Award-winning TV News Journalist and Latinas Contra Cancer Founder Ysabel Duron to Serve as 2017 Commencement Speaker

Ysabel Duron

Ysabel Duron

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748,

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that award-winning retired television news journalist and founder and CEO of Latinas Contra Cancer Ysabel Duron, ’70 Journalism, will serve as its 2017 Commencement speaker. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 27 at CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The event will be streamed live on the university’s website.

“We know that students—indeed, all of us—find inspiration in others’ life experiences. I have no doubt that Ysabel Duron’s story will inspire everyone,” SJSU President Mary Papazian said. “Duron’s hard work and sacrifice in service to her community will resonate with our students, families and friends.”

This academic year, an estimated 10,000 San Jose State students will earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Ysabel Duron

A Salinas native, Ysabel Duron was inspired to pursue a college degree by her mother, who worked nights in a cannery to help support her six children’s education. Duron was a pioneering Latina broadcast journalist. During a 43-year career, she covered regional, national and international events, culminating in two decades as a Bay Area reporter and anchor.

Duron received a 1974 Emmy for her coverage of the Patty Hearst kidnapping and a Radio Television News Directors Association award for “The Child I Never Held,” a 1991 series about her reunion with a son she gave up for adoption while she was a San José State student.

Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1999, Duron covered her treatment and recovery in another award-winning series, “Life With Cancer.” Struck by the absence of Latinos receiving similar care, she founded Latinas Contra Cancer in 2003 to provide education and support services to low income, Spanish-speaking cancer patients and families.

Dedicated to increasing Latino engagement in genetics testing and research, Duron works with UCSF, Stanford University, Georgetown University and others. In addition, she serves on the Institutional Review Board for the All of Us Research Program and is active on a committee reporting to the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.