San Jose State Commencement Celebrates 10,000 Graduates

San Jose State University concluded the year with its largest graduating class ever and a speaker who encouraged the Class of 2017 to “stand up for truth and reason” in a fast-paced and changing world.

Nearly 10,000 students received degrees this year. Among all those diplomas were 3,000 master’s degrees and 27 doctoral degrees, including the first graduating class of a new doctoral program in educational leadership.

“Your lives will change in ways that you can’t yet imagine,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “Your San Jose State degree, and the critical thinking skills you’ve gained from a caring, devoted faculty, will help you navigate that 24/7, ever-changing, unimaginably fast-moving world.”

Family members and guests arrived as early as 7:30 a.m. May 27 to find optimal seats to see graduates on the floor of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The morning fog burned off just in time for President Papazian to address the graduates on the football field.

Doctoral degrees

A ceremony highlight: the hooding of eight new doctors of education focusing specifically on educational leadership, earned while many of the new Ph.D.s worked full time.

Their goal? To grow in their careers while serving their communities as leaders of primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities.

The graduates pursued dissertations on such varied topics as project-based learning and closing the achievement gap, harkening back to the university’s roots as a teacher’s college, founded in San Francisco shortly after the Gold Rush.

Inspiring speech

Award-winning television journalist and CEO of Latinas Contra Cancer Ysabel Duron, ’70 Journalism, delivered the Commencement address, appealing to the graduates to recognize that their degrees empower them to use their voices and contribute to society.

She brought a clock and a typewriter with her to the podium, pointing out that despite changes in technology, the values of a university endure.

“An educated, diverse society is needed to address the problems of our times,” Duron said. “And even more so, it takes a well-informed society to see the issues ahead and begin to address them in a humane way.”

A pioneering Latina broadcast journalist, Duron covered regional, national and international events for 43 years, culminating in two decades as a Bay Area reporter and anchor before launching an encore career as founder of Latinas Contra Cancer.

Giving back

During the ceremony, Phil Boyce, ’66 Business Administration, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Boyce has dedicated his career as a banker, businessman and philanthropist to cultivating healthy communities.

As chairman of the board of the Valley Foundation, Boyce helped establish a simulation nursing lab and create an endowment to support what is now known as the Valley Foundation School of Nursing.

“I’d like to congratulate our graduates. You have the tools to move forward,” Boyce said. “May I suggest one thing? I’d like to see you all give back to our community and this university. We need your help, we need your knowledge.”

Proudest moment

Following the speeches, the dean for each of San Jose State’s colleges took to the podium to confer master’s and bachelor’s degrees upon the graduates. As the ceremony finished, SJSU’s newest alumni joined in singing the alma mater while guests cheered.

Perhaps the proudest moment for the thousands of graduates in attendance came at the end, as they gathered with family and friends on the field for hugs, tears and, of course, photos.

Congratulations, Class of 2017!

See and share photos and messages from commencement with #SJSU17 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Business Leader and Philanthropist Phillip R. Boyce to Receive Honorary Degree

Phil Boyce

Phillip R. Boyce (Photo: David Schmitz)

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

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that business leader and philanthropist Phillip R. Boyce, ’66 Business Administration, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 27 at CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The event will be streamed live on the university’s website.

“Through a decades-long commitment to giving back, alumnus Phillip R. Boyce epitomizes Spartan pride. In recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and dedication, the California State University Board of Trustees and San Jose State University are proud to confer upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters,” President Mary A. Papazian said.

This academic year, an estimated 10,000 San Jose State students will earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Phillip R. Boyce

Boyce founded Pacific Valley Bank, serving Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, in 1975. Under his leadership as chairman and CEO, the bank grew to $1.4 billion in assets. He served as chairman and CEO of Pacific Western Bancshares, the bank’s holding company, as it evolved into Western Capital Management and eventually merged with Comerica. He has served as president of Boyce Associates since his retirement in 1994.

A 1997 recipient of San Jose State’s Tower Award and distinguished alumnus from SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, Boyce has devoted his career to investing in and cultivating healthy communities. As chairman of the board of the Valley Foundation, he helped establish a simulation nursing lab at SJSU’s School of Nursing and created an endowment to support the school, now known as the Valley Foundation School of Nursing.

Boyce has served in leadership capacities for dozens of Silicon Valley causes, including the Montalvo Center for the Arts, the Technology Center of Silicon Valley, the Community Foundation of Santa Clara County, the Hakone Foundation, the Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, and the Heritage Bank, among others. He currently serves as director of Goodwill Industries International, Inc.


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 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 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 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

 

Returning Student Finishes His Degree 61 Years Later

Robert Lewis George in Yosemite, 1960 (all photos courtesy of the George family).

Robert Lewis George in Yosemite, 1960 (all photos courtesy of the George family).

In May 2017, Robert Lewis George visited San Jose State to deliver his senior project to his faculty committee—61 years after first enrolling at SJSU. His final presentation, entitled “Visualizations,” detailed a photography workshop he took with Ansel Adams in Yosemite in 1960, and covered his 50-year career since leaving San Jose. The two-week workshop, which was conducted all over the park, made a lasting impact on the way George took photos—and saw the world.

“Learning with him was an anticipated challenge, a memorable experience and an appreciation of true genius,” George, age 83, writes in his senior paper. “The way he inspired me, shared his perspective, and taught us to see the photographic possibilities as well as the sheer pleasure of being with Ansel for those two weeks will be with me always.”

Though George will not be present to participate in the university’s Commencement ceremony May 27, he enjoyed visiting San Jose State for his presentation earlier this month. When asked if he recognized the campus, he said, “Only the Tower. Everything else is different.”

George originally enrolled at SJSU in 1956 after returning from the military, where one of his jobs was to take photos. Photography became especially important to him after meeting San Jose State Art and Art History Professor Morton Boss. Though he was a Life Sciences, Preparation for Teaching major at the time, his passion for photography led him in 1960 to open the Town and Country Camera store in San Jose with his father-in-law. Boss worked there for several years, maintaining a friendship with George that lasted decades.

George at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. His team won gold medal in an age bracket for players in their 80s).

Robert Lewis George at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. His team won the gold medal for its age bracket.

In the early 1970s, George and his wife moved to Oregon with their children. He sold school buses before working as a transportation consultant for Oregon’s Department of Education. Following his retirement in 1995, George and his wife wintered in Arizona and stayed busy with family, fishing and playing senior softball. Watching his children and grandchildren pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees and delighting in their success, he realized that something still remained on his bucket list: a college degree.

George worked with a team of deans, professors and evaluators at San Jose State to determine his pathway to a degree. The team included Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Wendy Ng, Associate Dean of the College of Sciences Elaine Collins, University Articulation Officer Delia Chavez and Admissions Evaluator Yvette Fierro. In early 2017, he declared a special major entitled Life Sciences Visualization with Preparation for Teaching and enrolled in an independent study course with Ng, who is also a sociology professor at SJSU.

“It feels absolutely wonderful to complete my degree,” he said. “I’m not going to get a better job because of it, I’m not going to make more money because of it—it’s just something that needed to be done. Once I identified that, then it took some work, but it was not as hard as I thought it would be. Wendy was a great mentor for me. I would do it again in a minute.”

SJSU Presents 2017 Top Seniors and Outstanding Thesis Awards

San Jose State President Mary A. Papazian will recognize this year’s top graduates at Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 27 in Spartan Stadium. Lauren Cordova and Fatema Elbakoury have been named Outstanding Graduating Seniors for their leadership roles on and off campus, contributions to the community and personal achievements as undergraduates. Mary Okin and Paul Zimmer have received the Outstanding Thesis Award in recognition of the quality of their research.

Lauren Cordova (all photos courtesy of the students)

Lauren Cordova (all photos courtesy of the students)

Lauren Cordova, ’17 Behavioral Science and Sociology, has been involved in LGBTQ+ organizations since her freshman year at San Jose State and during a year studying abroad at the University College Dublin in 2014. In leadership positions at SJSU’s Queers Thoughtfully Interrupting Prejudice, Peers in Pride and Peer Connections, and through her work at San Jose’s LGBTQ+ Youth Space Speaker’s Bureau, Cordova has demonstrated her commitment to her fellow Spartans while maintaining a 3.846 GPA. Her research on underrepresented minority students in the College of Social Sciences, conducted alongside Professor Amy Leisenring, resulted in a paper which they presented at the Pacific Sociological Association conference in April. Cordova will be attending the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Fatema Elbakoury

Fatema Elbakoury

Fatema Elbakoury, ’17 English, has enriched San Jose State through her work as a diversity advocate intern at SJSU’s MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center, as a peer mentor through Peer Connections and as a Salzburg Scholar. She offered workshops on feminism, Islam, whiteness, transphobia, mass incarceration and body image through MOSAIC. Upon returning from Salzburg, she developed a workshop addressing complacency in the globalized world. She represented SJSU at Harvard Divinity School’s Diversity and Explorations program and Northwestern University’s Community for Human Rights conference—while maintaining a 3.974 GPA. Elbakoury was one of 47 scholarship recipients nationwide chosen by the Islamic Scholarship Fund in recognition of her work using the arts to shift the perception of Muslim Americans.

Mary Okin

Mary Okin

Mary Okin, ’11 BA Liberal Studies, ’16 MA Art History, worked for San Jose State’s Humanities Honors Program, became an SJSU Salzburg Scholar and helped develop this campus’ Cultural Showcase. She is also a California State University Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar who won awards at the San Jose State and CSU student research competitions and conducted summer research at University of California, Berkeley. Her master’s thesis, “Uncovering ‘New Man’ Feminism: Arthur F. Mathews at the San Francisco School of Design, 1890-1896,” is the first feminist reading of this 19th century California painter. She is in her first year of doctoral study at University of California, Santa Barbara, and is revising her master’s thesis for publication.

Paul Zimmer

Paul Zimmer

Paul Zimmer, ’17 Geology, analyzed 27,000 cross-sections derived from Sierra Nevada bedrock valleys in pursuit of his master’s degree in geology—challenging conventional understandings of how glacial erosion modifies the shape of mountain ranges. He developed his master’s thesis, “Assessing Glacial Modification of Bedrock Valleys in the Sierra Nevada, California, Using a Novel Approach,” by creating a new, semi-automated technique for extracting valley cross-sections from digital elevation models using custom scripts written in the programming languages MATLAB and Python. He used this approach to produce an unparalleled dataset and to validate a new method for quantifying the geomorphology of bedrock valleys.

A 1973 Graduate Returns to Participate in Commencement

When Elizabeth López learned that her uncle Jesse Musquez, ’73 Math, had completed his degree but never walked in Commencement, she asked why. As an undergraduate graduation evaluator at San Jose State’s Office of the Registrar, she knew how important it is for college students to celebrate their graduation.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in graduation,” López said. “It’s a celebration of a big achievement, and I thought he would enjoy being a part of it.”

Back in 1973, Musquez was a young father of two, with a third on the way. As a Vietnam veteran, Musquez had already overcome significant obstacles in pursuing his education. When he was a young child, his family had worked for the automotive industry in Michigan before moving out west to pick apricots, cotton and grapes in the Valley of Heart’s Delight.

Musquez family 2017

The Musquez family in the 1970s. From left to right, Christopher Daniel, Maria, Jesse, Marcos and Anna (all photos courtesy of the Musquez family).

Determined to be the first in his family to complete a college degree, Musquez put himself through school on the G.I. Bill and worked full-time to support his wife and children. Just as he was completing the final requirements for graduation, his sister-in-law passed away unexpectedly, leaving three small children. Instead of donning his cap and gown, Musquez, along with his wife and his in-laws, focused on providing care for their family—a consistent theme throughout his life.

When she heard this story, López felt moved to do something. She investigated what it would take to bring her uncle to CEFCU Stadium on May 27 in cap and gown.

Achieving the American Dream

“My father is a fantastic example of someone who came from very simple means and has accomplished so much. He is an example of the American dream,” said Musquez’s daughter Anna Martorana, ’99 Molecular Biology.

Musquez, age 73, had originally pursued math as a pathway to coding, though at the time that he graduated, there weren’t any jobs in the field. Instead he chose a career in electronics, working for several years for Fairchild Semiconductor before entering international sales.

Musquez family today

The Musquez family today.

“For being someone who picked cotton and worked in the fields to graduating from San Jose State, it’s been a long journey,” Musquez said.

Throughout his successful career, the focus has always been on family. It’s no surprise that he’ll be surrounded by 15 family members on the big day, many of them flying in from out of town.

Family man

Jesse Musquez in cap and gown

Jesse Musquez in cap and gown.

“My dad is so much about everyone else in the family,” said Martorana, who attended San Jose State as a young parent herself and now works for Novartis Pharmaceuticals. “He is the foundation of the family but he is often in the background. We’re thrilled to get this opportunity to recognize him and what he’s accomplished.”

When he went to pick up his cap and gown, surrounded by graduates of the Class of 2017, he says the excitement was palpable.

“It’s going to be fun to put on a gown and sit there with all these young people,” he said. “When I went to get my gown, you could feel the energy of all the students. You can feel their hard work and you can sense that their families have done the work to get them where they’re at. I’m happy to do this.”

Award-winning TV News Journalist and Latinas Contra Cancer Founder Ysabel Duron to Serve as 2017 Commencement Speaker

Ysabel Duron

Ysabel Duron

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

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that award-winning retired television news journalist and founder and CEO of Latinas Contra Cancer Ysabel Duron, ’70 Journalism, will serve as its 2017 Commencement speaker. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 27 at CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The event will be streamed live on the university’s website.

“We know that students—indeed, all of us—find inspiration in others’ life experiences. I have no doubt that Ysabel Duron’s story will inspire everyone,” SJSU President Mary Papazian said. “Duron’s hard work and sacrifice in service to her community will resonate with our students, families and friends.”

This academic year, an estimated 10,000 San Jose State students will earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Ysabel Duron

A Salinas native, Ysabel Duron was inspired to pursue a college degree by her mother, who worked nights in a cannery to help support her six children’s education. Duron was a pioneering Latina broadcast journalist. During a 43-year career, she covered regional, national and international events, culminating in two decades as a Bay Area reporter and anchor.

Duron received a 1974 Emmy for her coverage of the Patty Hearst kidnapping and a Radio Television News Directors Association award for “The Child I Never Held,” a 1991 series about her reunion with a son she gave up for adoption while she was a San José State student.

Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1999, Duron covered her treatment and recovery in another award-winning series, “Life With Cancer.” Struck by the absence of Latinos receiving similar care, she founded Latinas Contra Cancer in 2003 to provide education and support services to low income, Spanish-speaking cancer patients and families.

Dedicated to increasing Latino engagement in genetics testing and research, Duron works with UCSF, Stanford University, Georgetown University and others. In addition, she serves on the Institutional Review Board for the All of Us Research Program and is active on a committee reporting to the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.


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 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 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 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

 

SJSU Celebrates 2016 Commencement

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

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

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

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

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

Harry Edwards

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tribute

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

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

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

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

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

Speech

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tradition

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

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

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

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

Congratulations, class of 2016!

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


About San Jose State University

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

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

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

 

Chicano Commencement Honors Students and Their Families

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loved Ones

Photo: Sergio Estrada | Estrada Photos

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

Photo: Sergio Estrada

2015 caps (Photo: Sergio Estrada).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Progress

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

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

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

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

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

Activism

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harry Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking a Stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

Providing Opportunity

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

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


About San José State University

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

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

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

Congrats, 2015 Graduates!

By Melissa Anderson, Executive Communications Specialist

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

San Jose State University graduates received congratulations and advice on being prepared for the circuitous route life often takes from U.S. House of Representative Leader Nancy Pelosi and honorary degree recipient Bob Ladouceur at Commencement May 23 in Spartan Stadium.

The Saturday event celebrated this year’s more than 8,500 students who earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines from seven colleges at SJSU.

Family members and guests arrived as early as 7:30 a.m. to find an optimal seat to see graduates on the stadium floor. Occasional bubbles floated up from the stadium on the cool morning breeze as guests waited for the ceremony to start. One mother waited along the edge of the stands and dropped an orchid lei down to her child as the graduates processed into the stadium.

Many graduates donned decorated caps acknowledging the hard work to complete their degrees, while others emphasized their future plans. Others decorated their caps to evoke solidarity with their classmates—a swath of students from the College of Humanities and the Arts sat together with the same design on their caps.

“You become part of Spartan Nation,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi, during the ceremony. “Well over 200,000 Spartan alumni from all walks of life are making a difference in every corner of the world.”

Pelosi congratulated the students on joining the CSU Class of 3 Million. The 23-campus system has conferred degrees to 1 in 20 college graduates in the United States, with the alumni roster growing to three million with the class of 2015 graduates.

Nancy Pelosi is the perfect candidate to speak to us today because she embodies the grit and determination that make us Spartans,” Qayoumi said, introducing Pelosi.

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

In her remarks, Pelosi touched on the beauty of diversity at SJSU.

“Have confidence in your education and be proud of your experience as one of the most diverse classes in America—and I might add 50 percent women,” she said. “The beauty is in the mix. It is true of San Francisco and it is true of this graduating class. Trust in the value of diverse and different perspectives.”

She also reflected on San Jose State’s influence on its surrounding community.

“You have been studying and living in the cradle of innovation,” she said. “You haven’t just been living here and going to school here. This school has contributed to the success of Silicon Valley in important ways.”

Pelosi shared a personal story of how she consulted her youngest child, a high school senior, before running for Congress.

“I never imagined one day I would go from the kitchen to Congress, from being a homemaker to a House speaker,” she said. “The opportunity was presented and I had to take inventory to be sure I was ready.”

Pelosi ran and has represented California’s 12th House district for more than 27 years.

“Leave here with the confidence that you are ready,” Pelosi said. “Know that you have been empowered by the strength of your value, the excellence of your education and the support of your families. When you encounter opportunities, be ready.”

During the ceremony, President Qayoumi conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Bob Ladouceur, ’77 Criminal Justice, whose astounding 12-season, 151-game winning streak coaching football at De La Salle High School is the subject of the movie, When the Game Stands Tall.

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’15 MS Mass Communications

Ladouceur, who played on the Spartan football team for two years as a student, shared how his journey to becoming a legendary football coach was indirect.

“My graduation from San Jose State was not an end point, but another beginning in my education,” he said, noting that his chosen field of criminal justice had few openings the year he completed his degree. “It was one of the curveballs life throws you. I retooled (my goals.) Two years later on a whim I answered a job announcement and that was where I spent the last 35 years.”

Ladouceur credited his education at SJSU with making him a lifelong learner who has always sought the truth.

“Continue your education independently or formally,” he said. “Be proud and be thankful. Seek out your parents, support groups and show gratitude. As we said after every practice on this field and every game, ‘It’s great to be a Spartan.’”

Following the speeches, the deans each took the podium to confer the master’s and bachelor’s degrees upon the graduates. As the ceremony finished, the graduates joined in singing the alma mater while guests cheered.

See and share photos and messages from commencement with #SJSU15 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Bob Ladouceur

Legendary Coach Receives Honorary Degree

Ladouceur

Bob Ladouceur

(All members of the media must RSVP by May 9. Email SJSU Media Relations Director Pat Harris at pat.harris@sjsu.edu. Plan to report to the west entrance of Spartan Stadium no later than 8:30 a.m. May 23.)

Media contact:
Pat Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that educator and former De La Salle High School head football coach Bob Ladouceur, ’77 Criminal Justice, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 23 at Spartan Stadium.

“Bob Ladouceur’s dedication to teaching and mentoring young people embodies the ideals, objectives and vision of San Jose State University and the California State University,” said SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi. “To Coach Ladouceur, integrity and character always mattered more than wins and losses. I can’t think of a better role model for graduates to emulate.”

This academic year, more than 8,700 San Jose State students will earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a wide range of fields, from business, engineering and nursing to humanities and the arts. Approximately 15,000 family members and friends are expected to attend.

About Bob Ladouceur

Bob Ladouceur’s astounding 12-season, 151-game winning streak at De La Salle is the subject of the movie, When the Game Stands Tall. His career began at SJSU, where he played Spartan football for two seasons. He went on to work as a juvenile hall counselor while studying theology at St. Mary’s College, where he earned a master’s degree.

Ladouceur discovered his calling when his friend, fellow SJSU alumnus and high school football coach Rob Stockberger, invited him to one of his games. In 1979, Ladouceur was hired as a teacher and head football coach at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif. At that time, the school had never had a winning season.

During his 34-year tenure, the team never had a losing season again; the team earned the most victories in state history. Ladouceur has received many awards as a teacher and coach. He has been inducted into the SJSU Spartan Sports Hall of Fame and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s 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.

 

Big Dreams for Spring 2015

Just a touch of rain greeted 30,000 Spartans heading to campus for the first week of spring term 2015.

This includes 500 new transfer students and 450 new graduate students making the transition to SJSU.

It’s time to dream big, with everyone is settling into new classes in hopes of earning good grades.

Check out the new student success centers and growing Student Academic Success Services staff, along with Ask Me tables across campus.

Of course friends can help, too. Many of our over 400 student organizations are recruiting new members outdoors this week.

The discussion continues on how to help San Jose State become an even more welcoming community.

Famed Princeton Professor Cornel West, author of “Race Matters,” will speak at April 9. You might remember him from “The Matrix” movies.

Spring term ends with Honors Convocation and Commencement. Finally, all that hard work pays off for more than 7,000 new grads.

Does this include you? Claim your place in history and enter a drawing for a $10,000 scholarship for you or someone of your choice.

List your profile on the CSU Class of 3 Million yearbook. This major milestone signifies the huge influence our alumni have in shaping California.

It’s true SJSU students and alumni are excelling every day in many ways. There are lots of reasons to be a proud Spartan!

San Jose Mercury News: SJSU Graduation Celebrates Grit, Sacrifice

Posted May 24, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Lisa Krieger

Some of the biggest lessons that electrical engineer Donald Flowers II, learned at school happened outside the classroom. Discipline. Time management. Financial budgeting. Focus.

“You cannot give up,” said the 34-year-old Flowers, one of several thousand ebullient San Jose State students celebrating their Saturday graduation in Spartan Stadium’s bright morning sun.

“It takes sacrifice,” he said. “At holidays, I’d be sitting around the table with my whole family, with my laptop open.”

Flowers reflects the kind of success the university has made its mission: offering working students — many of them older or immigrants and transfers from two-year campuses — the intellectual rigor and credentials needed to lift themselves securely into the middle class.

Read the full story. 

 

Commencement Honors Exemplary Graduates

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

SAN JOSE, CA – Distinguished graduates whose lives and significant achievements serve as examples to our students will be honored during Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 24 in Spartan Stadium.

More than 8,500 candidates who completed their studies in August 2013, December 2013 and May 2014 will be eligible to participate in the annual ceremony.

Nancy McFadden, ’84 Political Science

Nancy McFadden, ’84 Political Science

Nancy McFadden, ’84 Political Science, will serve as Commencement speaker and receive an honorary Doctorate of Laws. She worked as a senior administration official for President Clinton and two California governors.  

“Nancy McFadden worked hard to earn positions at the highest levels of public service, always giving back to the communities she calls home,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said.

The late William Hauck, ’63 Social Science, will receive a posthumous honorary Doctorate of Laws. Hauck worked in senior positions for Governor Wilson and three Assembly speakers.

“Rising from student body president to top leadership roles in Sacramento, Bill Hauck was a lifelong supporter of our students and our mission,” President Qayoumi said.

Nancy McFadden

A Bay Area native, McFadden attended law school at the University of Virginia. Prior to her current appointment as executive secretary for legislation, appointments, and policy to Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., she held multiple executive positions within PG&E Corporation, including senior vice president and senior advisor to the chairman and CEO, and senior vice president of public affairs.

William Hauck, ’63 Social Science

William Hauck, ’63 Social Science

McFadden spent nearly two decades serving as political and policy advisor to California Governor Gray Davis and as a senior member of the Clinton administration.

She is a member of the board of trustees for The California Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and serves on numerous boards for social and environmental organizations.

William Hauck

A prominent figure in the California Capitol for decades, Hauck worked in senior positions for three Democratic Assembly speakers—Jesse Unruh, Bob Moretti and Willie Brown. He was also deputy chief of staff to Governor Pete Wilson and a trusted adviser to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Hauck joined Goddard Claussen/West as senior advisor in late 2011. From 1996 to 2011, he served as president and CEO of the California Business Roundtable, a leading public policy advocacy association.

Hauck served on the board of Blue Shield of California. He also contributed generously to an annual CSU trustee scholarship that benefits San Jose State students who have overcome great obstacles.

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.

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi will recognize this year’s top graduates at Commencement, which begins at 9:30 a.m. May 24, 2014. Isra Ahmad and Terri McBride have been named SJSU’s 2014 Outstanding Graduating Seniors for their leadership roles on and off campus, contributions to the community, and personal contributions as undergraduates. Karen Parker and Danielle Crawford are the 2014 Outstanding Thesis Award recipients, in recognition of their quality level of research.

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

Isra Ahmad volunteers at a local food bank.

Isra Ahmad graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health science and recreation in December 2013. With a final GPA of 3.805, she believes her real-world experience as a health advocate enhanced her education in the classroom. She graduates with a 3.805 GPA. On campus, she focused on tobacco-use issues as a leader for Campuses Organized and United for Good Health (COUGH). For the Northern California Society for Public Health Educators, she distributed more than 2,000 campus surveys and organized a public forum on the campus’ smoking policy. Ahmad says her most memorable contribution took place off campus, educating mothers about healthy food choices at a local Second Harvest Food Bank. Ahmad will start a master’s in public health, with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics, at UC Berkeley in the fall. She plans to teach at the university level.

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

Danielle Crawford reads Joy Kogawa’s Obasan.

Danielle Crawford graduated in May 2013 with a master’s degree in English. For her thesis, “A Girlhood of Myth, Dreams, and Trauma: Redefining the Asian North American Female Bildungroman,” she studied how three novels, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard’s When the Rainbow Goddess Wept (1991), Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge (1997), and Joy Kogawa’s Obasan (1981), challenged the conventions of European coming-of-age novels through the factors of myth, dreams, and trauma. Crawford says her research is important beyond academics, providing insight on historical trauma. She says she is grateful to her department at SJSU for giving her the opportunity to teach, which reconfirmed her long-term goals of becoming a professor. Crawford is currently a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz.

Terri McBride at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) with professor and MARC director Leslee Parr and MARC peer Yolanda Hunt.

Terri McBride at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) with professor and MARC director Leslee Parr and MARC peer Yolanda Hunt.

Terri McBride will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in biological science (molecular biology). She was working toward a nutrition degree, before switching majors to biological science, which she’ll complete with a 3.948 GPA. At SJSU, she served as a leader of the Nutrition and Food Science Club and as a tutor for College of Science and Advising Center and Learning Assistance Resource Center. Off campus, she is a petty officer first class in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, and has volunteered at youth outreach events with TechGYRLS, the Bay Area Science Festival and the San Joaquin Expanding Your Horizons Conference. She is currently studying for the MCAT and hopes to attend a post-baccalaureate program at Stanford. Her goal is to be a physician scientist and continue her research in oncology, while bringing care to low-income and disadvantaged people.

2014 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

Karen Parker built a computer model of alga.

Karen Parker graduated with a master’s in marine science in December 2013. Parker has combined her new degree with 10 years of experience in the semiconductor industry to create a new career: biological oceanography. For her thesis, “Metabolic Network Construction Based on the Genome of the Marine Diatom Thalassiosira Pseudonana and the Analysis of Genome-Wide Transcriptome Data to Investigate Triacylglyceride Accumulation,” Parker used genomic data to build a computer model of a marine diatom—microscopic alga that converts light from the sun into chemical energy, which can be used as biofuel for cars and jets. Her research may have implications for the future of carbon-neutral fuels and for reducing greenhouse gases associated with climate change. She says her educational experience at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories has given her the skills to successfully pursue her goal of working on a computational system biology research and development team.

Honoring 45 Years of Teaching, Counseling and Fighting

Photo: J.P. Tran, '14 Graphic Design

Photo: J.P. Tran, ’14 Graphic Design

“After 45 years, Mohammad will go to the mountain.”

With that, President Qayoumi strode off the stage and through the crowd to hand deliver a very special honor at the 15th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon on March 11 at the Student Union’s Barrett Ballroom.

Seated near the front of the room, surrounded by friends and colleagues, was Wiggsy Sivertsen. Her official record includes stints as a counselor and faculty member.

But just as important has been her unofficial role as the heart and soul of San Jose State for more than four decades.

As the sun sets on my career, I can truly say that this has been the ride of my life,” Sivertsen said. “So many students have taught me and touched my life. My colleagues have enriched me.”

Student centered

Also recognized at this annual event were more than 120 faculty members with 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service, as well as the recipients of the university’s top annual awards for faculty members.

The luncheon is always filled with faculty and staff members and administrators. But this year, sitting quietly in chairs off to the side of the room were a half-dozen students.

Carrying flowers for their professor, they talked their way in to see Distinguished Service Award Recipient Julia Curry Rodriguez.

And it was there on the floor, while the proceedings continued on stage, that teacher and students quietly celebrated the connection at the core of the luncheon.

Fighting for rights

Similarly, Sivertsen dedicated her entire career to service in the classroom and beyond, focusing on educating the public about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and fighting for the rights of all.

Soon after arriving at SJSU in 1968, she established the first gay student organization. She went on to co-found the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee, a four-county LGBT political action group.

In the 1980s, she taught in the sociology department and later spent 11 years as director of counseling services.

Sivertsen has received numerous honors, including the American Civil Liberties Union “Don Edwards Defender of Constitutional Liberty Award.”

Thank you for your visionary leadership and dedication to San Jose State University,” said the commendation hand-delivered by the president.

“Your exemplary career of counseling and your tireless service and advocacy to the cause of civil rights attest to your lifetime spirited fight for equality.”

 

Business Convocation

Congrats, Grads!

Business Convocation

Hundreds of names were announced across all of the different business concentrations, as graduates each had their moment on stage (Stan Olszewski photo).

(In May, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers took a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we could share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2013. We’ve posted more photos on Facebook. In this story, we visit the College of Business convocation.)

The Event Center lights dimmed to almost complete darkness Friday morning. With a guiding spotlight, the College of Business and the Lucas Graduate School of Business faculty and convocation speaker Wanda Ginner, ’68 Business Administration, proceeded down the center aisle to the stage.

Then with much applause and excitement, the class of 2013 made their entrance, filling up rows of chairs.

Dean David Steele passed on three beliefs that he hoped this group of graduates would share: “the power of networking,” “giving back” and “having a passion for success.”

Convocation speaker Ginner, a semi-retired certified public accountant and consultant, later spoke of the fulfillment that she received in giving back to her university and this college, including influencing her husband and friends to get involved, too.

This is Sparta

Student Address speaker Jasmine Rezai, a Gary J. Sbona Honors Program participant, spoke of her transformation from an 18-year-old girl to the 23-year-old woman standing before them and all of the knowledge, experiences and friendships she has gained over the years.

“As life throws you curve balls, I hope you remember your times at San Jose State,” she said.

Rezai recited a poem by Persian poet Hafez that she dedicated to her loved ones: 

Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth
“You owe me.”
Look
What happens
With a love like that.
It lights the
Whole
Sky.

Blowing a kiss their way and with her voice cracking, she said, “Thanks for lighting the whole sky for me. This is for you.”

To end her speech, she quoted a line from her favorite film, “Gladiator,” starring Russell Crowe: “What we do in this life echoes into eternity.”

She added, “This is Sparta. Let us show the world what a Spartan is made of. ”

The Wave

Hundreds of names were announced across all of the different business concentrations, as graduates each had their moment on stage.

In the meantime, with a bit of prompting, half of the seated graduates attempted to perform the wave, the famous audience cheer perfected by No. 1 Spartan Athletics fan Krazy George Henderson. From the front row to the back, they sprang onto their feet and raised their arms freely, stretching toward the sky. They delighted the audience when they succeeded.

Then when the last name was read aloud, there were shouts of joy and celebration among the graduates, culminating in an even larger wave.

Shout-Outs

In a recent survey, SJSU asked new grads if they would like to send a shout-out to family and friends. Here are some of the responses we received from business majors of various concentrations. More will be shared at Commencement.

Rohini Venkatesh: “The counselors at College of Business are the best. They provide great support to students in selecting their classes and their majors. I appreciate their patience for last minute walk-ins.”

Victor Mantilla: “I would like to acknowledge the EOP program for allowing me to meet similar individuals. And personal shout-outs to my current and previous roommates, for you all know me at my best and at my worst.”

Quacy Superville: “I would like to thank my family for helping make this day a reality. I leave this institution armed with the ability to make change, the desire to be different and the passion to persevere. #T&T #SLB”

KTVU: Thousands Graduate from San Jose State

KTVU: Thousands Graduate from San Jose State

KTVU: Thousands Graduate from San Jose State

Click to view the story.

Post by KTVU May 24, 2013.

KTVU’s Maureen Naylor interviews new SJSU graduates, and learns that “when the student gets the diploma, in some ways, the whole family is graduating” and that “there are a lot of stories behind each diploma.” Naylor was on campus May 24 for many departmental and college convocations, which took place one day before the university-wide Commencement at Spartan Stadium.

Engineering Convocation: “Architects of the Future”

Engineering Convocation: “Be Confident and Dream Big”

Dean Andrew Hsu congratulated the 750 bachelor and master’s candidates for their achievement in one of the “most challenging programs on campus.” (Stan Olszewski photo)

(This week, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers will take a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we can share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2013. We’ll post more photos on Facebook.)

The flash of cameras danced to the rhythm of “Pomp and Circumstance” in SJSU’s Event Center May 24 as family and friends whistled, jumped up and down, and flailed their hands to get the attention of loved one walking to their seats center-arena at the College of Engineering convocation.

Dean Andrew Hsu opened the ceremony by welcoming proud parents, family, faculty and staff members. Before turning the event over to the keynote speaker, Hsu congratulated the 750 bachelor and master’s candidates for their achievement in one of the “most challenging programs on campus.”

Hsu closed by commending graduates on their “abilities and ethics to build a career and make the world a better place” and told them to “be confident and dream big.”

In his address, Animatics Co-Founder and CEO Robert Bigler talked about the challenges he faced turning his SJSU senior project into a motion control and automation company. The key, he said, was his SJSU education and “extracting positive insight from failure.”

Bigler advised graduates to “dedicate yourself to the process and there will be no limits” and reminded them “we are in the middle of a technological renaissance; you will be architects of what will be an extremely new future,” he said.

Shout-Outs

In a recent survey, SJSU asked new grads if they would like to send a shout out to family and friends. Here are some of the responses we received from child and adolescent development majors. More will be shared at Commencement.

Drupa Desai: “I would like to give a shout out to Prof. Avtar Singh who has played a great role in my years at SJSU. He has been great motivation and inspiration.

Elnaz Morad: “Mom, you are the sun of my life, Vahid you are the sunshine of my life and Golnaz you are the joy of my life. Thanks for your support.”

Ian Lopez Aguilar: “To my wife Daisy and daughter Isabella for all the support!”

Humanities Convocation

Humanities Department Convocation: “Well-Rounded”

Humanities Department Convocation: "A Well-Rounded Education"

“San Jose State gives us the tools to go out into the world and make it a better place if we use everything that San Jose State has to give to make a change,” Valedictorian Jessica Apple told her fellow humanities graduates. (Stan Olszewski photo)

(This week, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers will take a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we can share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2013. We’ll post more photos on Facebook.)

Representing degrees in humanities, liberal studies or religious studies, the Humanities Convocation on May 23 at Morris Daily Auditorium celebrated individuals who will influence and change the lives of others, many by becoming teachers.

When asked by Associate Professor and Liberal Studies Coordinator Susan Verducci how many of them were first-generation college graduates, roughly half of the group raised their hands.

All of the graduates overall were the lucky ones, according to Humanities Department salutatorian Maimona Afzal. A SJSU 2013 Outstanding Graduating Senior, Afzal wrote an impassioned speech presented in spoken word style.

Her booming voice was full of anger as she passionately spoke about societal challenges and injustices in education — dropout rates and economic disadvantages among others — and how despite all this, this group made it through and can change a child’s life.

This is a path she herself will follow. Afzal has accepted a position at Teach for America, where she will be working with special needs children in East San Jose.

Valedictorian Jessica Apple, who also plans to become a teacher, shared a game that she played with incoming freshmen at orientation, when she would ask, “If I had a magic wand I would _______.”

Magic Wand

The freshmen would fill in the blank with their dreams of making the world a better place. Afterwards, she would tell them SJSU will prepare them well to make their dreams come true.

“San Jose State gives us the tools to go out into the world and make it a better place if we use everything that San Jose State has to give to make a change,” she said.

The components of everyone’s own figurative magic wand, she said, are optimism, self-confidence and skills and knowledge.

In the role of Honored Speaker, Lecturer Judith Georges addressed the graduates about being liberal arts scholars in the center of Silicon Valley in the diverse but expensive Bay Area.

“We don’t know how to use a wafer to build a chip. We think it better to serve wafers and chips to elementary school kids,” she quipped, drawing laughter from the graduates and audience.

In spite of this, she said these humanities graduates are also nerds in their fields by tackling the challenge of being well-rounded people academically.

She imparted on them what she described as a sacred trust: “Be defenders of a well-rounded education.”

Shout-Outs

In a recent survey, SJSU asked new grads if they would like to send a shout-out to family and friends. Here are some of the responses we received from humanities and liberal studies majors. More will be shared at Commencement.

Michael Reinken: “Dr. Ormsbee, thank you for pushing me academically like no one else and being a mentor and friend.”

Megan Mohacsi: “Thank you to my friends and family who have always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself, especially my fiance, Ian who has always been right by my side.”

Sarah Limongelli: “Thank you Professor McCraw for always putting his students first, a little something every teacher and future teacher could learn.”