Spartan Completion Grant Helps Grads Get to Finish Line

Lean Columna, ’18 Civil Engineering, is one of 122 fall graduates who are part of a new pilot program for Spartan Completion Grants.

“I have always been intrigued by the various structures that I’ve come across in my life,” he said, noting his interest in the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. “When I visited that place, I was fascinated on how the structure was built and the features constructed through engineering.”

As he worked toward his degree, Columna found support in his department, with peers studying for exams and doing homework together, and sharing ideas.

“It means a lot for me and my family,” he said, of completing his degree this fall. “My father is the only one in the family that has a degree. As the first born, it sets a great example for my siblings who are also on their way to achieving goals.”

His advice to other students: “Reach out to one another in your department. Find people you can work well together with and help one another out. You’re not alone in all of this.”

The Spartan Completion Grant program provides funds to students who are on track to graduate within one year, in good academic standing and have a financial need. Students are not required to apply for the grants, but those who meet the eligibility criteria are selected by a campus committee. For more information on the grant program, visit the site.

Latest Edition of Washington Square Highlights Spartan Stories

Harry Edwards, '64 Sociology, '16 Honorary Doctorate, donated historical items to SJSU and was the guest speaker at the 2016 Commencement.

Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate, donated historical items to SJSU and was the guest speaker at the 2016 Commencement.

The latest edition of Washington Square, SJSU’s Alumni magazine, features stories of Spartan alumni, students, staff and faculty, including a profile of 2016 Commencement Speaker Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate. See photos of Spartans in action, read stories and review web extras online. Visit the Fifth Floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library to see an exhibit of items Edwards donated to SJSU.

May 2016 Newsletter: Provost Update – Commencement Celebrates Student Success

2015 graduates enter Spartan Stadium for Commencement.

2015 graduates enter Spartan Stadium for Commencement.
Photo by David Schmitz

As provost, I am inspired by the pride I see in the eyes of our graduates as they don their caps and gowns each May. This month, we celebrate the dedication of our students, having attained their degrees with support from family, friends and our campus community. We will honor 9,861 undergraduate and graduate students at Commencement on May 28. When they leave SJSU, they will be well prepared to become leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond while remaining an important part of the Spartan community as alumni.

While we celebrate so many Spartans obtaining their degrees, I am especially pleased that our campus ends the year with a comprehensive plan to support future graduates. SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success: College Readiness, Advising, Student Engagement and Clearing Bottlenecks is available online.

For the past year, I have worked closely with Vice President for Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock to develop this plan. We have collaborated and gathered information from faculty, staff, students and other experts to develop a data-driven campus-wide student success strategy with one goal: to significantly increase our retention and graduation rates for all students while improving the quality of their educational experience. Our 57 percent six-year and 10 percent four-year graduation rates, and a double-digit underrepresented minority student graduation rate gap are not acceptable. We owe it to our students, their families, taxpayers, employers and our community to improve.

As we end the semester, I am pleased to highlight examples from each of our four pillars: an outreach program for middle and high school students; a scholarship program that provides mentors to graduate students; events that highlight student research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA); advising centers embedded in each college; and a grant that is redesigning the way we teach lower-division STEM classes.

I wish you all a wonderful summer and I look forward to working with you to enhance the success of every San Jose State student.