Oscar Award Winning Actress Rita Moreno to Speak at SJSU EOP Gala

Rita Moreno 2015 Austin Hargrave Photographer

Rita Moreno (photo by Austin Hargrave)

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

SAN JOSE, CA – Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rico native who defied ethnic stereotypes while earning all of America’s highest awards for entertainers, will be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at San Jose State University’s first-ever Educational Opportunity Program Gala.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Student Union Ballroom. Tickets start at $125 and are available now for purchase. Proceeds will support EOP students in many ways, including emergency food and housing, as well as study abroad experiences.

“Rita Moreno is an excellent student of life,” said Debra Griffith, SJSU Associate Vice President for Transition and Retention Services. “Ms. Moreno worked hard to achieve her dreams. She continues to grow and lead the way. We’re thrilled she accepted our offer to speak at the EOP Gala, and believe her life story will inspire the entire San Jose State University community.”

Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Emmy Recipient

Raised in New York and residing in Berkeley, Calif., Moreno has maintained a leading presence on American stage and screen since securing her first role as a dancer at the age of 11 in the early 1940s. She went on to excel as an actress, singer and dancer, turning in performances that riveted the nation.

Known today among younger Latino performers as “La Pionera,” she starred in two Academy Award winning films, “The King and I” and “West Side Story.” She received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the second film, which explores the rivalry between two street gangs. Yet she refused to succumb to stereotypes.

“The movie studios saw Moreno as only a Latina and pigeonholed her as an ‘ethnic,’” The Washington Post said. “At every stage, she has required fortitude, a fierce desire to create opportunities for herself and a willingness to take on just about anything.”

When a revolution in children’s programming produced “The Electric Company,” she joined the cast partly because she thought being on a show conveying a love of reading would help her daughter do the same. Viewers may recall her screaming the show’s opening line, “Hey you guys!”

Moreno received a Grammy for “The Electric Company Album,” a Tony for her performance in the groundbreaking Broadway musical “The Ritz,” and two Emmys for a guest appearance on “The Muppet Show” and the following year for a dramatic turn on “The Rockford Files.”

As cable emerged as a dramatic production powerhouse, Moreno accepted a role playing Sister Pete on the HBO prison series “Oz.” At the top of her industry through seven decades of change, Moreno has received our nation’s highest accolades: the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

EOP: Providing Opportunity

Founded in 1969, the Educational Opportunity Program at SJSU serves more than 2,000 students who are first in their families to attend college, including many from low-income and underserved communities. Recent initiatives include a five-week Summer Bridge program, which has helped push retention rates from the freshman to sophomore year, a critical predictor for college success, to over 95 percent.


About San Jose State University

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

With more than 31,200 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.

 

Francisco Jiménez to Receive Steinbeck Award

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

SAN JOSE, CA – Educator, author, and advocate for social justice Francisco Jiménez will receive the John Steinbeck Award at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) on Wednesday, September 28, in the Student Union Theater at San Jose State University. A highlight of the university’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the event will feature a conversation between Jiménez and Chicano political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz.

Proceeds from the event benefit SJSU’s Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center. Camino Arts, a non-profit arts initiative, is a pro bono co-producer of this event. Tickets ($20 general, $10 student) are available at the Event Center Box Office (408-924-6333) or at ticketmaster.com.

Like the Joad family in Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, the Jiménez family came to California looking for a better life but found mostly hardship and struggle. Born in Mexico in 1943, Jiménez spent much of his childhood moving around California with no permanent home or regular schooling. Against incredible odds he went on to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor at his alma mater, Santa Clara University. His accolades include the CASE/Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year in 2002.

His critically-acclaimed books for young readers, including The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, have given voice to families like his and introduced a generation of American children to the plight of migrant laborers in our country.

More information is available on the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies’ website.

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

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

Track and Field Announcement:

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stadium Planned for Bud Winter Field

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

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

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

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

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

Visionary in the Sport

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

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

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

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

Taking a Stand for Human Rights

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

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

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

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

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

Background information on SJSU track and field. 


About San Jose State University

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

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

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

 

SJSU Hosts Celebration of Life for Charlie Whitcomb

Dr. Charlie Whitcomb

Dr. Charlie Whitcomb

Dr. Charles (Charlie) Whitcomb, a beloved member of the SJSU community for more than four decades, passed away July 15. He earned two degrees from San Jose State, and then served as a faculty member, department chair and academic leader.

At his request, a celebration of life will be held on campus in the Music Concert Hall on July 25, at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow immediately (directions to campus and parking).

In lieu of flowers, friends can donate to the Charlie Whitcomb Scholarship Fund. Gifts can be made online or by mail (Tower Foundation of SJSU, One Washington Square, San Jose, Calif., 95192-0183).

Statesman

His impact is readily apparent from the many personal reflections and expressions of affection for Whitcomb received since his family shared news of his passing.

“He was the kindest person you ever met,” said Jessica Larsen, who worked with him in the Provost’s Office. “He was always positive, cheerful and never said anything bad about anybody. He always took bad situations and found the goodness in it.”

Larsen noted that he was an advocate for SJSU students from less fortunate backgrounds, who didn’t have as many opportunities.

“I will always remember his smile,” she said. “That is how I remember him.”

Devoted to diversity

Whitcomb was especially devoted to diversity and his passion is reflected in his many speaking engagements during his tenure as a faculty member and chair. He presented on issues related to diversity and athletics at multiple National Collegiate Athletic Association events and served as SJSU’s NCAA faculty representative for 20 years. In 1991, Whitcomb was appointed the first chair of the NCAA’s Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. The group was, by any measure, incredibly impactful during his 10-year tenure.

In addition, he served on dozens of college and university-wide committees, including the University Commencement Committee, the Accommodations Review Board, the University Campus Climate Committee, Academic Senate and multiple search committees, among others.

He started his distinguished career at SJSU in 1971 as a faculty member in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (now part of Health Science and Recreation), serving as a department chair from 1988 to 2002. He was appointed executive assistant to the provost in 2003, eventually serving as vice provost of academic administration and personnel through his retirement in 2012.

He earned two degrees from SJSU: a bachelor’s in Justice Studies with a minor in Psychology in 1971 and a master’s in Recreation Management in 1975, before going on to earn his doctorate in higher education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Positive and hopeful spirit

Those who knew him best describe Whitcomb as bringing a positive and hopeful spirit to every situation, with an infectious laugh and smile, and an unwavering dedication to our students.

“He took with him his fun, playful spirit, his undeniable dedication to SJSU for over 44 years, his belief in dignity and justice across all people, his love of students, athletes, faculty, staff and friends, regardless of race,” said colleague Dr. Kate Sullivan, a hospitality management professor. “He listened AND he heard. So many considered him a friend on this campus! I will always see his smile and hear his laughter and remember all the things he taught me as my dear mentor over the last 28 years.”

Before joining SJSU as a tenure-track faculty member in 1972, he worked as a counselor for Santa Clara County Juvenile Probation Department Children’s Shelter for six years. He was involved with many community organizations as well. He served on the board of directors for the National Park and Recreation Association from 1978 to 1981 and as a board director with Community Kids to Camp from 1985 to 1988,

 

SJSU Alumnus Harry Edwards Reflects on Muhammad Ali’s Legacy

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

The following statement should be attributed to pioneering sports sociologist and human rights leader Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology:

I first met Muhammad Ali just before my freshman year at San Jose State. Ali —
then Cassius Clay — was training for the 1960 Rome Olympics at San Jose State in the summer of that year. The boxing coach was Julie Menendez, who was the boxing coach at San Jose State as well. Both Julie and I were from East St. Louis, Ill., and he invited me over to meet some of the boxers — especially the younger ones (Ali was born in January of 1942; I in November of that same year).

Julie warned me that he couldn’t “stop Clay from talking,” and he was right. I thought at the time that “Clay” was “nuts.” Of course he wasn’t nuts, just brashly, wonderfully unique and iconoclastic, especially for a “Negro” athlete in those times. There was no way that I could’ve anticipated that our paths would intersect as they have over the years or the auspices under which that would happen.

It is only when a GIANT passes from among us, and we stand blinking and rubbing our eyes in the glaring reality of our loss, that we come truly to appreciate the extent to which we all have really been just living in his shadow. So it is with Muhammad Ali: He was an athlete of unparalleled brilliance, beauty, and bravado at a time when black athletes (other than the Harlem Globetrotters) were expected to be seen, not heard — silent, self-effacing “producers,” not loquacious, verbose entertaining performers in the arena.

In popular culture, he almost single-handedly deepened our understanding of  “religious freedom” as something more than an American “historical and political cliche.” He influenced people from the most powerful (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, for example) to the most naive college students and “draft vulnerable” youths in the community to rethink their positions on the issue of “war and peace.”

He was the model for generations of athletes on questions of the political relevance of sports and athletes’ activist potential and involvement in political causes, from the Olympic Project for Human Rights in 1968 to the threatened boycott by the University of Missouri black football players in support of University of Missouri students protesting racism on campus in 2015.

He taught us all by word and example that there can be no “for sale” sign, no “price tag” on principles, human dignity, and freedom, among so many of his other contributions. “THE GREATEST?” Compared to who? Compared to what, of his era or any other? “The Greatest” doesn’t begin to truly capture the magnitude and measure of his broad scope, contributions and legacy.

He stood astride the last four decades of the 20th Century like a statuesque athlete colossus, the most recognizable human face on Earth, one foot firmly planted in the sports arena, the other in the world beyond, eventually dwarfing us all in both spheres. His athletic brilliance long since faded, now his very physical presence among us will be missed, but his spirit of principled courage, commitment, and sacrifice will always be with us because it has so penetrated our visions of who we are as a people and impacted our standards of what we should and could become as a society.

It was a blessing and a profound privilege to have known him. WELL DONE, CHAMP, AND GODSPEED, MY BROTHER!

 

SJSU 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.”

 

“Spartan East Side Promise” to Prepare East Side Students for SJSU Admissions

Media contacts:
Linda Ornelas, ESUHSD Marketing and Public Engagement Director, 408-347-5014, ornelasl@esuhsd.org
Connie Skipitares, SVEF Media Relations Manager, 408-790-9593, connie@svef.com
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – An initiative that fosters a college-going culture in East San Jose schools and promises to help prepare students for admission to San Jose State University will be unveiled at a formal “promise signing” next week.

WHAT:  Spartan East Side Promise
WHEN:  9:30 – 10:15 a.m Friday, April 29
WHERE:  W.C. Overfelt High School, Room F5, 1835 Cunningham Ave., San Jose, CA 95122

Collaboration

Remarks will be offered by East Side students, SJSU Interim President Susan Martin, East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris D. Funk and Silicon Valley Education Foundation CEO Muhammed Chaudhry.

The “Spartan East Side Promise” provides a pathway to admission to SJSU by clearly specifying admissions requirements and actively sharing this information with students and families at the 13 high schools in the East Side Union High School District.

The Spartan East Side Promise is a collaborative venture created by SJSU and ESUHSD, with support from the East Side Alliance, a network that includes ESUHSD, seven elementary feeder school districts (Alum Rock, Berryessa, Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Mt. Pleasant, Oak Grove, Orchard), and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.  The East Side Alliance brings together these eight districts as an educational community to share ideas, leverage resources, and align practices to ensure every student’s success.

Admissions Pathway

In order to gain admission into SJSU, students must meet the California State University/University of California course requirements known as the “A-G” requirements — a set of 15 high school course requirements covering a range of subjects that establish a foundation for college-level work.

Students must achieve a “C” grade or better in these subjects. Students at ESUHSD this fall must also earn a 3300 eligibility Index (SAT) or 790 (ACT), and require no remediation as determined by math and English placement test scores. The eligibility index is based on grades and test scores.

By clearly articulating the specific criteria for SJSU admission as part of the Spartan East Side Promise, ESUHSD students will know what is expected early in their academic careers and can prepare to take the steps needed to ensure college admission at SJSU.

The key here is locking in the eligibility index. The EI when an East Side student enters high school will be the maximum EI when the East Side student applies for admission to SJSU. This is important because SJSU may need to make upward adjustments to the EI for other applicants, depending on the university’s capacity to admit new students.

Roles

“We want students and families to see how students can go to college and earn a degree. This program provides a clear roadmap for success,” SJSU Interim President Susan Martin said. “We are excited to collaborate with East Side Union High School District, the East Side Alliance and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation on this innovative program to serve our local students.”

SJSU will provide presentations on CSU and SJSU admission requirements to students and their families at ESUHSD schools and middle schools feeding into ESUHSD; participate in onsite college fairs; identify a specific admissions counselor and financial aid counselor for East Side students and families; offer opportunities for ESUHSD students to visit SJSU; and ensure East Side Union high schools have publications regarding SJSU admission requirements.

The ESUHSD will appoint a district sponsor to work with SJSU; provide opportunities and facilities for SJSU representatives to meet with East Side students, families, faculty and counselors; provide bus transportation for ESHUSD students to visit SJSU and tour campus; promote the Spartan East Side Promise in elementary, middle and high schools; and identify a specific contact for SJSU at each high school.

Quotes

“This is an exciting program that will provide a clear pathway into a university for students who might not otherwise gain this access,” said SVEF CEO Muhammed Chaudhry. “We are thrilled to be giving students this chance for a bright future and rewarding career opportunities ahead.”

“The Spartan East Side Promise will reinforce all our current efforts to create an environment that encourages our students to strive for college,” said Chris D. Funk, superintendent of the East Side Union High School District.

“We are excited to provide our East Side Alliance elementary students with a college pathway to a great California State University right here in their own back yard!” said Kathy Gomez, Evergreen School District superintendent,

“I want to acknowledge and thank both Interim President Sue Martin and former President Mo Qayoumi, who have been active partners with the East Side Alliance and have made the Spartan East Side Promise possible,” said Manny Barbara, SVEF coordinator of the East Side Alliance.

About the East Side Union High School District

East Side Union High School District, established in 1950, serves more than 23,000 students in grades 9-12 in San Jose, Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley). The district has approximately 2,021 employees. It has the seventh largest high school student enrollment in the state and the largest in northern California.

The district’s mission is to align decisions to create safe, dynamic and relevant learning environments that inspire critical thinking, problem solving and innovation.

 About Silicon Valley Education Foundation

Silicon Valley Education Foundation is a nonprofit resource and advocate for students and educators. We drive scholastic achievement in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by combining resources and partnerships to provide innovative academic programs. We are a catalyst for policy solutions in public education. Our mission is to make Silicon Valley the leader in academically prepared students. To learn more, please visit: www.svef.com.

About San Jose State University

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

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

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

SJSU Appoints Chief Diversity Officer

Kathleen Wong(Lau)

Kathleen Wong(Lau)

Kathleen Wong(Lau) has been appointed to serve as SJSU’s chief diversity officer. Wong(Lau) will lead the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, providing vision and direction for university-wide efforts to ensure a welcoming, safe climate for every member of our community and serving as a liaison to community partners and constituents on a wide array of diversity initiatives.

She was selected by and will report directly to incoming SJSU President Mary Papazian, and will serve on the president’s cabinet. Wong(Lau) will join our community on July 25.

Wong(Lau) joins SJSU from the University of Oklahoma where she has served since 2014 as director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE).

Her noteworthy accomplishments at Oklahoma included launching faculty training institutes on inclusive teaching, and administrator training on management and leadership for diversity and innovation.

In addition, she designed and led an inaugural, mandatory, five-hour Freshmen Diversity Experience training for more than 5,000 students.

Read an announcement sent via email to all students, faculty and staff on April 12, 2016.

Conference Brings 300 Women Engineers to SJSU

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

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

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

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

Photo: David Schmitz

Oracle CEO Safra Catz (Photo: David Schmitz).

Photo: David Schmitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: David Schmitz

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

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

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

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

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

IMG_8264

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7623

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7741

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SJSU Celebrates Super Sunday 2016

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

Pastor Jason Reynolds (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Members of the Emmanuel Baptist Church choir crooned “no weapon they throw at me, you know it won’t prosper, no,” while donned in all black outfits and carrying picket signs reading “Black Lives Matter” during this year’s CSU Super Sunday service.

Super Sunday, part of the California State University system’s African American Initiative, resulted in CSU ambassadors visiting over 72 churches and speaking at over 100 church services in the state to encourage African American youth to pursue higher education.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the CSU system to remind people that our mission is to aid ordinary people in being successful and transforming their families,” said San Jose State Interim President Susan Martin.

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

Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

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

SJSU Interim President Sue Martin and Pastor Jason Reynolds (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

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

Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

President Martin, who attended Emmanuel Baptist Church’s service on Feb. 28 along with SJSU Vice President of Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock, stressed the importance of encouraging youths to start considering college at a young age.

“Most of our CSU campuses, including ours, only have three percent of our students identifying as African Americans,” Martin said. “So we need more African American families to prepare to send their children to college.”

Tierney Yates, Social Sciences ’14, said he was only one of three African Americans in his political science program while in his undergraduate career and hopes the initiative will help boost representation in the CSU.

Yates, who serves as the church choir director, said the Black Lives Matter message was incorporated into the musical performances in addition to Pastor Jason Reynolds’ sermons for the month of February in order to bring attention to institutional racism and other issues.

“We talked about issues with community, income and family, so this week we were talking about the issues as they relate to education and disparities,” Reynolds said. “There is so much need for our children to see that knowledge is possible.”

Blaylock, who has served in the CSU system for 28 years, told the service attendees that he was a product of the system’s opportunities.

“My story can be summed up in eight words: ‘It wasn’t supposed to happen but it did,’” Blaylock said. “I came as a freshman over 30 years ago, and CSU and EOP [Educational Opportunity Program] most likely saved my life.”

Despite it being the 11th year that the CSU has organized a Super Sunday with California churches, Blaylock said there is a deep-rooted culture of partnerships within the system.

“There are many people in the CSU who have been doing work and reaching out to communities of color for many, many years,” Blaylock said. “I applaud and celebrate the coordination of these (Super Sunday) efforts, but as a witness today, there are staff and faculty from SJSU that attend this church that are on the scholarship committee and that organize afterschool tutoring, so we’ve been here long before the initiative.”

Yates said he was pleased to see over 20 SJSU or CSU alumni members in the church audience.

“When you’re on a campus of 33,000 students, you feel like you’re the only one,” Yates said. “But when you see it in a smaller setting you can see the impact that it can have and the potential growth that needs to happen.”

 

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.

Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges to Receive Steinbeck Award

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

Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges today (photo courtesy of Ms. Bridges).

SAN JOSE, CA – Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana, will be on campus Feb. 24 to receive the John Steinbeck Award.

“An Evening with Ruby Bridges” is slated for 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) in the Student Union Ballroom. The award presentation will culminate an evening featuring an onstage interview of Bridges by KQED’s Joshua Johnson. This event is sold out.

Ruby Bridges has been called the youngest foot soldier of the civil rights movement. In 1960, the NAACP selected a six-year-old girl to break the color barrier of an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. White parents removed their children from classes, and angry protesters jeered at Ruby as she walked the steps of William Frantz Elementary School surrounded by federal marshals. For months, Ruby sat alone in her classroom, instructed one-on-one by Barbara Henry, a white teacher from Boston. John Steinbeck was moved by Bridges’ courage and wrote about her in his 1962 book “Travels with Charley.”

More information is available on the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies’ website.

 

President’s Commission on Diversity to Host Forum

The President's Commission on Diversity Fall Open Forum will take place 4-6 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Morris Dailey Auditorium.

The President’s Commission on Diversity Fall Open Forum will take place 4-6 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Morris Dailey Auditorium.

Media Contact: Pat Harris, 408-924-1748

San Jose, CA—Everyone is invited to discuss how to foster a welcoming community at San Jose State.

The President’s Commission on Diversity Fall Open Forum will take place 4-6 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Morris Dailey Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and will be streamed live on the SJSU home page.

Judge LaDoris Cordell (retired) will serve as moderator. Cordell was chair of the Special Task Force on Racial Discrimination, which was appointed by President Qayoumi in January to review all of the facts and make recommendations addressing an alleged hate crime that occurred last fall in a campus residence hall.

In April, the task force submitted more than 50 recommendations and in May, the President’s Commission on Diversity completed an action plan based on those recommendations.

The Oct. 8 forum, the first event of the new academic year on this topic, will bring the campus community together to discuss recent activity, including the consolidation of more than 50 recommendations into 22 action items as well as the Commission on Diversity’s role advising the president and overseeing implementation of the action plan.

Speakers will include President Qayoumi and the commission chairs: Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Renee Barnett and Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein. Representatives from Housing Services, Faculty Affairs, Human Resources, Student Academic Success Services, and the Center for Faculty Development will also be on hand to discuss work underway in specific units.

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

 

Judge LaDoris Cordell

President’s Update: Task Force Recommendations

Judge LaDoris Cordell

Judge LaDoris Cordell at the final task force meeting (James Tensuan photo).

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Last night, the Special Task Force on Racial Discrimination held its sixth and final meeting, which I attended.

In appointing this task force, I asked for recommendations that would help ensure a safe, welcoming, inclusive climate for everyone in the SJSU community. It was important to me that the task force and its work be both independent and transparent, and that its membership reflect diverse constituencies and viewpoints.

The task force met all of these objectives. All meetings were publicized and open to the public, and accessible to others via live webcast. All drafts of task force recommendations were posted and available for public review, as are the corrected final recommendations [PDF].

At Thursday’s meeting, I publicly thanked retired Judge LaDoris Cordell for serving as task force chair. She was the strong, focused leader we wanted. I also thanked each task force member for investing time and energy in this important effort. Their honest input has been crucial, and will help inform our future actions.

The task force has offered more than 50 suggestions. In the aggregate, they reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives on this committee, as well as input offered by others. These recommendations deserve and will receive careful consideration and study. We will then develop an implementation timeline.

There are no easy or quick fixes. I am committed to thoughtful, sustainable actions that will have the long-term impact we all desire. We will act in a timely manner, and we will report our progress both to our campus and the community at large.

Sincerely,
Mohammad Qayoumi
President

“Cultural Showcase” Displays Diversity

Students Plan "Cultural Showcase"

Kris Delacruz of Pilipino Vocal rehearses (Codi Mills photo).

An international kaleidoscope of the visual and performing arts is planned for “The First Annual Cultural Showcase,” to be held 6 to 9 p.m. April 17 at the Student Union Barrett Ballroom.

Students Plan "Cultural Showcase"

Salzburg Scholars are collaborating with student artists and Spartan Shops on this “Cultural Showcase.”

The event is free and open to all SJSU community members. Even the refreshments will be on theme; Spartan Shops’ Street Eats will sell fusion tacos. 

We have students who will be performing traditional dances from China, Mexico and Eritrea, and students showcasing modern ballet, traditional Filipino music, German, Italian and French opera, and so much more,” said Mary Okin, ’15 Art History and Visual Culture, and a Salzburg Scholar.

San Jose State selects approximately a dozen students annually for the SJSU Salzburg Program. Scholars spend a week over the summer in Austria, where they attend an intensive global citizenship program. 

All scholars commit to promoting global citizenship right here on campus, and the 2013-2014 cohort is making good on its promise by collaborating to produce what the group hopes will become an annual event.

The showcase is a fabulous opportunity to learn about diversity at SJSU and celebrate our multicultural campus identity,” Okin said. “Everything in this event has been a collaborative effort by students and every student working on this project is a volunteer.”

The lead organizer is Erin Enguero, a kinesiology major, Salzburg Scholar and recipient of the 2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Contact the organizers.

Follow this event on Facebook.

 

Silicon Valley Business Journal: SJSU’s Answer to Gender Disparity

Posted by the Silicon Valley Business Journal April 8, 2014.

By Jon Xavier

The solution to the tech industry’s gender problem must start with schools. After all, it’s hard to hire more women for tech jobs if there aren’t enough female applicants entering the job market. But faculty and administrators are fighting a hard battle. They have to smash stereotypes that prevent women from applying to science and engineering schools to begin with.

Melanie McNeil is a chemical engineering professor at San Jose State University and the head of the College of Engineering’s Women in Engineering program, which seeks to provide mentorship, outreach and events to bring more women into engineering majors and increase their leadership opportunities.

In this interview, McNeil outlines what schools are doing to close the gender gap.

Read the full story.

Persian Studies Hosts “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora”


Media Contact:
Persis Karim, Director of Persian Studies, Persis.karim@sjsu.edu, 408-924-4476

Persian Studies Program Hosts First-Ever “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora Conference”

Various scholars, acclaimed artists and filmmakers from across the country will present at this conference.

SAN JOSE, Calif.- The Persian Studies Program at San Jose State, with support from the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and the College of Humanities and the Arts, will hold the first-ever “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora” conference on Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, at SJSU.

This conference brings together visual artists, writers, filmmakers and cultural activists who have been making art and representing the experiences, perspectives and sentiments of a diverse community of Iranians in the United Since over the past three decades.

Panels and discussions will convene in the Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. Library, rooms 225/229 and 255 , on Friday morning. Registration for the conference for both days including lunch is $60 for the general public and $50 for students. Advanced registration is required. 

Various scholars, acclaimed artists and filmmakers from across the country will present at this conference while representing institutions including the University of Southern California, Boston University, California College of Arts, UCLA, California Institute of Integral Studies and UC Irvine. Participants will provide a multi-dimensional exploration of how art has helped shape a conversation about Iran, migration to the West and the unique culture of Iranian Americans and the Iranian diaspora.

Iranian American Life

“As we read daily headlines about the tension between Iran and the United States, it is important to recognize the significant presence of Iranian-Americans and the ways that their experiences and contributions are often overshadowed,” said Dr. Persis Karim, director of Persian Studies at SJSU. “This conference is an occasion to reflect on and share the arts and humanity of Iran and its diaspora communities in the context of North America.”

Persian Studies Program Hosts First-Ever “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora Conference”

The play “Inja o Oonja: Stories from Iranian American Life,” featuring Kyle Swany, Mehrzad Karimabadi and Sara Mashayekh, will premiere at the “Cultures of the Iranian Diaspora” conference (photo courtesy of Persis Karim).

The conference also features a play titled, “Inja o Oonja—Here and There: Stories from Iranian American Life,” adapted by SJSU Theater Arts Professor Dr. Matthew Spangler from three short stories by Iranian American writers on Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at the Le Petit Trianon Theatre (72 N. Fifth St., San Jose).

To conclude the conference events, a film-screening and discussion of two films by SJSU Professor Babak Sarrafan (Radio, Television, Film and Theater) and San Jose native Mo Gorjestani will be held on Saturday, April 12, in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. Both of these evening events are free and open to the public.

SJSU’s Persian Studies Program was established in March 2011 with funding from a grant from PARSA Community Foundation and received a generous three-year grant from the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute  to continue the work of educating the SJSU community about the rich culture, history and heritage of the Persianate world, including the Iranian diaspora.

Evolution of a Community

Since 2011, Persian Studies at SJSU has offered courses in beginning Persian through the World Languages department and has hosted numerous lectures with scholars, film-screenings, musical events and book readings. This year’s events commenced with lectures “Jews of Iran” featuring Dr. Jaleh Pirnazar of UC Berkeley as well as “Days of the Revolution” presented by Dr. Mary Hegland of Santa Clara University. Celebration of Norouz, the Persian New Year and the spring equinox, has also become a tradition of the Persian Studies Program with the third annual concert of classical and folk Persian music on March 9.

“We hope people will see how art can help shape a different conversation about a people, their heritage and the evolution of that community right here in the United States,” said Karim. “We’re grateful that the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is making that conversation possible in the heart of one of the largest populations of Iranian Americans in this country.”

More information for this conference, play and film-screening can be found at SJSU’s Persian Studies Program website.

Also, like Persian Studies at SJSU on Facebook for event news and updates.

 

Ronstadt Retrospective

Imagery, words and performance illuminated the career of one of the leading vocalists of a generation when Linda Ronstadt came to Morris Dailey Auditorium on March 12. With a slideshow flickering in the background and students performing in the foreground, Professor Maria Luisa Alaniz and Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center Director Maribel Martinez took Ronstadt through a retrospective of her life’s work. The result was a sensational lesson in the Mexican American experience, as well as an inspirational dialogue about the power we all can draw from our roots and her experiences. “She has a lot to say to young women about resiliency,” Alaniz said. “She negotiated the music industry’s corporate world as a woman and for the most part a single woman. She really had to be courageous in creating her own eclectic career.”