A group of graduates pose with diplomas with a professor at commencement. All dressed in black cap and gowns smiling.

SJSU to Honor Three Distinguished Graduates at Commencement and Honors Convocation 2011

photo of James E. Thompson

James E. Thompson will serve as commencement speaker.

Media Contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

Commencement 2011:

Download Photos of the Honorees:

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University’s 2011 Commencement speaker will be James E. Thompson, founder and chairman of The Crown Worldwide Group, the world’s largest privately-held group of international moving companies. Also, Major General Anthony L. Jackson will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement, and Los Angeles Times Columnist Steve Lopez will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Honors Convocation. These three gentlemen are SJSU alumni.

“All three honorees personify what we strive to nurture here at San Jose State: excellence, integrity, and service,” said Interim President Don W. Kassing. “They also exemplify the breadth and depth of our academic offerings, which evolved over our 154-year history to serve our region and beyond.”

Commencement will begin at 9:30 a.m. May 28 in Spartan Stadium. Approximately 7,000 candidates who completed their studies in August 2010, December 2010 and May 2011 will be eligible to participate. Honors Convocation will begin at 6 p.m. April 29 in the SJSU Event Center. Nearly 3,000 undergraduate students who earned a GPA of 3.65 or higher in at least two contiguous semesters of the three prior semesters will be eligible to participate.

James E. Thompson

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from SJSU in 1962, Thompson settled in Japan. Upon recognizing the need for a reputable international moving service, he established a small company in Yokohama.  Today, Hong Kong-based Crown Worldwide’s 4,000 employees operate over 250 locations in 55 countries, serving governments, corporations, diplomats and private customers. Thompson remains a U.S. citizen and permanent resident.

Thompson is a member of the SJSU College of Business Global Leadership Council. He also founded SJSU’s Thompson Global Internship Program, which offers students opportunities to live abroad while completing a project for Crown Worldwide. In Hong Kong, he serves as chairman or board member of numerous charitable organizations. His particular interests are charities related to children, cancer, education and HIV/AIDS.  Thompson has received numerous commendations including the Gold Bauhinia Star, awarded in 2003 by the Hong Kong government for distinguished service. He is married with a son and daughter.

Major General Anthony L. Jackson

Maj. Gen. Jackson has served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 35 years and is among the highest ranking African Americans in this branch of the armed forces. In his current post as Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West, Jackson oversees Camp Pendleton, Twentynine Palms and other western bases where Marines train for advanced combat operations. While attending SJSU on a full football scholarship, Jackson played three varsity seasons and was team captain in 1970. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from SJSU in 1971 and 1973, respectively.

In 1975, Jackson enlisted in the Marines to attend Officer Candidate School and began a steady rise up through the ranks, completing assignments throughout the United States. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. His many assignments have included: Assistant Chief of Staff (G-5), First Marine Force, deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II; Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Marine Forces, Central Command; and Director of Operations and Logistics, U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany. Jackson is married and has two sons.

Steve Lopez

Lopez joined the staff of the Los Angeles Times in May 2001 after four years at Time Inc., where he wrote for Time, Sports Illustrated, Life and Entertainment Weekly. Prior to Time Inc., Lopez was a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune. His work has won numerous national journalism awards for column writing and magazine reporting. Lopez earned a bachelor’s in journalism from SJSU in 1975.

A California native, Lopez is the author of three novels and a book of non-fiction, “The Soloist: A Lost Dream, An Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music.” The book is based on columns Lopez wrote for The Los Angeles Times about his friendship with a downtown Los Angeles musician. The volume also formed the basis for the 2009 film of the same name starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. Lopez is married and has two sons and a daughter.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 29,000 students and 3,190 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.