SJSU in the News: Engineering Dean Shares a Favorite Poem

Pizarro: Rolling with the Obamas for Easter

Originally posted in San Jose Mercury News April 20, 2011

By Sal Pizarro

Easter weekend should be unforgettable for Coakley Heagerty CEO Tom Zazueta and his family. They’ll be among the thousands of people attending the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday.

Of course, Zazueta and his wife, Katie, a vice president at the San Jose marketing firm, are a little old to enjoy the White House tradition, which dates to the 19th century. But it’s perfect for their 9-year-old son, Christopher, and 7-year-old daughter, Carolyn.

While tickets for the roll have been distributed through an online lottery in recent years, the Zazuetas got theirs through a family connection. Tom Zazueta’s brother, Daniel, a Santa Clara University Law School grad working in D.C., was able to secure tickets from a good friend who works at the White House.

In addition to the egg rolling, the all-day event hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn includes live music, food and storytelling. “We’re not exactly sure what to expect, but plan to make the most of it,” Tom Zazueta said. “It should be a great experience for us and our kids.”

POETIC LICENSE: T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruellest month,” but Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Sally Ashton is making it seem a little less so. Through May 15, she’s posting well-loved poems submitted by county residents of note — including San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Olympic ice skater Peggy Fleming and San Jose State Dean of Engineering Belle Wei.

You can read them at, where you also will find guidelines for submitting your own contribution to Santa Clara County’s Favorite Poem Project. “Whether it’s a poem you first read in school or one you came across at a particular moment in your life, let’s take note of how poetry has had an impact on us, large or small,” Ashton said.

GARDEN PARTY: There’s a lot planned for Saturday’s annual “Spring in Guadalupe Gardens,” taking place in San Jose’s Guadalupe River Park between Taylor and Coleman streets.

San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo is leading a 5k fun run through the river park at 9 a.m. The run costs $25; you can register online at

And a pair of Easter egg hunts are planned at the park’s fruit orchard. A “Bunny Hunt” for kids ages 4 to 7 will take place at noon, followed by a “Hare Hunt” for those 8 and up. Get more information and register at