May is always such a wonderful time around the university. It is a time of endings and beginnings. Students and faculty are busily working to wrap up the final weeks of the spring semester which means many large projects and exams. In many cases, our students are demonstrating a full semester of learning that culminates in these projects. Endings include the last of the academic year for most of our students, but for 1415 students, it means the end of their undergraduate studies here at SJSU. I walk through campus and see so many students in caps and gowns, self-consciously posing for photographers, preparing for that nexus between their ending and their beginning.
Commencement comes from a French word that means beginning. This year, 83% of high school students will graduate. In California, 26% of high school students will enroll in a 4-year college—and about half of those will graduate college. There are many paths that brought our students to this accomplishment. At SJSU about half of our graduates are made up of students who came straight from high school and the other half transferred here from a community college. On this planet, only 6.7% of the world’s population hold a college degree. Yes, you read that correctly—less than 7% of people in the world have a college degree. Our dedicated faculty and staff have done tremendous work to train the next generation of health professionals, to help them on their pathway to their ending and their beginning.
We don’t accomplish this alone. We have a tremendous number of incredible community partners who worked with us to help our students develop crucial skills. Skills to address health inequities, build healthier communities and families. We are deeply grateful for our community partners who have helped make this commencement possible. You will read about some of our partnerships in this newsletter.