Malala at SJSU

With great eloquence, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai shared her life story with thousands of audience members young and old at the SJSU Event Center the evening June 26.

After introductory remarks by President Mohammad Qayoumi and novelist Khaled Hosseini, Yousafzai spoke without the benefit of notes or a podium, appealing directly to the crowd, before taking a seat beside Hosseini for a question-and-answer session.

The president noted he and Hosseini are both from Afghanistan, which has a shared history with Yousafzai’s native Pakistan. An avid reader, Yousafzai counts Hosseini among her favorite authors for his realistic depictions of war.

In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in an attempt by the Taliban to silence her. Just 15 years old at the time, she was already an outspoken proponent for girls’ education in her country and throughout the world, a role she resumed after recovering.

Today, Yousafzai and her family live in Birmingham, England. Her San Jose visit came amid a series of U.S. speaking engagements and events including a 70th anniversary celebration for the United Nations in San Francisco.

Engineering Hall of Fame Inducts Qayoumi

The buzz was all about energy—human energy, that is—at the Silicon Valley Engineering Council‘s 2015 Engineers Week Banquet on Feb. 19 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose.

“I believe that learning and imagination are the most potent forms of energy in the universe,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi in prepared remarks following his induction into the council’s Hall of Fame.

Clearly, engineering council members felt the same, devoting much of the event to mentoring the next generation of engineering talent.

Scholarship recipients

Scholarship recipients included three San Jose State students: Jose Alvarez, Biomedical Engineering; Linh Do, ’16 Chemical Engineering; and Giovanni Zecchini, ’16 Mechanical Engineering.

The council is an umbrella organization for engineering societies in the valley. Goals include promoting the career development of engineers and technical professionals.

Among the council’s founders was the late Jay Pinson, an SJSU engineering professor and dean widely recognized for corralling support for the first engineering college fundraising campaign in the 1970s.


SJSU continues to engender that sense of community beyond campus. Among the event’s attendees was San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White and Tower Foundation Board Chair Amir Mashkoori.

Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, congratulated Qayoumi with a video message. They were once college roommates. Campus community members in attendance included President Qayoumi’s wife, an excellent example of the power of human energy.

“I am grateful to the love of my life and wife of 36 years, Najia, who has supported my academic and related public policy pursuits while carving out her own niche as an accomplished clinical dietitian and Persian poet,” the president said.


H&A Showcase

It’s the caliber of the students and faculty members that draws crowds to the College of Humanities and the Arts Showcase. Visitors learn about the college by experiencing everything from students performing the lead roles from the musical “West Side Story” to the opportunity to view the exquisite details of costumes and lighting designed for SJSU stage performances to the option of inviting an English student to compose a poem on the spot on the topic of the visitor’s choice. This year’s event, held in the Student Union ballroom the afternoon of Oct. 10, featured all of the colleges departments and many of its majors including Music and Dance; Art and Art History; Design; English and Comparative Literature; Humanities; Linguistics and Language Development; Philosophy; Radio, Film and TV; Theatre Arts; and World Languages and Literature.


U.S. News Rankings: SJSU Eighth Overall

Students shop for books in the newly renovated Student Union (Stan Olszewski photo).

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

SAN JOSE, Calif., — The 2015 edition of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings, available now online, shows San Jose State University at eighth overall among the West’s top public universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, keeping SJSU in the region’s top 10.

“San Jose State has firmly established its reputation as a leading institution of higher learning in the West,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “SJSU offers more than 130 degree programs and 400 student organizations, providing a wide range of opportunities including hands-on learning in a global setting provided by our Silicon Valley location.”

San Jose State’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering received top marks, ranking third in the nation among public engineering programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, excluding service academies. In addition, SJSU’s computer engineering program was ranked first in the nation among public engineering programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“The Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering has earned its reputation for being among the best in the nation by providing our students with outstanding opportunities for hands-on learning directly addressing 21st century challenges here in Silicon Valley,” Dean Andrew Hsu said.

Read more from U.S. News & World Report.

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.

Cyber Camp 2014

The 2014 U.S. Cyber Challenge Western Regional Cyber Camp took place Aug. 11-15 at San Jose State. The camp included a cybersecurity roundtable discussion featuring national experts from technology, government and academia and a virtual “Capture the Flag” competition and awards ceremony. In addition, the week-long camp program offered in-depth workshops on a range of topics such as reverse engineering malware, writing exploits, tactical attacks and penetration testing, all taught by academics, SANS Institute senior instructors and other cybersecurity experts. More than 70 camp participants attended the invitation-only camp, based in part on their scores from Cyber Quests, an online competition offered through the USCC in April that drew more than 1,600 participants from almost 700 schools nationwide.


President’s Update: An Independent Review of the Facts

President Qayoumi names Judge LaDoris H. Cordell to lead a task force that will review all the facts and propose recommendations for nurturing a safe, welcoming, tolerant community. (Photo: Christina Olivas)

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,
I’m touching base to share additional information about the efforts to move the campus forward toward healing and recovery from the alleged race-related incident that occurred this fall in one of our residence halls.

Last week, I promised to initiate an independent review of the facts.  I’m pleased to report that Judge LaDoris H. Cordell (retired) has agreed to lead a special task force that will have two goals:

  1. Review all of the facts.
  2. Propose recommendations for ensuring that San Jose State is a safe, welcoming, tolerant community.

Judge Cordell served the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, for 19 years before becoming the independent police auditor for the City of San Jose in 2010. Throughout her career, Judge Cordell has sought to give a voice to the unheard. I am grateful that she is willing and available to serve in this critical role.

The work of the special task force will be informed by an independent fact-finding effort. Myron “Mike” D. Moye, a partner at law firm Hanson Bridgett LLP, has been retained to conduct the fact-finding effort and produce a report that will be presented to the special task force. Moye has extensive experience in cases involving harassment, discrimination, ethics and regulatory compliance.

The fact finding will begin immediately and seeks to:

  1. Determine, to the extent possible, what happened, when it happened, and who the alleged perpetrators are.
  2. Determine when and how the campus knew of the alleged incident, or should have known of it.
  3. Determine how and when the campus administration responded to the alleged incident.
  4. Determine whether the campus or any of its employees violated any existing campus or systemwide policies in responding to the alleged incident.  Determine the extent to which such policies, procedures and practices were followed.

Moye has been asked to produce his report by January 31, 2014. The special task force will receive the report and begin its work in February, and issue a final public report by April 30. Task force members will include a diverse mixture of SJSU students, faculty and staff members and alumni; subject-matter experts within the California State University; and community members.  Its membership will be finalized by January 15.

Let me also update you on two related matters.

As many of you know, San Jose State has undertaken previous efforts to make diversity an intentional, holistic element of our teaching and learning mission. In spring 2013, we solicited nominations for a Commission on Diversity. Its members were appointed in August 2013 and the group met for the first time this fall. The commission will meet again this month and will have the opportunity to consider the recommendations of the special task force in its work going forward.

In an earlier message to you, I outlined plans for a forum on racial intolerance to be held on campus in the first two weeks of December. After consultation with student groups, we are postponing this event to early next year in order to maximize participation. We need students to play a prominent role in planning the gathering, and there is insufficient time to do this now as they are preparing for final exams.

I appreciate the many ways our community has responded in the last two weeks.  Much work lies ahead.  A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established. Please continue to reach out to me, and to one another.

Mohammad Qayoumi


President’s Update: Holding Ourselves Accountable

University Housing Campus Village

“We will re-examine our diversity programs and safety measures within campus housing and throughout the university.” —President Qayoumi (Photo: Christina Olivas)

President Qayoumi emailed the following statement to all faculty, staff and students regarding alleged hate crimes in SJSU’s student housing complex. A website summarizing all relevant reports, updates and messages has been established.

Dear Spartans,

When I expressed outrage last Thursday at the race-based abuse and mistreatment of an African-American SJSU freshman by several suite mates, I did not clearly express our accountability for what he endured.

By failing to recognize the meaning of a Confederate flag, intervene earlier to stop the abuse, or impose sanctions as soon as the gravity of the behavior became clear, we failed him. I failed him.

How such abuse could have gone unchecked or undetected for weeks is being methodically untangled, as it must. An independent expert will soon be named to lead a task force that will examine the facts, our policies and practices, and propose reforms.

Some anger is being directed toward residence hall advisers (RAs) for failing to recognize or act on warning signs of abuse. It is our job as professional educators to help them recognize these signs. Their failures are our failures. We must do a better job of training them, and we will.

If our housing and student disciplinary policies and processes are inadequate or not followed, it is up to us as administrators to ensure that they work, or fix them.

Now, let me update you on specifically what we have done and are doing:

  • Sunday night, SJSU faculty leaders and administrators, including housing staff, met with students in the Dining Commons. I heard plenty of pain, anger and confusion, questions about our commitment to diversity, and pleas to be included in future decisions.
  • As I shared on Friday, the San Jose/Silicon Valley chapter of the NAACP will be on campus at noon today in front of the Smith/Carlos sculpture to express dissatisfaction with pending criminal charges and ask for a full examination of this incident.

I will participate in this event, and encourage you to attend if you can. The abusive conduct that occurred in this case should be punished, to the fullest extent that the law allows.

  • We will continue listening. More sessions with students are in the works and an open campus forum will take place during the first two weeks of December.
  • Additional training for RAs is being planned. Details will follow soon.
  • We have begun reaching out to candidates to serve on the external task force. If you have suggestions, please send them to

Mohammad Qayoumi

Spartans Best Dance Crew

Entertainment and service go hand-in-hand for Delta Sigma Phi fraternity members, who organized this unique competition showcasing local talent in order to raise over $4,500 for Smile Train. Preparations began months ago. The event was held Nov. 1 in Morris Dailey Auditorium. Read more on the results and this year’s first place team, Attack of Piepan.

A Homecoming to Remember

From the Cookie Kickoff to the final seconds of the game, Homecoming 2013 was outstanding.

The festivities began Monday morning with free gold and blue cookies for everyone. The middle of the week brought circus performers, the Campus MovieFest grand finale and Fire on the Fountain, where the Homecoming king and queen were named.

Seniors Daniel Harris-Lucas and Diana Busaka were selected based on their achievements. But the honor took on special significance this year, believed to be the first time in SJSU history that the king and queen are both African American.

On Friday, San Jose State took over San Pedro Square. The revelry continued Saturday, when Golden Grads from the Classes of 1962, 1963 and 1964 joined current students at tailgate parties before the game.

More than 16,120 fans packed Spartan Stadium. Spartans delivered a nail biter, beating Wyoming in the last few seconds of the game. Fireworks filled the night sky, but the celebration did not end there.

Spartans awoke Monday to learn quarterback David Fales, who threw for a career-high 482 yards and five touchdowns, had been named National Performer of the Week. The former Wyoming walk-on was quick to deflect the attention.

“We’ve got a lot of guys making plays,” he told the San Jose Mercury News.

The excitement continues Saturday, when Spartan Football travels to UNLV, followed by the men’s basketball season opener 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the SJSU Event Center.

Have you seen the new floor? This is Sparta!

SJSU Basketball Court

This is Sparta! (SB Nation Photo)



Elevating Spartan Talent

How talented are Spartans? See for yourself. The 2013 College of Humanities and the Arts Student Showcase Oct. 25 at the Student Union featured work from more than 40 academic programs. Students presented songs (including original creations); dances, theatrical scenes, and musical theatre; improvisational poetry; paintings, drawings, and photography; music (jazz, opera and percussion); graphic, interior and industrial design; films, videos and animation; and readings (poetry and excerpts from novels). The event even spilled outdoors, where glass blowers demonstrated their fiery art.

Legacy of Poetry Day

“Submit your poem’s desired elements and characteristics to the Lit Factory, and see what interesting poem comes out,” said an invite to Legacy of Poetry Day April 18 on Caret Plaza, outside the campus entrance for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. While published poets, students, faculty and alumni offered readings, student members of the Poets and Writers Coalition tapped away on old-fashioned typewriters, improvising pocket-sized poems upon request. Professors Alan Soldofsky and Annette Nellen organized the event, sponsored by the Poets and Writers Coalition, with co-sponsorship support from the Campus Reading Program, King Library, the Middle Eastern Studies Program, the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English and Comparative Literature, Associated Students, and Poetry Center San Jose.


Yosh Uchida medallion

SJSU Honors Judo Legend

Yosh Uchida

President Qayoumi surprises judo legend Yoshihiro Uchida with a medallion commemorating his 65 years of service to SJSU, with friend Jan Masuda Cougill and Provost Ellen Junn (Robert Bain photo).

SJSU’s Faculty Service and Recognition Awards Luncheon is always a moving event. The recipients of SJSU’s top four annual faculty honors speak, and many more lecturers and professors offer remarks after being recognized for 15 to 40 years of service. Their collective affirmations of San Jose State’s role as a teaching college are heartfelt, often eliciting shouts of joy and the occasional tear. For example, no one will forget Distinguished Service Award Recipient Brad Stone’s shout out to his wife for all her support.

Created at the SJSU Foundry, the medallion combines the SJSU and Olympic logos with the Japanese characters for judo (photo by Robert Bain).

But perhaps this year’s greatest moment came when everyone turned their attention to a very special guest who was too shy to take the stage. Yoshihiro Uchida — local boy, World War II veteran, alumnus, part-time instructor and the driving force behind judo’s rise to an Olympic sport — was honored for an astounding 65 years of service. This is a record not just for San Jose State but perhaps the entire California State University system, said President Qayoumi.

After the crowd watched a video summarizing Uchida’s career at SJSU, Qayoumi stepped off the stage to surprise Uchida, seated with family and friends, with a medallion custom-designed and poured at the SJSU Foundry. The piece pulls together his achievements, and complements the many Olympic medals won by his students over the years, including 2012 Olympian Marti Malloy.

As fit as ever but still unwilling to take the podium, Uchida asked Provost Ellen Junn to read his remarks:

 “Though I have seen many changes in my 65 years, from crewcuts to tattoos, I think the biggest change was the closing of San Carlos Street in the 1980s and the building of additional dorms. It beautified SJSU, unified the students and one had a unique sense of community that changed us from a commuter college into a university. Over the years, we have established ourselves as a top tier facility within the CSU system and have created a campus that is highly sought after, embraces diversity and graduates students that achieve their goals.”

Among the campus improvements underway right now is the $54.7 million renovation of Spartan Complex East and Yoshihiro Uchida Hall (known as Spartan Complex West until the building was named in his honor in 1997). Plans include a new home for Uchida’s judo program, positioning SJSU to dominate national and international competitions for many years to come.

Like everything Uchida has touched during his years as SJSU, the making of the medallion reflects a deep sense of community building and pride.

“The medallion represents four distinctly different categories of students and employees of SJSU, but embodies the teamwork, effort, and honor that all Spartans have for San Jose State University and the deep respect for the 65 years of service that we have received from Professor Yoshihiro Uchida,” said Ryan Carrington, spatial art faculty member.

Here’s more on the medallion, as told by Carrington.

“The Yoshihiro Uchida 65 Years of Service Medallion was the result of the culmination of the efforts of four San Jose State University Spartans. After a design meeting of the four members of the group, Wilson Chao, ’13 BFA-Spatial Art, was in charge of making the digital version and using the laser cutter on campus to cut the medallion out of acrylic.

“From there the medallion was passed onto Ryan Carrington, Spatial Art Faculty, ’11 MFA-Spatial Art, to create a mold for casting wax. SJSU Foundry Technician Steve Davis, ’11 MFA-Spatial Art, used the mold for making both versions of the medallion in wax.  He and Yvonne Escalante, ’13 MFA-Spatial Art, encased them in plaster to begin the lost-wax process of metal casting.

“After the wax was evacuated from the mold, bronze was poured into the negative space. When cool, the metal was cleaned up, chased, and patina was applied. Yvonne was then charged with fabricating a jump ring and ribbon to finish this collaborative project.

SJSU Expands edX Collaboration

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom joined SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi and edX President Anant Agarwal at a news conference on April 10 at King Library announcing a major expansion to the collaboration between SJSU and edX, the not-for-profit online learning enterprise founded by Harvard and MIT. SJSU and edX will establish a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning at SJSU, grow to serve up to 11 more California State University campuses, and add up to five more edX courses. The event featured a panel discussion with SJSU Lecturer Khosrow Ghadiri, student Sara Compton, Newsom, Qayoumi and Agarwal. Professor of Electrical Engineering Ping Hsu served as moderator.

“It’s not the tyranny of OR. It’s the genius of AND,” Newsom said, comparing conventional classes with the “flipped” approach developed by SJSU and edX.

The SJSU-edX collaboration began in fall 2012, when Ghadiri assigned the MITx 6.002x Circuits and Electronics online materials as homework for his EE98 Introduction to Circuits Analysis course.

“When I’m studying for a midterm and there’s one thing I don’t quite understand, I can’t go back to that lecture in a traditional class, but with this class, I can go back and play it again,” Compton said, explaining how she benefits from viewing MITx lecture sequences online.

Classtime was devoted to discussion and group work. Early indicators have been remarkably positive. View the news conference video.

Faculty and Staff Get Inspired

SJSU faculty and staff members gathered at several recent kickoff events to launch the second annual Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign. This annual campaign is an opportunity for faculty and staff members to celebrate the things that inspire them at San Jose State by making a gift to a department or program of their choosing. Spartan pride was in full swing — blue and gold pennants waving and balloons blowing — as those who attended the events shared what inspires them about students, colleagues and the campus community here at SJSU.

As the campaign progresses, faculty and staff are making contributions to a variety of departments, funds and campus organizations, including chemistry, the Support Our Staff Scholarship, the Student Emergency Fund, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisesexual and Transgender Resource Center, and the Center for Community Learning and Leadership.

“The students continue to inspire me as a staff member,” said Joy Njema Vickers from Student Outreach and Recruitment. “So giving back, as was once done for me, is my contribution to continuing the legacy.”

The annual faculty and staff campaign continues through April 19.

Spartapalooza Wellness Festival

What would it take to get you to take better care of yourself? Would people in veggie costumes help? Or how about someone in a giant red party cup? Sound like fun? Then we hope you made it down to this year’s Spartapalooza Wellness Festival March 14 in the Student Union Barrett Ballroom. In case you missed it, check out our slideshow. You’ll see students, faculty and staff running interactive booths, offering giveaways and a whole lot more. Offices from across campus put on Spartapalooza, coordinated by Wellness & Health Promotion, part of the Student Health Center.

Students Learn #ItCanWait

Did you know…

  • taking your eyes off the interstate to read a text is like driving blind for the length of a football field?
  • driving while texting is like piloting a 3,000-pound metal missile with your eyes closed?
  • more than 100,000 crashes annually involve drivers who are texting?
  • drivers who text are almost 25 times more likely to crash?

Speakers shared these facts and more at a “Txtng & Drivng… It Can Wait” news conference Jan. 25 in the SJSU Event Center. Vice President for Student Affairs William Nance opened the event by recalling his response when AT&T offered to help: “I said, ‘Absolutely, we’ll figure out how and when to do it.’” AT&T Regional Vice President for External Affairs Marc Blakeman announced an Apple version of DriveMode is in the works. This Android and Blackberry app sends auto-replies to people who text, email and call while you’re on the road so you can keep your hands on the wheel. University Police Department Chief of Police Peter Decena, San Jose Police Department Commander of Traffic Enforcement Jason Ta and SJPD Officer Jim Hagen (all SJSU alumni!) noted police will hold 23 texting and driving enforcement events this year.  Associated Students of SJSU President Calvin Worsnup was the first of many to take a spin on AT&T’s texting and driving simulator, which looks alot like an arcade driving game equipped with a cell phone for texting. Some students were super cautious, both most crashed within minutes. KGO Bay Area News, the San Jose Mercury News, Spartan Daily and Update News covered the event to help spread the word. To learn more, check out the “Txtng & Drivng… It Can Wait” website, where you can watch videos and take the pledge “to never txt and drive.”

Governor Helps Launch SJSU Plus

Top elected and higher education officials joined Silicon Valley’s leading entrepreneurs at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library on Jan. 15 for the advent of a groundbreaking partnership aimed at bridging public higher education with a promising Silicon Valley startup.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. spoke at the event about the long-term potential for San Jose State Plus before SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi and Udacity Inc. CEO and Co-Founder Sebastian Thrun signed the official agreement.

In his first public appearance at SJSU, recently appointed California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White provided a systemwide perspective on the announcement and online education. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Marc Andreessen attended to lend his support.

SJSU community members joined the media and officials to participate in a rigorous question and answer session including Brown, Qayoumi, Thrun, White and SJSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn.

Read the full news release about today’s announcement. View a recording of the news conference and join the conversation about #SJSUPlus on Twitter.




BFA Graphic Design Exhibition

This week marks a pivotal moment for 22 students graduating this fall from SJSU’s bachelor of fine arts in graphic design program. Their senior design show opened Dec. 7 at Works/San Jose, and will remain on display through Dec. 14. Their goal? To show how “graphic design is an experience that seeks to influence audiences through visual communication. It accomplishes this by utilizing the creative process to fuse form and content.” Students and faculty members are also inviting employers that need graphic design talent to meet these soon-to-be-alumni at professional nights 6-9 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13. Read more about MAKESHIFT.