Ninety-five staff members and administrators were honored at the 48th Annual Spartan Service Celebration held Oct. 29 in the Student Union Ballroom.
If there was one attribute that fit the honorees, it was modesty. Even people who spent most of their adult lives at SJSU had to be coaxed to stand up and take a bow.
Sitting in the very last row of the packed room was Margaret Soto, an administrative analyst in the Office of the President.
Thirty-five years of service
She was among five individuals honored for 35 years at San Jose State, where her five sisters and her father-in-law also worked.
And that’s not all. Her brothers worked Saturdays administering placement tests. So for years, Soto’s family has been touching every corner of campus, from housing, to chemistry, to UPD.
In a video tribute to all honorees played on a giant screen at the front of the room, she was asked to describe her favorite memory.
“Meeting my husband,” she said. Enrique Lopez is yet another family member who worked on campus. “After 26 years, he still makes me smile.”
There were plenty of smiles to go around as SJSU’s vice presidents and athletics director took turns reading the names of every single employee reaching milestones of 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service.
In between the batches of names, the videotape rolled. Staff members who work across campus, and all the way out to Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, recalled their first years on campus and their favorite memories.
For Erlinda Yanez of the Department of Mexican American Studies, it was senior staff members who showed her the ropes when she was brand new.
For John Douglas of Moss Landing, it was the constant influx of new students and researchers from around the world.
For Vic Soares of Facilities Development and Operations, it was giving the athletics field an extra close cut, just the way coaches liked it.
For Lawrence Fan of the Athletics Department, it was being offered a job close to home and leveraging his sports media acumen.
Dreams for the future
Sonia Lieu of Student Affairs has yet to experience what she hopes will be her best memory: posing for graduation photos with her daughter, an engineering major at SJSU.
So while the details varied, the stories all returned to the same theme. People who come here to work gain a second family in the process, one that cares for them, and they care for just the same.