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Cisco CEO Address Honors Convocation

SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi and California State University Board Chair Bob Linscheid hood Cisco CEO John Chambers after he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (Robert Bain photo).

A willingness to “change the rules,” “take risks” and “constantly reinvent” are the hallmarks of strong companies and universities, said Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers at the 51st Annual Honors Convocation held April 26 in the Event Center.

Chambers received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the gathering, which celebrates SJSU’s top academic performers, including over 250 Spartans who earned 4.0 GPAs. Family and friends packed the stands to cheer for honorees, who were seated in rows blanketing the full length of the floor.

One of the most remarkable things about attending an event like this one at SJSU is many of the people in the stands don’t have college degrees themselves, but they recognize the value of their loved ones’ achievements. So they liked when Chambers credited universities with making our region an international powerhouse.

But he emphasized San Jose State must have the “courage and conviction” to innovate or risk being “left behind.” Referencing SJSU’s online initiatives, he urged this campus to lead the CSU and the nation through tough times because those at the head of the pack are the product not of their successes but their “setbacks and challenges.”

And what about the topic on the minds of the many students about to graduate? After noting that six percent of Cisco’s workers worldwide are SJSU alumni, Chambers closed by saying, “we are still recruiting” and “we would like to see the best and brightest at Cisco.”

Read a guest column by Chambers, addressed to the Class of 2013, in the San Jose Mercury News.