Residence Hall Update: President Shares Latest Developments

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Sept. 22, 2016.

Dear Campus Community,

In the wake of yesterday’s disclosure of two swastikas and hateful language discovered in two of our residence halls, I left CSU meetings in Long Beach a day early and returned to San Jose late Wednesday night. I was back on campus this (Thursday) morning.

While mindful of the need to preserve student confidentiality, I am determined to be as transparent as possible. Let me update you on the latest developments.

First, the University Police Department (UPD) has made enough progress in its investigation that we are able to share some details. One of the two swastikas discovered Tuesday was accompanied by undeniably hateful, anti-Semitic language (“Admit One Jew”). Police have identified the student responsible and determined that this act, while bias-based, targeted no one in particular and is not by definition a hate crime.

The second incident involved a swastika and language scribbled on a white board, in a residence hall suite. The white board was described to police by the student responsible as a “joke board.” While this incident remains under investigation, police are confident that the two incidents are unrelated.

Meanwhile, we are focused on continuing to engage and support open dialogue with, and among, students, faculty and staff members, and community leaders. We all want to understand and make sense of these deeply disturbing acts. I’ve been reminded by several of you that symbols and words can carry different meaning and significance depending on one’s age, ethnicity, race, gender, faith and other factors.

We must ensure as many opportunities for dialogue as are needed to ensure that your voices are heard. Last night, our chief diversity officer and professional housing staff members facilitated a dialogue with 150 students. I’m grateful to our residence life and counseling staff for their dedication to our students’ concerns and needs.

Earlier today, I met with more than 100 faculty members and with the executive director of the local chapter of Hillel; I also briefed the media. This evening, I’ll meet informally with students in the Dining Commons at 8 pm.

A facilitated conversation on campus climate issues has been scheduled for next Thursday, September 29, and I will hold a town hall meeting with students on Wednesday, October 5. Details will follow soon.

While I remain disheartened and outraged by these profoundly hurtful acts, I am also encouraged by the response from our campus and broader community. Together, we can use this difficult moment to grow and learn how to be a fully inclusive and welcoming community.

Mary Papazian
President

Residence Hall Update: Hateful Content

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Sept. 21, 2016.

Dear Campus Community,

Staff members were informed Tuesday evening of two swastikas and hateful language found in Washburn Hall and Campus Village (CVC) on floors primarily housing first-year students.

University police (UPD) commenced an investigation last night. It is ongoing.

Chief Diversity Officer Kathy Wong(Lau), Student Affairs Vice President Reggie Blaylock and others have been working to ensure that we attend to the concerns and needs of our students, their resident advisors, and other staff. Guided conversations facilitated by the chief diversity officer and residential life professionals in Student Housing are being arranged for this evening.

I am both saddened and outraged by this news. Although I am in Long Beach for CSU meetings, I have spoken with campus and community leaders and shared our resolve to provide a safe learning environment where difficult issues can be addressed collaboratively and transparently.

As new information becomes available, we’ll share it with you. If you become aware of information that may be useful to investigators, please call UPD at 408-924-2222.

Sincerely,

Mary Papazian
President

SJSU Student William “Billy” Nguyen

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Sept. 19, 2016.

Dear Campus Community,

I am writing with a heavy heart to let you know that second-year kinesiology major William “Billy” Nguyen, a San Jose native, passed away Saturday while hiking in Sequoia National Park with a group of fellow SJSU students and staff members as part of SJSU’s Outdoor Adventures recreation program (read the National Park Service release).

Members of the traveling party were swimming in a lake when Billy reportedly struggled and sank beneath the water’s surface. The group tried unsuccessfully to rescue him. A search and rescue team has recovered his body; the Tulare County Medical Examiner is determining the cause of death.

Along with counseling and other university staff, I was on campus to meet the traveling party when their bus returned Sunday evening. As one would imagine, they have been badly shaken by this tragedy. I assured them that the SJSU community is and will continue to be here for them.

Our students and staff acted with remarkable courage, composure and thoughtfulness. On behalf of the entire university community, I want them to know how proud we are of them.

Billy was an Outdoor Adventures student assistant who completed a training course last year so that he could serve as a student leader this year. He was among five staff members on this trip.

He has been described to me as someone who, while sometimes reserved, loved group activities and wanted to inspire others to join in and be active. His interests included fitness and outdoors activities. He enjoyed working out and getting others to do the same.

Earlier today I spoke personally with Billy’s mother. As your president and as a parent, I am heartbroken for the Nguyen family and for all who knew and loved their son. Please keep Billy, his family and friends in your thoughts and your hearts during this difficult time. Counseling services are available if you need them.

Mary A. Papazian
President

Students Make Downtown San Jose a Better Place to Live, Work and Play

San Jose State University will launch the Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge and Festival on 6-8 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Hammer Theatre Center

San Jose State University will launch the Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge and Festival on 6-8 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Hammer Theatre Center.

SJSU Media Relations contact:
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University will launch the Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge and Festival on Wednesday, September 21 from 6-8 p.m. The launch takes place at the Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio Walk, San Jose. This event is free to the public and open to all ages.

Through partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and under the leadership of the College of Humanities and the Arts, the Paseo challenge asks San Jose State University students, “What will you create to make the city of San Jose an incredible place to live, work and play?”

The Paseo Prototyping Challenge is designed to incubate solutions to pressing social and environmental problems through multidisciplinary collaboration and technological innovation.

Following competitive review by SJSU faculty experts and industry professionals, 25 multidisciplinary student teams will be selected, mentored, and provided $1,000 in seed funding to develop prototypes for public presentation at the Paseo de San Antonio Public Prototyping Festival – an arts, culture and technology festival held on the Paseo de San Antonio corridor at the site of the Hammer Theatre Center in spring 2017. The Hammer is operated by SJSU.

A public opinion survey gave students insight on what issues need to be addressed in downtown San Jose.

“Homelessness, safety, and transportation were top concerns among San Jose residents,” said Corinne O. Takara of Okada Design, which conducted the survey. “Residents provided such thoughtful, forthcoming feedback and were so appreciative of being heard. I hope this information will help students build impactful prototypes that will address some of the residents’ concerns.” A short collection of audio survey results is available online.

The San Jose State University’s Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge and Festival is funded by the Knight Foundation and Intel, with sponsorship support from Microsoft Civic Engagement and The Tech Museum of Innovation.


About San Jose 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 more than 8,900 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 250,000 alumni, 65 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

 

U.S. News Rankings: SJSU Sixth Overall

(Photo: David Schmitz)

(Photo: David Schmitz)

(Photo: David Schmitz).

“Every day, our faculty, staff, and administrators do everything we can to create a valuable experience for our students.”—Ping Hsu, interim dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering (Photo: David Schmitz).

SJSU Media Relations contact:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – The 2017 edition of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings, available now online, ranks San Jose State University at sixth overall among the West’s top public universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Last year, SJSU was ranked eighth.

“I am delighted but not surprised to see San Jose State University rising in these rankings,” President Mary Papazian said. “SJSU offers students a top-quality education and unrivaled access to diverse cultural experiences and career opportunities in the heart of San Jose and Silicon Valley.”

Engineering

San Jose State’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering received high marks, ranking third in the nation among public engineering programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, excluding service academies. Last year, SJSU was ranked fourth.

“We are honored to be recognized by U.S. News and World Report in this manner,” said Ping Hsu, interim dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. “Every day, our faculty, staff, and administrators do everything we can to create a valuable experience for our students. We are very pleased to see their efforts again recognized by top rankings.”

Business

In addition, SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business was ranked third in the Bay Area among accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, the same as last year.

“We are honored that the Donald and Sally Lucas College and Graduate School of Business has yet again earned this ranking, underscoring our commitment to student success and to providing students with an education that prepares them to make significant contributions to Silicon Valley and beyond,” said Marlene Turner, interim dean of the College of Business.


About San Jose 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 more than 8,900 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 250,000 alumni, 65 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

President Releases Message on Gender Equity

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Sept. 6, 2016.

Dear Campus Community,

Our students’ success depends in large part on our determination to build and sustain a learning environment that is safe, affirming and non-discriminatory. We are just as obliged to provide a safe, equitable working environment for every faculty and staff member.

With these principles in mind–and in the wake of new reporting by the Mercury News of the sexual harassment of a student–I am writing to be sure we all are aware of our responsibilities and available resources. This is especially important in the early weeks of fall when, research tells us, students are at particular risk.

As I said during the fall welcome address, each of us has a role to play in supporting student success. That includes encouraging students to report inappropriate behavior to our Title IX office, and reminding faculty and staff members and administrators of their duty promptly to report potential violations, whether they occur on or off campus.

Prompt reporting is essential to supporting victims of inappropriate conduct and protecting others from similar behavior.

We already are benefiting from the leadership and experience of our new chief diversity officer, Kathy Wong(Lau), who brings particular expertise in equity and diversity training. We are committed to building our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which Kathy leads.

Meanwhile, programs for students, faculty and staff members are being expanded and enriched on multiple fronts. You’ll hear more about them in coming weeks.

The actions alleged and related issues enumerated in news coverage are troubling. We are looking into them, we will learn from them, and we will take appropriate systematic actions based on what we learn. And I’m confident that working collaboratively and creatively, we will be the welcoming, inclusive and supportive community to which we all aspire.

Mary Papazian
President

Oscar Award Winning Actress Rita Moreno to Speak at SJSU EOP Gala

Rita Moreno 2015 Austin Hargrave Photographer

Rita Moreno (photo by Austin Hargrave)

Media Contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rico native who defied ethnic stereotypes while earning all of America’s highest awards for entertainers, will be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at San Jose State University’s first-ever Educational Opportunity Program Gala.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Student Union Ballroom. Tickets start at $125 and are available now for purchase. Proceeds will support EOP students in many ways, including emergency food and housing, as well as study abroad experiences.

“Rita Moreno is an excellent student of life,” said Debra Griffith, SJSU Associate Vice President for Transition and Retention Services. “Ms. Moreno worked hard to achieve her dreams. She continues to grow and lead the way. We’re thrilled she accepted our offer to speak at the EOP Gala, and believe her life story will inspire the entire San Jose State University community.”

Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Emmy Recipient

Raised in New York and residing in Berkeley, Calif., Moreno has maintained a leading presence on American stage and screen since securing her first role as a dancer at the age of 11 in the early 1940s. She went on to excel as an actress, singer and dancer, turning in performances that riveted the nation.

Known today among younger Latino performers as “La Pionera,” she starred in two Academy Award winning films, “The King and I” and “West Side Story.” She received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the second film, which explores the rivalry between two street gangs. Yet she refused to succumb to stereotypes.

“The movie studios saw Moreno as only a Latina and pigeonholed her as an ‘ethnic,’” The Washington Post said. “At every stage, she has required fortitude, a fierce desire to create opportunities for herself and a willingness to take on just about anything.”

When a revolution in children’s programming produced “The Electric Company,” she joined the cast partly because she thought being on a show conveying a love of reading would help her daughter do the same. Viewers may recall her screaming the show’s opening line, “Hey you guys!”

Moreno received a Grammy for “The Electric Company Album,” a Tony for her performance in the groundbreaking Broadway musical “The Ritz,” and two Emmys for a guest appearance on “The Muppet Show” and the following year for a dramatic turn on “The Rockford Files.”

As cable emerged as a dramatic production powerhouse, Moreno accepted a role playing Sister Pete on the HBO prison series “Oz.” At the top of her industry through seven decades of change, Moreno has received our nation’s highest accolades: the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

EOP: Providing Opportunity

Founded in 1969, the Educational Opportunity Program at SJSU serves more than 2,000 students who are first in their families to attend college, including many from low-income and underserved communities. Recent initiatives include a five-week Summer Bridge program, which has helped push retention rates from the freshman to sophomore year, a critical predictor for college success, to over 95 percent.


About San Jose 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 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 31,200 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 more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

Francisco Jiménez to Receive Steinbeck Award

Fsco-head-shot-photo-2016-360x342

Francisco Jiménez (courtesy of Santa Clara University)

SJSU Media Relations Contact:
Pat Harris, pat.harris@sjsu.edu, 408-924-1748

SAN JOSE, CA – Educator, author, and advocate for social justice Francisco Jiménez will receive the John Steinbeck Award at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) on Wednesday, September 28, in the Student Union Theater at San Jose State University. A highlight of the university’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the event will feature a conversation between Jiménez and Chicano political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz.

Proceeds from the event benefit SJSU’s Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center. Camino Arts, a non-profit arts initiative, is a pro bono co-producer of this event. Tickets ($20 general, $10 student) are available at the Event Center Box Office (408-924-6333) or at ticketmaster.com.

Like the Joad family in Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, the Jiménez family came to California looking for a better life but found mostly hardship and struggle. Born in Mexico in 1943, Jiménez spent much of his childhood moving around California with no permanent home or regular schooling. Against incredible odds he went on to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor at his alma mater, Santa Clara University. His accolades include the CASE/Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year in 2002.

His critically-acclaimed books for young readers, including The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, have given voice to families like his and introduced a generation of American children to the plight of migrant laborers in our country.

More information is available on the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies’ website.

President Papazian Delivers First Formal Speech to SJSU Community

Media Contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – President Mary Papazian introduced herself to the SJSU community, reflected on the university’s legacy, and shared her optimism about its future at the Fall Welcome Address, held noon Aug. 25 in the Student Union Ballroom.

This was President Papazian’s first formal speech to the campus community since taking office July 1. Academic Senate Chair Michael Kimbarow opened the event and welcome attendees. The speech is an annual tradition marking the start of the academic year.

All students, faculty, staff, community members and the news media were invited to attend. The event was streamed live.

Read the president’s prepared remarks.


About San Jose 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 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 31,200 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 more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

Update: University Housing

SJSU Campus Village 2 window view, courtesy of University Housing Services

SJSU Campus Village 2 window view, courtesy of University Housing Services

This morning, the Office of the President emailed the following message on Campus Village 2 to all faculty, staff and students.

Dear Campus Community,

This weekend, thousands of Spartans will move into our residence halls. This includes 820 frosh assigned to be the first residents of Campus Village 2, our newest tower.

SJSU Campus Village 2 desk view, courtesy of University Housing Services

SJSU Campus Village 2 desk view, courtesy of University Housing Services

While this building was scheduled for completion this month, we have determined that it is not yet suitable for housing our students. Campus Village 2 residents will be housed temporarily in available spaces in other residence halls.

You can read more about this on the Housing Services website.

Sincerely,

Office of the President

Special Announcement: Track and Field

A special announcement will be made about the future of track and field at San Jose State at 11 a.m. Aug. 1 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture.

Speed City's legacy lives on August 1.

Speed City’s legacy lives on August 1.

Olympians Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Lee Evans, Ed Burke and John Powell are among the many Spartan luminaries from the Speed City era who plan to travel to campus for the event. SJSU President Mary Papazian, Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will participate in this announcement. All faculty, staff, students and members of the public are invited to attend.

SJSU’s men’s track and field program was once world renowned for the caliber of its athletes and for an uncommon dedication to the advancement of human rights. Unfortunately, the program was discontinued in spring 1988 amid a reallocation of university resources.

The special announcement will be streamed live on the university’s website.

President Releases Statement on Campus Safety

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on June 29, 2016.

All,

As you may know, a shooting occurred near the intersection of South 11th and East San Antonio streets yesterday, leaving one victim dead and another gravely wounded. This occurred one block east of campus and within the jurisdiction of the San Jose Police Department.

Although few details have been released by police investigators, it has been determined that the victims are not SJSU students, faculty or staff members. That said, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

I was deeply shaken by this news. The shooting occurred in a neighborhood where many students and other members of the SJSU community live or regularly walk. Our location—in the heart of Silicon Valley and in an increasingly vibrant downtown—is a significant asset. It provides our students with numerous professional and community service opportunities, as well as a rich residential and cultural life. We are working closely with the city of San Jose and other community partners to further enhance and enrich life in our city. If there is one certainty in all of this, it is that we all want a community with less crime and that is safe for everyone.

I would like to express particular concern for those most affected by yesterday’s events, including students living in nearby homes, apartments, sororities and fraternities, and I would like to thank these students for their patience while South 11th Street was closed to traffic as police secured the area during the early stages of their investigation.

As returning students and many others of you know, the Alert SJSU system sends messages about time-sensitive safety issues. New students are automatically registered for the service; if you are a staff or faculty member, I encourage you to register as well. All registered users can and should periodically update their information to ensure we have the appropriate contact data to connect with you for important safety alerts.

This system issued several alerts yesterday afternoon. While important, these updates can also be frightening. It is worth noting that, compared to other large cities, San Jose is among the nation’s safest urban communities.  We will continue to seek ways to further enhance your safety.

Our Student Affairs staff began outreach to affected students yesterday afternoon; those efforts continue today. Please keep in mind that counseling is available at no cost to students, faculty and staff members.

Sincerely,

Sue Martin, Interim President

SJSU Alumnus Harry Edwards Reflects on Muhammad Ali’s Legacy

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

The following statement should be attributed to pioneering sports sociologist and human rights leader Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology:

I first met Muhammad Ali just before my freshman year at San Jose State. Ali —
then Cassius Clay — was training for the 1960 Rome Olympics at San Jose State in the summer of that year. The boxing coach was Julie Menendez, who was the boxing coach at San Jose State as well. Both Julie and I were from East St. Louis, Ill., and he invited me over to meet some of the boxers — especially the younger ones (Ali was born in January of 1942; I in November of that same year).

Julie warned me that he couldn’t “stop Clay from talking,” and he was right. I thought at the time that “Clay” was “nuts.” Of course he wasn’t nuts, just brashly, wonderfully unique and iconoclastic, especially for a “Negro” athlete in those times. There was no way that I could’ve anticipated that our paths would intersect as they have over the years or the auspices under which that would happen.

It is only when a GIANT passes from among us, and we stand blinking and rubbing our eyes in the glaring reality of our loss, that we come truly to appreciate the extent to which we all have really been just living in his shadow. So it is with Muhammad Ali: He was an athlete of unparalleled brilliance, beauty, and bravado at a time when black athletes (other than the Harlem Globetrotters) were expected to be seen, not heard — silent, self-effacing “producers,” not loquacious, verbose entertaining performers in the arena.

In popular culture, he almost single-handedly deepened our understanding of  “religious freedom” as something more than an American “historical and political cliche.” He influenced people from the most powerful (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, for example) to the most naive college students and “draft vulnerable” youths in the community to rethink their positions on the issue of “war and peace.”

He was the model for generations of athletes on questions of the political relevance of sports and athletes’ activist potential and involvement in political causes, from the Olympic Project for Human Rights in 1968 to the threatened boycott by the University of Missouri black football players in support of University of Missouri students protesting racism on campus in 2015.

He taught us all by word and example that there can be no “for sale” sign, no “price tag” on principles, human dignity, and freedom, among so many of his other contributions. “THE GREATEST?” Compared to who? Compared to what, of his era or any other? “The Greatest” doesn’t begin to truly capture the magnitude and measure of his broad scope, contributions and legacy.

He stood astride the last four decades of the 20th Century like a statuesque athlete colossus, the most recognizable human face on Earth, one foot firmly planted in the sports arena, the other in the world beyond, eventually dwarfing us all in both spheres. His athletic brilliance long since faded, now his very physical presence among us will be missed, but his spirit of principled courage, commitment, and sacrifice will always be with us because it has so penetrated our visions of who we are as a people and impacted our standards of what we should and could become as a society.

It was a blessing and a profound privilege to have known him. WELL DONE, CHAMP, AND GODSPEED, MY BROTHER!

 

SJSU Celebrates 2016 Commencement

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University concluded the year with its largest graduating class ever and a commencement speaker who pulled no punches while telling SJSU’s newest alumni that the fate of the nation rests on their shoulders.

More than 9,000 students received degrees this year, including approximately 2,000 engineering majors, 1,000 business majors, and thousands more majors in the arts and sciences.

They will enter the working world or begin coursework toward advanced degrees as colleges and universities nationwide continue to address campus unrest over race relations, equity and safety.

Harry Edwards

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

There was perhaps no better time for alumnus Harry Edwards to return to serve as the commencement speaker on May 28 in Spartan Stadium. It was his first major address at SJSU since leaving campus in a cloud of controversy a half century ago.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Edwards came to California to attend college, arriving during the middle of the civil rights movement. He finished his degree, and then began a doctoral program at Cornell University while teaching at SJSU.

It was then that he became nationally known as the outspoken leader for the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which exposed the inequities experienced by black athletes representing the nation abroad while fettered by racism at home.

Edwards was a major influence on Tommie Smith and John Carlos, SJSU students and track and field stars who medaled at the 1968 Olympics. They leveraged their moment in the spotlight to take a stand for human rights, then were expelled from the Games and admonished by many, angered by the politicization of the international event.

Once known as a dangerous militant, this year’s commencement speaker is now recognized for his role in the civil rights movement.

“Harry Edwards is a renowned sociologist and author,” Interim President Susan Martin said, adding his contributions “represent the ideals of the California State University and San Jose State University.”

Tribute

Perhaps the most poignant moment of commencement came when Edwards rose to receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the California State University.

CSU Trustee Steven Stepanek bestowed the honor, assisted by John York, co-chair of the San Francisco 49ers. York and Edwards appeared together, a rare glimpse into the personal nature of the relationship between the professor and the team.

In addition to serving as a teacher, author and father, Edwards carves out time to work with the 49ers, something he began back when desegregation of professional sports was fresh and new.

His role has been to help coaches and players from very different backgrounds work and grow together. He was especially close to the late Bill Walsh, the 49ers coach and fellow SJSU alumnus who took the team to three Super Bowls in the 1980s.

A note from Walsh to Edwards is among the items in a new collection at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The video and prepared remarks from today’s speech are available online.

Speech

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Edwards opened with a bit of humor, vowing to keep the speech short: “That’s an exceedingly high bar to achieve — especially for a sociologist!”

His messages were simple: “keep the faith,” “do not be afraid,” “continue the struggle.”

But his thoughts were rooted in the complex academic theories he spent a lifetime studying, discussing and practicing, especially what it means to live in a participatory democracy.

“The difference between a mob and a movement,” he said, “is that a movement not only organizes and mobilizes around an issue — it gets people out to vote!”

In these ways, he addressed the question on everyone’s mind — what can today’s activists learn from those of yesteryear? — while encouraging youths to confront and prevail over the greatest challenges of our time.

“One day,” he concluded, “someone standing at this very podium, overlooking some future graduating class, may well feel compelled to the judgement that you, members of the 2016 San Jose State University graduating class, were part of our ‘greatest generation.’”

Tradition

Edwards’ deep voice thundered through Spartan Stadium, midway through a ceremony steeped in tradition. Top graduates were recognized, beloved professors honored, a moment of silence held in memory of classmates who passed away.

One tradition that takes on extra meaning at SJSU is the moment when the president invites all the graduates to stand and thank family and friends for their support over the years.

Given that more than half of the graduates are the first in their families to earn college degrees, this never fails to bring forth sustained applause from the graduates on the field, and tears from their loved ones in the stands.

Of course there comes a point at any commencement when the graduates can’t hold back any longer, and today was no different. Once again, exuberance erupted as degrees were conferred, tassels moved from left to right, and beach balls appeared.

Congratulations, class of 2016!

See and share photos and messages from commencement with #SJSU16 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 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 more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

SJSU Appoints CFO / Vice President of Administration and Finance

Charlie Faas

Charlie Faas

Charlie Faas has been appointed chief financial officer and vice president for administration and finance effective June 1. He will serve on the president’s cabinet and report directly to incoming President Mary Papazian.

A seasoned financial executive with three decades of progressive, diverse, private and public sector experience, Faas most recently served as CEO of the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano, a non-profit organization selected by the State Department to ensure a strong U.S. presence at the 2015 World’s Fair in Milan, Italy.

For ten years prior to that, Faas was executive vice president and CFO for Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the business enterprise of the National Hockey League’s San Jose franchise. He also served on the executive board of the team’s non-profit foundation. In these capacities, he interacted closely and productively with many local and regional partners, including the city of San Jose. In addition, he has held senior roles in financial management with numerous entities in Silicon Valley and New York, including IBM.

Read more. 

SJSU Breaks Ground on $10.2 Million Spartan Golf Complex

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it will break ground next week on the Spartan Golf Complex. The $10.2 million project will be the first-ever on-campus training facility for SJSU men’s and women’s golf. The entire project will be funded by private giving, including a $5 million lead gift commitment from entrepreneurs, financial industry executives and alumni Rich and Cindy Thawley.

“Revitalizing campus facilities— for academic, athletics and extracurricular activities—is a top priority for San Jose State,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “To make some of these projects possible, we must rely upon philanthropic support from donors such as Rich and Cindy Thawley. We are so thankful for the leadership of the Thawleys and everyone who is making the Spartan Golf Complex a reality for our student-athletes and our university community.”

The ground breaking will take place 11 a.m. May 13 at South Campus, near East Humboldt and South 10th streets. The complex will be located on acreage bordered by these two streets plus East Alma Avenue and Senter Road.

The groundbreaking will be celebrated by Interim President Susan Martin, incoming President Mary Papazian, Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier, donors Rich and Cindy Thawley, and members of the men’s and women’s golf teams and their coaches. This event is free and open to the university community, the public and the media.

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Project

“The Spartan Golf Complex will provide the campus, our community and San Jose State’s teams with a world-class practice facility,” Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier said. “The complex will help our student-athletes prepare for competition at the very highest level while supporting our efforts to recruit the best and brightest. In addition, the facility will serve students enrolled in physical education courses and strengthen our ties with alumni and neighbors through memberships and learning opportunities.”

The complex will span from East Humboldt Street in the north to East Alma Avenue in the south. Two grass tee areas will provide hitting positions for 80 golfers. In addition, the complex will offer two large tour-quality putting greens, three bunkers, and two chipping greens. Three target greens will be positioned in a 400-yard-long driving range for distance hitting practice.  This work is slated for completion in December 2016.

Phase 2 will include a clubhouse with a fitness center, locker room and coaches’ offices. SJSU has selected two San Jose-based companies, Blach Construction and Gensler, to serve as general contractor and architect, respectively.

The baseball, softball, soccer and tennis facilities will be moved to other South Campus locations.

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Donors

Rich and Cindy Thawley consider themselves, first and foremost, family people. College sweethearts, they have been married since 1979. They first met at SJSU at Cindy’s sorority house when Rich was running a successful campaign for the student body presidency. Rich also worked in San Jose State Athletics as an associate athletics director. Rich and Cindy attribute a lot of their early personal development to their experiences at SJSU and are proud alumni. Shortly after their marriage, Rich and Cindy left San Jose State to pursue a career in financial services.

“We are honored and excited to support San Jose State, our alma mater and the university serving the region we call home,” Rich and Cindy Thawley said in a joint statement. “We believe the Spartan Golf Complex will help change the feeling around the university’s South Campus, both elevating the look and feel, and exposing a different part of the community to the Spartans. This facility will be able to impact the school and greater community through youth camps, fundraising efforts and, of course, the men’s and women’s golf teams for years to come.”

Today, the Thawley family consists of two sons, a daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. Rich and Cindy believe that their greatest accomplishments have been within the walls of their home. They are passionate about their business and industry, but their life’s work is truly about being people of faith and being parents and grandparents.

The Thawleys feel strongly about giving back to the community and those organizations that have touched their lives and continue to reach out and strengthen others’ lives. They routinely teach that “no family financial plan is complete without a determination to share your blessings with others.”

Rich and Cindy started their extended career in the life insurance and securities business in 1980. They quickly excelled in leadership development and as agency builders. In their early career, they helped to develop a company that is known today as Primerica Financial Services. In 1991, they left Primerica and founded a company that is known today as World Financial Group. For more than 30 years, they have been directly or indirectly responsible for introducing and transitioning tens of thousands of people from all walks of life into the financial services industry. The organizations they founded have generated billions of dollars of life premium, annuity deposits, and other investments.

The Thawleys also sit on several consulting and advisory boards with other companies, foundations and universities.

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

San Jose State Golf

San Jose State’s impact on the game of golf is defined by world-renowned Hall of Fame players; valued teaching pros and club professionals around the country; Hall of Fame coaches; and the television voices and leaders of the game.

Since college golf first became a NCAA sport in 1897, and with the addition of women’s golf to the NCAA’s championship calendar starting in 1982, the Spartans are one of only nine programs to claim a NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and Division I Women’s Golf Championship. San Jose State won the 1948 men’s championship and became the first school to win three women’s championships with victories in 1987, 1989 and 1992.

The Spartans are one of 11 schools with a NCAA individual men’s champion and women’s champion. Bob Harris finished first in 1948 and Terry Small did the same at the 1964 NCAA Men’s Championships. In 1989, Pat Hurst led from start to finish capturing the NCAA Women’s Championship.

San Jose State, Arizona State, Florida, Georgia and Purdue are the five schools with men’s and women’s NCAA Division I team championships and NCAA Division I men’s and women’s individual champions. Overall, San Jose State has 29 top-10 team finishes and 32 top-10 individual placings at a NCAA Division I Men’s or Women’s Golf Championship.

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

Professionally, San Jose State alumni have 131 victories on the PGA, LPGA, Champions, Nationwide and PGA Tour Canada tours. Spartan golfers can claim 23 major and United States Golf Association (USGA) championships through 2015. Ken Venturi, Juli Inkster and Patty Sheehan have major championship victories as part of their World Golf Hall of Fame careers. Mark Hubbard, ’11 Business Management, is the latest Spartan to join the PGA Tour.

Venturi would become one of America’s voices of golf as CBS’s lead TV analyst for 35 years after he retired from the game. Today, Spartan alumni Roger Maltbie, Arron Oberholser, Mark Lye and Inkster offer their expertise to NBC, Fox Sports and Golf Channel shows.

San Jose State’s great coaches include Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Famers Mark Gale, who led the women’s team to three NCAA Championships, and Jerry Vroom whose men’s program appeared in 22 consecutive NCAA Championships.

Lyn Nelson was the chief executive officer of the Northern California Golf Association from 2008 to 2013. She served 150,000 members, managed operations for 400 golf courses and catered to 8,500 children who played the game. And, San Jose State legend Peter Ueberroth is one of the co-owners of the Pebble Beach Company – home of the one of the world’s best-known shrines of the game.

About San Jose 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 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 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 more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

 

Provost Releases Student Success Plan

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on May 5, 2016.

Dear Campus Community,

For the past year, we have collaborated and gathered information from faculty, staff, students and other experts, to develop a data-driven campus-wide student success strategy with one goal: to significantly increase our retention and graduation rates for all students while improving the quality of their educational experience. Our 57 percent six-year and 10 percent four-year graduation rates, and a double digit underrepresented minority student graduation rate gap are not acceptable. We owe it to our students, their families, taxpayers, employers and our community to improve.

We have developed a plan to accomplish this. We encourage you to review “SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success: College Readiness, Advising, Student Engagement and Clearing Bottlenecks,” which highlights our process in developing the plan and details of each pillar.

Public universities across the nation are striving to improve graduation rates, and provide an educated workforce. It’s a huge challenge, and now, SJSU is on the road to a meaningful solution on our campus. We look forward to working with you to enhance the success of every SJSU student.

Sincerely,

Andy Feinstein, Provost, and Reggie Blaylock, Vice President for Student Affairs

SJSU Names 2016 Outstanding Thesis

Amanda Feldman

Amanda Feldman

Amanda Feldman is the 2016 Outstanding Thesis Award recipient, in recognition of the quality of her research. She will be recognized at Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 28 in Spartan Stadium.

Feldman’s interest in sharp force trauma research was spurred by “the magnitude of the domestic violence problem in America” and the prevalence of knife attacks in these cases.

Learning that domestic disputes accounted for the majority of knife-related homicides, Feldman’s study included research about the motives and mindsets of perpetrators, which she hopes “will contribute to the improvement of validation standards in forensic studies.”

While researching her award-winning thesis, “From Trauma to Trial: Proposing New Methods for Examining the Variability of Sharp Force Trauma on Bone,” Feldman says she “became passionate about collaborating with students.”

Having graduated with a master’s in applied anthropology in December, She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and become a professor.

SJSU Names 2016 Outstanding Seniors

Erin Enguero and Anna Santana are the recipients of SJSU’s 2016 Outstanding Graduating Senior Awards  in recognition of their scholarship and contributions to the community. Both will be recognized at Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 28 in Spartan Stadium.

Erin Enguero

Erin Enguero

Erin Enguero (photo by Inderpal Kaur)

Since age 11, having a hearing loss has influenced how Enguero identifies herself academically and socially. She has evolved from a self-described “cautious pre-teen to an ambitious young woman striving for excellence” in her educational and community endeavors.

Carrying a 3.796 GPA, she has earned numerous scholarships and has been recognized as a CSU Trustee Award winner, SJSU Salzburg Scholar and 2016 American Kinesiology Association Undergraduate Scholar.

While Enguero’s hearing loss has taught her to adapt using her existing strengths, she says she is proud “not just for overcoming my disability, but for finding the courage to explore my identities as a student, leader and, ultimately, an agent of change.”

Enguero graduates in May with a bachelor’s in kinesiology. In fall 2016, she plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy at California State University, Fresno.

Anna Santana

Anna Santana with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta (photo courtesy of Anna Santana)

Anna Santana with civil rights activist Dolores Huerta (courtesy of Anna Santana)

At age six, Santana transferred schools three times in less than a year in search of a bilingual teacher. This daughter of former farmworkers says this was just part of the struggles that “have shaped my dreams and aspirations.”

Today, Santana advocates for the education of migrant families through the Apoyo Campesino project, which seeks to change a state regulation that forces students to move to a different school after each growing season ends.

In addition, Santana is the founder of the College Awareness Network, which has been integral in bringing students from marginalized schools to university campuses to promote a college-going culture.

A double major in sociology and Spanish, Santana will receive her bachelor’s degree in May. As a McNair Scholar, she maintains a 3.9 GPA and has been accepted to Stanford University for graduate school.

 

Spartan Daily Digitizes 82 Years of Print Editions

Media contact:
Sarah Lopes, DB&H Communications Agency representative
916-217-7441, sarah.lopes@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – The Spartan Daily, San Jose State University’s student newspaper, is celebrating the digitization and online presence of more than 80 years of hyper-local news.

The SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications will be having a public launch event on May 2, 2016, from 10:30-11:45 a.m, at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in room 225.

For the past year, JMC, in partnership with King Library, has been working to digitize and upload searchable PDF issues of the newspaper dating all the way back to April 1934.

A plethora of historical events, arts and entertainment, opinions and sports has been resurrected and can be found online with just the click of a mouse. More than 77,000 pages of the school newspaper are available to the public.

The project received funding from Jack and Emma Anderson, who profited from typesetting and printing the Spartan Daily over the years. Former King Library Associate Dean Mary Nino partnered library resources with the journalism department to help manage costs and add this archive to the ScholarWorks digital collection.

Tim Mitchell, SJSU journalism lecturer and design adviser, has overseen the project and is enthusiastic about what this means for the university and the public.

”In the process of brightening old, faded ink, we are opening the historical vault to many perspectives of change through the eyes of student journalists: cultural shifts in campus life for students, faculty and staff; [transitions in] metal typesetting, design and printing in the digital era; student-targeted advertising; and Vietnam War protests, to name a few [items of interest]. This is a record of the local area transitioning from farmland to Silicon Valley. We are sharing to the world big time,” Mitchell said.

About the Spartan Daily

The Spartan Daily is the student newspaper, currently distributed three days a week on the San Jose State campus and in the surrounding community. The newspaper covers news, sports, arts and entertainment, tech and opinion relating to the campus and its students. The first issue with the Spartan Daily title was published April 9, 1934. Alumni include six Pulitzer Prize winners, including four winners since 2000.