Retail Executive Jenny J. Ming to Serve as SJSU Commencement Speaker

Jenny J. Ming

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – San José State University’s 2012 Commencement speaker will be Jenny J. Ming, an SJSU alumna and retail industry executive. She will also receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during Commencement, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. May 26 in Spartan Stadium. Approximately 8,000 candidates who completed their studies in August 2011, December 2011 and May 2012 will be eligible to participate.

“Jenny Ming is an excellent role model for our students, having leveraged her degree, interests, creativity and incredible drive into a career leading the nation’s most innovative retailers while never losing site of her roots, giving back to the university and community she calls home,” President Qayoumi said.

In May 2011, Ming delivered a moving keynote address at the SJSU College of Business convocation. Speaking to thousands of students about to graduate and head off into the working world, she not only offered career advice but she paid homage to her own path, her parents, and Spartans everywhere.

“My own parents made difficult choices, changes, and sacrifices to bring me and my brothers and sisters to this country and to put us all through college,” she said. “I suspect that all you parents out there know what I’m talking about. Most of us are immigrants, and this country—our adopted home—offers enormous opportunity through education. I believe that each of you students and your families have a special appreciation of how worthwhile the privilege of an American education is.”

Jenny J. Ming

Jenny J. Ming was appointed president and chief executive officer of Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. in October 2009. Charlotte Russe, with offices in San Diego and San Francisco, is a fast fashion retailer of apparel and accessories targeting young women, with more than 500 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico. From March 1999 to October 2006, Ming was president of Old Navy, a $6.7 billion business segment of Gap Inc., where she oversaw all aspects of Old Navy and its 900 retail clothing stores in United States and Canada. Ming joined Gap in 1986, serving in various executive capacities in its San Francisco headquarters. In 1994, she was a member of the executive team that launched Old Navy.

Business Week magazine named Ming one of the nation’s top 25 managers in 2000. She was also featured in Fortune magazine’s 2003 and 2004 lists of the 50 most powerful women in American business. Ming is a member of the board of trustees for the Museum of Chinese in America. She also serves on the board of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan and Merage Foundation for the American Dream. Dedicated to expanding opportunities for U. S. immigrants, the foundation gave Ming its Business and Community Leadership Award in 2006. Ming is a member of Committee of 100, an international, non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that brings a Chinese-American perspective to issues concerning Asian Americans and U.S.-China relations.

Ming was born in China and raised in San Francisco. She received a bachelor of arts in clothing merchandising with a minor in marketing from SJSU in 1978. She was in management at a Mervyn’s department store when she was recruited by Gap Chief Executive Officer Millard S. Drexler.

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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