Philanthropist to Serve as Commencement Speaker

Honorary Doctorate for Philanthropist Connie L. Lurie

Philanthropist Connie L. Lurie will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement (photo courtesy of Connie L. Lurie).

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Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – SJSU’s 2013 Commencement speaker will be philanthropist and alumna Connie L. Lurie. She will also receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the event, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. May 25 in Spartan Stadium.

Approximately 8,000 candidates who completed their studies in August 2012, December 2012 and May 2013 will be eligible to participate.

“Connie Lurie’s lifetime dedication and exceptional generosity to San Jose State, as well as her visionary philanthropic spirit and positive impact on the Bay Area as a whole, merit these honors,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said.

Always an educator

Lurie graduated from San Jose State in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology. She taught in elementary schools on the Monterey Peninsula for six years and later ventured into real estate investment.  She was the executive director of Who’s Who International, and served as an admissions counselor for Heald Business College.

In her heart, Lurie has always been an educator. She established the Guardian Scholars program, which provides support and mentorship to former foster youths at SJSU. In 1998, she endowed the university’s Lurie Author-in-Residence program.

Lurie has been involved in many worthwhile causes throughout the Bay Area and California. She has served on boards for numerous organizations, including Strive for College. She has served as an advisory trustee for the California State Parks Foundation for more than 30 years.

University’s highest honor

In 2008, Lurie received the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Distinguished Alumni Award and the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice’s Citizen Involvement Award. Lurie remains a very active supporter of her alma mater. In 2000, she was the founder of Spartans in the Desert, an annual gathering for SJSU supporters. She also provided funding for the database that formed the backbone for SJSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.

In 2006, SJSU presented Lurie with the Tower Award, the university’s highest honor, and in 2007, the CSU Board of Trustees granted SJSU the naming of the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, in recognition of her visionary service and support, including a $10 million gift.

San Jose State University — 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.