore presents monetary gift to the Center for STEM Education.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

SJSU’s premiere science and math K-12 teacher training program has received a big boost.

A local group that originally came together to raise funds for two science fairs held in San Jose provided $550,000 in residuals to the Center for STEM Education, including the Jay Pinson Program.

“Jay always said the teacher made the difference when it comes to preparing students for college,” said Dana C. Ditmore, International Science & Engineeering Fair (ISEF) Association board president for events held in 2001 and 2010.

STEM, an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, is common on college campuses nationwide. But it takes on special significance in association with our region and campus.

Pinson, a dean emeritus of engineering, elevated SJSU’s national stature by raising millions to modernize the building housing his college. Even in retirement, he poured his energy into projects readying Silicon Valley youth for work in the tech sector.

Pinson made seeking support from tech executives like Ditmore a top priority. In return, SJSU earned Ditmore’s trust. At a recent checking signing ceremony, he lauded the STEM Center  as a three-college initiative led by the College of Science, with the colleges of education and engineering.

“What I see is a very collaborative environment at this university,” Ditmore said. “This is admirable, and not an easy thing to do, and it’s one of the reasons why we feel we are doing the right thing by leaving the residual to the university. We know it’s in good hands.”

The funding will be used in part to support pre-service teachers pursuing single-subject credentials in math or science, and to provide current teachers with professional development. Keep in mind these are the very same teachers who build the pipeline feeding students to science fairs, SJSU and the entire tech industry.

This is a point not lost on Gerry Selter, provost and vice president for academic affairs. He recalled ISEF, Pinson and the program now bearing his name share a long history. SJSU was the host university for two fairs, supplying all sorts of support from venues to judges, and Pinson was among the first college deans nationwide to offer scholarships to science fair standouts.

“It more than pleases me that those early efforts have created a new model of collaboration,” Selter said. “This is a clear sign that interdisciplinary partnerships coupled with public support from our community, individuals and alumni can bring change. This is what SJSU is all about.”

Musician with traditional Iranian instrument.

Norooz Event Inaugurates New Iranian Studies Program

 

Musician with traditional Iranian instrument.

Pezhham Akhavass of the Norooz Trio musical group

PARSA Community Foundation Grant Recognizes the Importance of Teaching Persian Language, Culture, History

Contact:
Persis Karim, SJSU Iranian Studies, 408-924-4476
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University will celebrate the Persian New Year (Norooz) with a musical concert and poetry reading that will also mark the arrival of SJSU’s newly established Iranian Studies Program. Norooz marks the arrival of the spring equinox and is the most important holiday in Iran and among Iranian Americans and other Persian-speaking people. The event will be held at 7 p.m. March 10 in the Engineering Auditorium, and will feature the Norooz Trio, which is comprised of three acclaimed Bay Area Iranian-American musicians: Mahvash Guerami (santour); Hossein Massoudi (vocals) and Pezhham Akhavass (tombak and daf). The audience will also be treated to readings by four South Bay Iranian-American poets: Farnaz Fatemi, Esther Kamkar, Mojdeh Marashi and Shirindokht Nourmanesh.

“In the last several years, our campus and the public have shown a growing interest in the Middle East, generally, and in Iran, specifically,” said Karl Toepfer, dean of the SJSU College of Humanities and the Arts. “Interest in the study of Persian, one of the major heritage languages of the Silicon Valley, has also increased. Through this very generous gift of the PARSA Community Foundation, we can pursue a program that meets this expanding interest and begin to build a rich and vibrant academic identity for Iranian Studies that incorporates our already long-standing minor in Middle Eastern Studies. We look forward to partnering with the Iranian American community, with the PARSA Community Foundation, and other organizations and individuals to make this one of the leading programs in the country to address this rich culture and its role in our community. This is a wonderful opportunity for San Jose State University, for the Iranian American community, and indeed for the American public.”

For the first time ever, SJSU will offer its students Persian language classes as part of their curriculum, beginning in the fall 2011 semester with the eventual goal of establishing a minor in Iranian Studies. The Iranian Studies Program was made possible through a generous $200,000 grant from the PARSA Community Foundation, whose board selected San Jose State University as one of its major recipients for the 2010 Mehregan grant cycle. This important donation recognizes the importance of teaching Persian language as well as introducing Iran’s rich heritage to university students. This grant will also enable the development of a lecture series, scholarships for students, and programs that help bring the rich heritage of Iran, its culture and history to students at a major public university in Northern California. Because Silicon Valley is home to the second largest population of Iranian immigrants and their second-generation children in California, the Iranian Studies program also seeks to participate in the newly emerging field of Iranian Diaspora Studies.

 

In a broader sense, this gift will allow the university to become a clearing house for Iranian and Iranian diaspora studies in Silicon Valley and Northern California. Under the direction of Persis Karim, coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies and associate professor in the Department of English & Comparative Literature, and Shahin Gerami, professor and coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program, Iranian Studies at SJSU will facilitate the academic study of a country and culture that many see as both strategically and culturally important in the changing landscape of the Middle East. This grant furthermore recognizes the important role that San Jose State University has played and continues to play in recognizing and supporting the people and cultures of its surrounding immigrant and ethnic communities.

“The establishment of Iranian Studies will not only enable SJSU students to participate in the preservation of Persian language and culture, but will also introduce the culture and heritage of Iran and Iranian Americans to those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Iran in the past and present,” Karim said. “Iranian Americans passing through SJSU have made their mark in a number of fields and professions in Silicon Valley including in technology, computer and software development, as well as in real estate development, but they’re also leaving their mark on the humanities and on U.S. society. With this grant, we hope to recognize the contributions of Iranian Americans and build a stronger relationship between the university and the larger Silicon Valley.”#

The Impact of Acceleration: $25 Million Already at Work

Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State

By Jody Ulate, University Writer

Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State University is moving at a powerful pace toward its $200 million fundraising goal, with over $142 million in gifts committed and $68 million in cash received to date. While some of that funding is dedicated to supporting the long-term financial health of the university, students and faculty have already felt the direct benefits of more than $25 million.

All over campus, Acceleration is moving San Jose State’s people and programs forward.

The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has used campaign dollars to send more students on life-changing research trips to China and India. The School of Music and Dance has built a computer lab that allows students and faculty members to integrate imagery and recording technology into digital musical compositions.

Elaine Chin, dean of the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, reports that private funds have given the college the ability to turn out more teachers prepared to work with pre-K children with special needs. Her college has also been able to install five state-of-the-art whiteboard systems to help students become adept with technology they will eventually use in their own classrooms.

To learn more about how private funds benefit SJSU, keep up with the campaign’s progress at campaign.sjsu.edu.

Diridon, Ridder and Bullock affix their signatures Wednesday (2/15) to documents that will end Ridder’s foundation and create a $100,000 endowment that will continue funding an annual fellowship for a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Ridder Foundation Endows Journalism Fellowship Program

Diridon, Ridder and Bullock affix their signatures Wednesday (2/15) to documents that will end Ridder’s foundation and create a $100,000 endowment that will continue funding an annual fellowship for a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Rod Diridon Sr., P. Anthony Ridder and College of Applied Sciences and Arts Dean Charlie Bullock sign documents Feb. 15 creating a $100,000 endowment that will continue funding an annual fellowship for a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Photo by Michelle Terris, Spartan Daily staff photographer.

 

Thanks to a recent $100,000 gift commitment from the Joseph B. Ridder Foundation, more SJSU journalism and mass communications students will have the opportunities made available to Sarah Kyo. Continue reading

SJSU in the News: Investing in Education is Investing in Silicon Valley’s Future

An Op-ed by Don W. Kassing, SJSU Interim President
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal
December 31, 2010

Photo credit: Vicki Thompson - Don W. Kassing, San Jose State University interim president, says as state funding declines, the public universities that will thrive are those with the entrepreneurial spirit to cultivate a much more diverse funding base.

Photo credit: Vicki Thompson - Don W. Kassing, San Jose State University interim president, says as state funding declines, the public universities that will thrive are those with the entrepreneurial spirit to cultivate a much more diverse funding base.

Not far from where I’m writing this, Silicon Valley’s engineers of tomorrow are in San Jose State University’s student success center, receiving the academic and pre-professional support they need to complete their degrees and go to work.

Continue reading

SJSU Launches First-Ever Comprehensive Campaign

“Acceleration” Begins With $5 Million Gift Commitment From The Valley Foundation

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, Calif., — At an evening event Oct. 21, Interim President Don W. Kassing launched “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State University” by announcing The Valley Foundation has made a $5 million gift commitment to the School of Nursing. In gratitude for this gift and over $3.5 million in past donations, the school will be named the San Jose State University Valley Foundation School of Nursing, pending approval from the California State University Board of Trustees in November. The dinner, for over 300 SJSU supporters at the Event Center, opened the public phase of SJSU’s first-ever comprehensive campaign with a $200 million goal by 2014. SJSU raised over $129 million during the private phase, beginning in 2006. Continue reading

SJSU Launches First-Ever Comprehensive Campaign

“Acceleration” Begins With $5 Million Gift Commitment From The Valley Foundation

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, Calif., — At an evening event Oct. 21, Interim President Don W. Kassing launched “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State University” by announcing The Valley Foundation has made a $5 million gift commitment to the School of Nursing. In gratitude for this gift and over $3.5 million in past donations, the school will be named the San Jose State University Valley Foundation School of Nursing, pending approval from the California State University Board of Trustees in November. The dinner, for over 300 SJSU supporters at the Event Center, opened the public phase of SJSU’s first-ever comprehensive campaign with a $200 million goal by 2014. SJSU raised over $129 million during the private phase, beginning in 2006.

“Our nursing program is a perfect example of San Jose State University’s direct impact on our community’s quality of life,” Interim President Kassing said. “The Valley Foundation appreciates the critical role our corporate and community partners must play when it comes to providing students with access to the very best academic and professional programs. This gift, and our entire comprehensive fundraising campaign, is about securing a better future not just for our students and our university, but our community and our region.”

The gift will be used for two purposes: to invest in an endowment providing long-term support for the nursing school, and to provide current support for a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab. In a broader sense, the gift will also allow San Jose State to take a more prominent role in addressing our nation’s nursing shortage. The United States faces a shortfall of up to one million nurses over the next decade. California’s share will be more than 40,000 full-time-equivalent nurses. The Valley Foundation, based in Los Gatos, serves Santa Clara County by funding non-profits in the health care and medical services fields, including educational institutions.

“When most aspiring students from our community set out to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, there is just one place to go and that is San Jose State,” The Valley Foundation Chairman Phillip R. Boyce, who graduated from SJSU in 1966 with a business degree. “The Valley Foundation is proud to support these students and the university because we know our gift will impact the quality of care in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and health care facilities of all kinds in our region and beyond.”

Founded in 1955, the SJSU School of Nursing is the only public institution granting bachelor’s and master’s nursing degrees in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties. Current enrollment exceeds 1,400 nursing and pre-nursing students, instructed by over 50 faculty members. The clinical simulation lab features hi-fidelity mannequins including adult, child, toddler, infant, and birthing mother units. Programmed scenarios expose students to common and uncommon treatment decisions, team and family-member communication practice, and the debriefing and reflection that follow.

“Acceleration” marks the first time in SJSU’s 153-year history that the university will launch a highly organized, resourced and targeted effort to raise millions of dollars. The campaign encompasses all seven colleges, the University Library, Student Affairs and Intercollegiate Athletics. SJSU will seek gifts from private individuals, corporations and foundations in support of four areas: Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship ($75 million), An Investment in Students ($67 million), The Gateway to Silicon Valley and Beyond ($24 million), and Support for Existing Programs ($34 million).

Learn more about “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State University.”

Learn more about the SJSU School of Nursing.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 27,400 students and 3,190 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.