Larry and Elaine Sparling Give $500,000 to the Spartan Athletics Center

Media contacts
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics media relations director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, SJSU media relations specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $500,000 gift commitment from Larry and Elaine Sparling. The gift will support the Spartan Athletics Center, the future home of San Jose State football and men’s and women’s soccer.

“Larry and Elaine Sparling believe in the direction of this Athletics program and understand the importance of the Spartan Athletics Center,” said Marie Tuite, San Jose State’s director of intercollegiate athletics. “I spend quite a bit of time with this wonderful couple and I can tell you they support the efforts of our coaches and student-athletes. They are so positive and encouraging when it comes to the important work our coaches are doing. They are terrific Spartans and we are so thankful and appreciative of their generous gift.”

The Spartan Athletics Center will include new locker rooms, an auditorium, coaches’ offices, position-specific classrooms, stadium game day suites and a state-of-the-art athletic training room that will be accessible to all student-athletes.

About the Sparlings

Elaine and Larry Sparling.

Elaine and Larry Sparling. Photo by David Schmitz.

Though the Sparlings did not graduate from San Jose State, they are longtime supporters of Spartan football. Over the years, they have driven their RV all over the U.S. to watch the football team compete. The Sparlings are leadership donors to the Spartan Athletics Fund and attend many Spartan sporting events. They believe that by supporting San Jose State, they are investing in their community and helping their neighbors and friends succeed.

“I love the fact that at San Jose State we can be so connected to everybody, from the coaching staff to the athletic director and the university president,” said Larry. “We know how crucial the Spartan Athletics Center is for all the athletes at San Jose State. I like donating to student-athletes because we can tell how much it means to them to play their sport and get a degree from a great college.”

In 1966, the Sparling family took over Tiny Tots, a cotton diaper home pick-up and delivery service based in Campbell. At that time, they had only 80 customers, two Kenmore washer-dryers and a delivery vehicle. The couple helped grow the business before Larry’s sister and brother-in-law took the reins. Over the past 50 years, Tiny Tots has laundered more than 680 million diapers. Tiny Tots has offered free Diapering 101 classes to members of the community since 1980, as well as monthly support groups, workshops and CPR trainings. Larry went on to found Healthcare Laundry Services.

“This gift from Larry and Elaine Sparling is a tremendous support to the university and our athletics program,” said Interim Vice President of University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation Peter Smits. “By investing in the Spartan Athletics Center, they are establishing a legacy that will help countless generations of Spartan student-athletes. We thank them for their contribution to San Jose State.”

“The Sparlings have always been very dedicated supporters of SJSU Athletics,” said SJSU Football Head Coach Brent Brennan. “This gift will make a huge difference to our football program, as well as Spartan soccer and all of athletics. Thank you, Larry and Elaine!”

To learn how you can support Spartan Athletics, please contact Joshua Thiel, deputy athletics director for advancement, at 408-924-1697 or joshua.thiel@sjsu.edu.


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 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State 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 proud of the accomplishments of its more than 270,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State sponsors 22 (nine men’s and 13 women’s) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually. In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the NCAA’s highest level of competition.

The Spartans’ primary conference affiliation is with the Mountain West. Selected teams belong to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Golden Coast Conference (GCC).

San Jose State has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. Sixty-two Spartans have competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

Annually, about one-third of the student-athlete population earns either an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.

 

Two Major Gifts Support SJSU Football Operations Center

Media contacts
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, SJSU media relations specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received two major gifts to support a new football operations center on the east side of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. Thomas Thompson, ’72 Behavioral Science, and his wife, Jane Bradley, have committed $500,000 to support the development of the new football facility, with a remaining percentage of their trust to establish the Thomas E. Thompson Athletics Scholarship. SJSU Athletics is also proud to share that an additional gift of $500,000 has been committed to support the football center by an anonymous donor.

“Both of these gifts come from long-time football season ticket holders and steadfast supporters of our Athletics program,” said Marie Tuite, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “They are also keenly aware of the importance and significance of completing the funding for the football operations center. Tom and Jane believe in San Jose State and support the mission of the entire university. Our anonymous donor may be one of my favorite individuals–he simply wants us to build the football center and enhance the opportunities for our football program. I’m offering a sincere and gracious ‘thank you’ to these terrific Spartans.”

By supporting the creation of the new SJSU football operations building, these gifts will enable future generations of Spartan athletes to pursue an education while playing NCAA Division I sports.

Bringing Sport to New Heights

At 6 feet 8 inches, Thompson gravitated toward basketball at a young age, playing in high school and community college. He later transferred to San Jose State. Thompson was the first in his family to graduate from both high school and college–achievements that made it possible for him to pursue careers in juvenile probation, construction management, trade association management and real estate. He and his wife are grateful for the opportunity to give back to his alma mater.

“Jane and I want to show our appreciation to SJSU and to assist future students,” said Thompson, a long-time fan of SJSU football and basketball. “San Jose State provided my only opportunity for a good education at essentially no cost, and a great foundation to help me later earn a graduate degree. With the scholarship, we hope that students will have the chance to play football or basketball while earning a degree, just like I did.”

The anonymous donor, who graduated from San Jose State in the 1960s, is also a loyal fan of Spartan football.

“I am making this gift because I believe the football program is moving in the right direction under the leadership of Marie Tuite and Coach Brennan,” the anonymous donor said. “I know there are other Spartans like me who care deeply about this program and want to see it thrive. It is my hope that other Spartans will join the growing group of donors in doing what they can to provide Coach Brennan and the program with the resources necessary to compete in the Mountain West.”

“Our momentum continues to build as we move closer to our goal of creating modern, vibrant spaces for our student-athletes and our fans,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “We are so excited to see donors like these and so many others investing in the future of SJSU football, Athletics and the university.”

To track fundraising progress and learn how you can support Spartan football, please visit sjsufootball.com or contact Josh Thiel, deputy athletics director for athletics advancement, at 408-924-1697 or joshua.thiel@sjsu.edu.


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 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose 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 proud of the accomplishments of its more than 270,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State sponsors 22 (nine men’s and 13 women’s) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually. In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the NCAA’s highest level of competition.

The Spartans’ primary conference affiliation is with the Mountain West. Selected teams belong to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Golden Coast Conference (GCC).

San Jose State has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. Sixty-two (62) Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

Annually, about one-third of the student-athlete population earns either institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.

Computer Science Receives $1.6 Million Gift

A student is working on a laptop.

Photo: Robert C. Bain

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

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.6 million planned gift from an anonymous donor. The gift will endow a lectureship in the computer science department, establishing a teaching position upon the donor’s death and expanding opportunities for computer science majors to hear from experts, and explore research, career and internship programs in the field.

“Gifts like this one allow us to provide students with co-curricular experiences that expand their horizons, allow them to encounter diverse viewpoints, and hear from leaders in their future industries,” said Michael Kaufman, dean of the College of Science. “All departments would benefit from such programs.”

San Jose State’s computer science program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, a nonprofit organization that accredits competitive programs across the nation. In addition to undergraduate and master’s degrees, the department offers a Computer Science Certificate in Cybersecurity, and a bachelor’s of science in software engineering offered in partnership with the computer engineering department. Computer science, jointly with the biological sciences and mathematics and statistics departments, will offer a master of science in bioinformatics, starting later this year.

Connecting San Jose State to Silicon Valley Industry

Although the donor is not originally from this area, after moving here the donor has been able to take advantage of the many opportunities that the Silicon Valley offers in the tech industry. However, over the years, the donor noticed that many local students who grow up surrounded by these great companies don’t have a clear idea how to tap into the opportunities that surround them.

“San Jose State is full of local students. They have a lot they can contribute and they just need a little guidance,” said the donor. “While there are many great ways to help students accomplish their educational goals, this gift helps to get more great faculty to help students prepare for the many local opportunities for computer science majors.”

By endowing a teaching position in computer science, the donor is hoping to ensure that Spartans interested in the field continue to receive an excellent education.

“I have found so much gratification in computer science, and I want to make sure that students who are interested have that opportunity too,” the donor said. “Teachers have been a great influence on me, so I really want students who come here to have great people to learn from.”

“It is so exciting to see a member of our community investing in our future students and faculty members with a commitment like this,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “I hope this gift serves as an inspiration to others to think about how they might provide for future generations at San Jose State.”

To learn how you can support the College of Science, please contact Emily Lane, director of development, at 408-924-1145 or emily.lane@sjsu.edu.


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 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley, the state and the world, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 270,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

Spartan Football Receives $1 Million Gift from Kevin and Sandy Swanson

Kevin and Sandy Swanson at the Spartan football All In campaign event in 2017. Photo: David Schmitz

Media contacts:

Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif.— San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1 million gift commitment from alumnus Kevin Swanson, ’87 Finance, and his wife Sandy Swanson. Their gift will contribute to a new football operations center on the east side of the CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans.

“This gift reflects the support and love Kevin and Sandy have for our football program and for San Jose State University,” said Director of Athletics Marie Tuite. “Win or lose, they are committed to improving the experiences and well-being of our student-athletes through their generous donation. They understand the value of the football operations center to San Jose State, and their generosity is an indication of their belief in Coach Brent Brennan and his staff. We offer a sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to two of the best Spartans in our community.”

Supporting Common Goals

The Swansons’ San Jose financial services office is decorated in Spartan regalia, from a SJSU flag hanging on the wall to Kevin’s diploma. As an undergraduate, Kevin was active in the Delta Upsilon fraternity, a network of friends and colleagues who invited him back after graduating to serve as a fraternity advisor. For 11 years, he mentored Spartans and Sandy attended countless pledge dances and university events. The chance to connect with students on a personal and professional level inspired the Swansons to attend Spartan football games, enjoying tailgates with a community of friends.

“One thing I love about athletics is the opportunity it brings to students who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to pursue an education,” said Kevin. “It offers the opportunity for young men and women to learn more about themselves and to work on a team with a common goal as a community.”

In 2018, the couple learned about Beyond Football, which offers unique programming for Spartan football players to develop career and life skills that extend beyond the sport. Together, they volunteered to offer mock interviews alongside a cohort of Silicon Valley professionals to critique the students’ interview techniques. The chance to interact one-on-one with football players in a professional capacity inspired them to find a lasting way to give back.

“It really struck us that the football team and the Beyond Football program were really making a difference in these young men’s lives,” said Sandy, a CSU Hayward graduate who calls San Jose State her adopted alma mater. “That type of foresight on the part of the athletics department is inspirational for us, and we’d love to see those types of things continue.”

“Kevin and Sandy Swanson have been amazing to us since we came on board two years ago,” said SJSU Head Football Coach Brent Brennan. “They believe, like many of us do, that in the process of building a top-flight football program, we need to invest at a high level. This gift is another huge step in the direction of giving our program the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level in the Mountain West. I am so thankful for their belief in what we are building here.”

Football Matters

The Swansons believe that by supporting the football program, they can multiply their impact for all student-athletes at San Jose State.

“The impact that athletics has on athletes in any sport is significant and one of the reasons we are making this donation,” said Kevin. “We believe that on most campuses football is a major factor in fundraising and revenue generation for the entire campus. When you have a strong football program, you have a strong athletics program. Athletics really does change students’ lives.”

“Kevin and Sandy are longtime passionate supporters of San José State University and of Spartan football, and this commitment speaks volumes about just how passionate they are,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement and CEO of SJSU’s Tower Foundation. “We’re grateful and proud to count them among the growing number of major benefactors who believe in this project and want to see it happen as quickly as possible.”

To track fundraising progress and learn how you can support the football operations center, please visit sjsufootball.com or contact Joshua Thiel, deputy athletics director for athletics advancement, at 408-924-1697 or via email at joshua.thiel@sjsu.edu.

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 250 areas of study offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose 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 proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State University sponsors 22 (nine men’s and 13 women’s) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually.

In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the NCAA’s highest level of competition.

The Spartans’ primary conference affiliation is with the Mountain West. Selected teams belong to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Golden Coast Conference (GCC).

San Jose State has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. Sixty-two (62) Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

Annually, about one-third of the student-athlete population earns either an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.

SJSU, Spartan Football Receive $2 Million Gift from Alumnus John Hopkirk and Anne Murphy

Media contacts:
Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $2 million gift commitment from alumnus John Hopkirk and his wife Anne Murphy. Their gift will support a critical resource for the Spartan football program; a new state-of-the-art football operations center on the east side of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans.

“John and Anne have been long-time Spartan supporters and their gift to the football operations center demonstrates their love for San Jose State University,” said Athletics Director Marie Tuite. “They understand and support the priority of investing in football to provide Coach Brennan and his staff the tools they need to build a championship program.  In addition, John and Anne understand the value and impact their gift will have on changing the lives of the student-athletes we serve. We are so grateful for their generosity.”

The football operations center will include locker rooms, offices, a student-athlete lounge, an auditorium and premium seating options on the 50-yard line. The project will rebuild the stadium’s east side. The gift will add to improvements underway throughout South Campus, including the recently completed soccer, tennis, golf, and softball facilities.

Proud Spartans: John Hopkirk and Anne Murphy

John Hopkirk worked his way through school at San Jose State while pursuing a degree in business accounting. Hopkirk’s love for SJSU athletics took off after he graduated and began his professional career as a certified public accountant. As an avid supporter of SJSU football and basketball, Hopkirk believes he may be the only fan who has seen every SJSU men’s post-season basketball game since he first enrolled at San Jose State in the late 1960s.  

In 1987, John met his wife, Anne Murphy, a University of San Francisco graduate. Anne has embraced John’s passion for SJSU athletics and the couple travels all over the country to watch the Spartans compete.

“I have been following Spartan football for over 50 years.  It has brought me much joy, and we have made many great friends through our common love of Spartan football,” said Hopkirk. “I received a great education from San Jose State, and Anne and I thought we needed to give back to the university to show our appreciation. I hope our gift inspires others to do the same.

“San Jose State must have the facilities in place to attract the best and brightest student-athletes,” Hopkirk continued. “Hopefully our donation will enhance Spartan football’s chance to be a championship program and result in many more talented student-athletes proudly earning their diplomas from San Jose State University.”

“This critical project will have a major impact on Spartan football and our entire athletics program, as well as the gameday experience for our students and all who attend our games,” stated Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “Building a modern football operations center that revitalizes CEFCU Stadium is our most urgent fundraising priorities, and we’re thrilled to see two of our greatest fans make such a generous commitment to this project.”

“I am so grateful for John and Anne’s tremendous commitment and generosity to support and build a championship football program at San Jose State,” added Head Football Coach Brent Brennan. “Their gift provides us with a critical recruiting tool, enhances the student-athlete experience and helps SJSU compete in the Mountain West. I can’t thank John and Anne enough for their commitment to the program.”

To learn how you can support the football operations center, please visit www.sjsufootball.com or contact Joshua Thiel, Deputy Athletics Director for Athletics Advancement, at (408) 924-1697 or via email at joshua.thiel@sjsu.edu.

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 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose 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.

 

San Jose State Receives $15 Million Gift Commitment from South Bay Philanthropist Lupe Diaz Compean

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

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic).

The Student Union will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees (Photo: Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

SAN JOSE, CA–San Jose State is pleased to announce that it has received a $15 million gift commitment from South Bay resident and friend of the university Lupe Diaz Compean. The gift will support student success initiatives and scholarships. In addition, the gift will support the maintenance of SJSU’s newly renovated and expanded Student Union, and the many activities housed in this structure located in the heart of campus.

“Lupe Diaz Compean’s remarkable generosity will enable San Jose State to make meaningful, sustained investments in student success initiatives, scholarships and student programming,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “Mrs. Compean did not graduate from college, but she and her late husband recognized the value of a college education for all and exemplified that a fulfilling life is within reach of everyone who works hard to achieve their dreams. San Jose State is pleased to recognize and honor the extraordinary work and generosity of donors who are making an enduring impact on our university and community.”

The building will be named the Ramiro Compean and Lupe Diaz Compean Student Union in honor of Mrs. Compean and her late husband, pending approval by the California State University Board of Trustees at its March 8-9 meeting in Long Beach, Calif. President Martin and Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning will represent SJSU at the meeting.

“San Jose State has been in conversation with the Compeans for the past two decades,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “Throughout this time, Lupe Diaz Compean has been crystal clear that her motivation in making the gift was to benefit students, honor her family and her late husband by naming a facility, and demonstrating that by working hard and getting an education, anyone can achieve what she has in her lifetime.”

Endowments

Photo: David Schmitz

Student Union interior (Photo: David Schmitz).

The gift will be used to create the following endowment funds:

  • A Student Success Fund to support initiatives that foster student success and increase retention and graduation rates.
  • Three scholarship endowments to support emancipated foster youths, California Dream Act students, and a merit scholarship for high-performing students.
  • A Student Union Programming Fund to provide support for visiting lectures, art exhibits, workshops and other student-focused special events and programming.
  • A Student Union Operating Fund that will provide resources for ongoing maintenance and operating needs of the facility.

Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Photo courtesy of Lupe Diaz Compean

Lupe Diaz was born in 1926 in Edinburg, Texas and was the oldest in a family of 10 children. In 1955, she married Ramiro Compean, who was born in Reynosa, Mexico, in 1932. He was one of seven children in his family. Mr. Compean passed away in August 2002.

In 1956, one year after they were married, the Compeans moved to San Jose. Mr. Compean worked for George Day Construction building houses in Saratoga. Mrs. Compean attended school and helped her husband in the business. They saved their money and soon were able to purchase a home in Almaden Valley. They continued to buy properties as they were able. Mrs. Compean, at age 89, is still actively managing the properties she owns.

Mrs. Compean is not a graduate of SJSU, but believes very strongly in the mission of the institution and the importance of education. She first approached SJSU regarding making a gift in the mid-1990s. She and her husband had heard that SJSU had a good Mexican American Studies Department and wanted to contribute. Eventually, those conversations turned to the possibility of including the university in their estate. Following Mr. Compean’s death in 2002, Mrs. Compean continued the conversation with University Advancement and indicated that SJSU would be a beneficiary of half her estate.

In 2012, Mrs. Compean and her certified public accountant, Anne Lee of Bauerle, Lee and Associates, LLP, approached the university to explore how Mrs. Compean might experience the impact of her legacy while she was still alive. Over the course of the next three years, discussions continued regarding the use of the gift and how the gift would be structured. In December 2015, Mrs. Compean finalized the gift agreement.


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 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 Students to Receive Full-Tuition Scholarships funded by $1 Million Samsung Gift

Photo: Orbie Pullen

Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon, SJSU President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (photo: Orbie Pullen).

Samsung presented San Jose State University Interim President Susan Martin and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo with a $50,000 gift on Sept. 24, making SJSU the first recipient of $1 million in scholarships to be awarded to California’s public universities.

“San Jose State wishes to thank Samsung for supporting our efforts to prepare students for careers in the tech industry,” Interim President Susan Martin said. “SJSU sends more graduates to work in Silicon Valley companies than any other university, and this gift is an excellent example of SJSU’s collaboration with area employers.”

The company made the gift to the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, with the intention of covering tuition and living expenses for two students this year. Details on the selection process are in the works.

The announcement came as Samsung celebrated the grand-opening of its 1.1-million-square foot headquarters in North San Jose for its U.S. semiconductor operations.

Read the Samsung news release.

SJSU Alumni Association Awards Scholarships

Randy Vazquez,  '16 Journalism

Randy Vazquez, ’16 Journalism

More than 50 students received $150,000 in scholarships at the SJSU Alumni Association Scholarship Awards Reception on Sept. 15 in the Student Union.

“All of the scholarship recipients have a clear vision of how they will achieve concrete goals and make a difference after completing their college degrees,” said Alumni Association President Coleetta McElroy, ’97 Public Administration. She also serves as the university’s director of financial aid and scholarships.

Honorees

The honorees represent seven colleges and a cross-section of majors. They include:

  • James Keeley, ’16 Therapeutic Recreation, is a disabled veteran who works with homeless veterans.
  • Maria Stone, ’16 MA French and MS Physics, seeks to participate in space research looking for life on other planets.
  • Melissa Tracy, ’17 Child and Adolescent Development, chose her field based on her personal experience with foster care.

Read about more scholarship recipients and learn how to apply next year on the Alumni Association website.

Generous Support

Photo: Randy Vazquez,  '16 Journalism

Linh Dieu Do, ’16 Chemical Engineering, received the Hal Riddle Memorial Scholarship (Photo: Randy Vazquez, ’16 Journalism).

The SJSU program is among the most generous in the California State University system.

“What makes this program remarkable is these scholarships are funded by Spartans, for Spartans,” said Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations Brian Bates. “The donors—people in our community including teachers, accountants and artists—believe in creating opportunities through education for generations to come.”

In this way, alumni and students alike are part of a long legacy at San Jose State, spanning a half century of giving and receiving. And this legacy will continue, as this year’s recipients vow to pay it forward.

Paying it Forward

Linh Dieu Do, ’16 Chemical Engineering, received the Hal Riddle Memorial Scholarship, named for a lifelong educator and member of the Alumni Association’s Santa Clara County chapter.

“I am really hoping that someday I will be successful and will be able to come back and support my fellow students,” she said. “I work by this: Once you put your heart, your soul, your mind into something you love, nothing can stop you.”

 

Men’s Water Polo Returns to SJSU

Men's water polo coaches gather around their players at the edge of the pool.

The San Jose State men’s water polo team jumped back in the pool after a 34-year hiatus for its season opener against the Santa Clara Broncos on September 5 (Photo: Terrell Lloyd).

In the 1960s and 1970s, SJSU had a powerhouse water polo team. They won a national title in 1968, and finished in the top five nationally four times in the 1970s. But in 1981, the school discontinued the program to comply with Title IX regulations.

Bill Simpkins, a former college water polo player himself and son of long-time SJSU benefactors and alumni Alan and Phyllis Simpkins, repeatedly pressed the university to reinstate the sport. But the funds weren’t there. So Simpkins spearheaded an effort to raise enough money to bring the sport back.

“The team had a winning history. It needed to come back,” Simpkins said. “The sport of water polo has not added a new D1 team for over 30 years. Hopefully, this will start a trend. My parents, Alan and Phyllis, were my wingmen.”

Alumni support

Before the team’s first game, several donors and former water polo players participated in a cap ceremony, giving swim caps to the 19 players on the current roster (Photo: Terrell Lloyd).

Bill Simpkins and his wife Brigid made a generous donation. So did Peter Ueberroth,’59 Business Administration. Ueberroth is a former travel industry executive, Major League Baseball commissioner and U.S. Olympic Committee chairman.

Jane Hind set up a $1 million dollar endowment in her late husband’s name. Greg Hind, ’69  Health Science, was an All-American water polo player in the 1970s at SJSU.

Altogether, more than 100 people donated more than $3.5 million, which will sustain the program for five years until the university takes over the financing. Interest from the Greg Hine endowment will fund student-athlete scholarships beginning next year.

Cap ceremony

Before the team’s first game in September, several donors and former water polo players participated in a cap ceremony, giving swim caps to the 19 players on the current roster.

For a moment in time, right there on the pool’s edge, the years melted away as the generations bonded over their love of the game and their quest to keep this Spartan tradition going strong.

 

Kellogg Foundation Award

CommUniverCity

CommUniverCity San Jose engages local residents, SJSU faculty members and students, and city officials in learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-defined goals (David Schmitz photo).

Media contacts:
David Edelson, APLU, 202-478-6072
Pat Harris, SJSU, 408-924-1748

In recognition of its extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four members of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, including San Jose State, have been selected as regional recipients of the 2015 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award.

As regional winners, SJSU, Texas Tech University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of New Hampshire will represent and compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be presented during the APLU Annual Meeting Nov. 15-17 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. The three regional winners not chosen for the Magrath award will each receive a cash prize of $5,000.

Award history

Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship, and partnerships of four-year public universities.

The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005.

The Magrath Awards reward the significant impact our universities make in their communities, states, and across the nation as well as the world,” said APLU President Peter McPherson.

“This year’s regional award winners exemplify the broad principles of community-based outreach and engagement embraced by the public university community. We salute each of these model programs that feature students, faculty and administrators working in their community to improve the quality of life for all.”

A team of community engagement specialists judged this round of the award.  A second team will pick the national winner following presentations at the 2015 National Engagement Scholarship Conference in September.

About CommUniverCity San Jose

CommUniverCity San Jose is a unique community-university-city partnership that engages local residents with faculty members and students at San Jose State and city staff members in learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-defined goals. With nearly one million residents, San Jose is characterized by vast economic inequality and profound challenges with respect to poverty, unemployment, homelessness, gang violence, and low educational attainment.

To address these needs, CommUniverCity creates and supports 50 community action projects annually. Projects range from after-school tutoring and nutrition education to adult financial literacy classes. CommUniverCity’s structure can be described as three legs of a stable stool, with SJSU, the city of San Jose, and local organizations and residents each providing equal support for project identification and implementation.

SJSU’s role in this “town-gown” (city-university) partnership is threefold. First, faculty members apply subject-matter expertise to solve real-world problems. Second, students participate in community-engaged learning projects. Third, SJSU provides financial and administrative support. Over the past decade, this consistent engagement of faculty and students has generated a multitude of short-term studies and longer-term research, including a five-year comparison of social capital indicators within the service area.

About San Jose State

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 134 areas of study with 110 concentrations—offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 30,000 students and nearly 4,000 employees, San Jose State 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.

dan and jaime

Alumni Association Celebrates Scholarship Recipients

Cuong Truong

Cuong Truong, ’14 Nursing, plans to work toward ensuring all elderly patients receive quality care. She is a recipient of a San Jose Woman’s Club Scholarship (photo by Brandon Chew).

Aspiring professionals preparing to contribute to every part of our community and economy are recipients of 2014-15 SJSU Alumni Association Scholarships.

“These students truly define the Spartan spirit,” said Brian Bates, associate vice president for alumni relations. “They are achievers, innovators, dreamers and leaders in their classrooms, communities and even the world.”

The more than 30 recipients were invited to gather for a reception Sept. 16  in the Student Union ballroom. The group includes a future art professor, nurse and business owner as well as multiple engineers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers, social workers and fine artists.

Supporting Inspiring Students

Student recipients apply each spring through the SJSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The specific criteria and amount for each scholarship varies. But the overall objective is the same: to provide alumni with the opportunity to give back by supporting current students.

Onette Morales-Alcazar

Onette Morales-Alcazar, ’13 English, is seeking a teaching credential so she can support students learning English as a second language. Named a Connie L. Lurie College of Education Dean’s Scholar, she received the Pat Porter Memorial Scholarship (photo by Brandon Chew).

An excellent example is Angelina Loyola, ’10 Sociology, ’15 Mexican American Studies. Recipient of a College of  Social Sciences Dean’s Scholarship, she plans to teach at the high school or community college level so that she may empower her students to advance not just themselves but the entire community.

I hold steadfast to the words of the late Maya Angelou, ‘When you get, give. When you learn, teach,’” Loyola said.  “Thank you for acknowledging me as a scholar, and an individual that will take with her into this world the teachings from some of the greatest teachers I’ve encountered.”

Joshua Cruz, ’16 Computer Engineering, has taken advantage of the many leadership opportunities available to students at SJSU. A recipient of a Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering Dean’s Scholarship, he has served as a resident assistant, orientation leader, student instructional assistant and Spartan Marching Band member.

This scholarship…is a true validation that my involvements inside and outside of the classroom have an impact on my campus community,” Cruz said. “I will take the inspiration coming from those who have supported me through this scholarship to reach my scholastic goals.”

Tristan Pulliam

Tristan Pulliam plans to go to medical school. The recipient of a College of Science Dean’s Scholarship, he said, “I hope to one day reciprocate this investment by investing in the lives of future SJSU students” (photo by Brandon Chew).

Daniel Fenstermacher, ’16 Fine Arts, expresses his aspirations and sense of community through photography. The recipient of the Hoover Langdon Scholarship has his own business, currently specializing in aerial photography, including remarkable images of downtown San Jose captured using a drone.

Receiving the Hoover Langdon Scholarship gave me a great feeling of accomplishment and pride as a member of the SJSU community,” Fenstermacher said. “I feel fortunate to be rewarded with this recognition and this scholarship motivates me to keep improving every day both in school and in life.”

The generous support of alumni and friends makes these scholarships possible. Learn more about supporting the Alumni Association scholarship program.

 

Donors Give $31 Million to SJSU in 2013-14

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who continues to take our message and mission to heart (Robert C. Bain Photo).

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who continues to take our message and mission to heart (Robert C. Bain photo).

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

SAN JOSE, CA – Individuals, foundations and corporations made more than $31 million in gift commitments to the university during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, demonstrating heightened support for philanthropic giving to San Jose State.

“This shows tremendous progress in our efforts to build a culture of philanthropy supporting students and the faculty at San Jose State,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “We are grateful to the university community for participating in our fundraising efforts.”

Available This Year

Approximately $22.6 million will be available this year to support student scholarships, innovative programs and facility improvements. Additional funds will supplement the university’s endowment, now valued at more than $120 million.  The endowment ensures long-term continuity and sustainability of programs funded by donors.

In 2013, San Jose State completed its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State.” The university received over $208 million from individuals, corporations and foundations. Before the campaign, the university raised approximately $10 million annually. Afterward, the sum more than tripled.

Supporting Our Students and Faculty

“The campaign showed our many supporters the value of investing in our students and the faculty,” Vice President of University Advancement Rebecca Dukes said. “We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who continues to take our message and mission to heart.”

For the $31 million raised last year, individuals gave $24 million. Corporations and foundations provided $7 million. More than $19 million came through planned giving, which includes giving through financial and estate plans. The gifts benefit all of SJSU’s colleges and many programs.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city

Spartans Supporting Spartans

 Professor Eugene Cordero speaking at the 2012 TEDxSanJoseCA event on the topic of reducing annual carbon emissions (TEDxSanJoseCA/Flickr photo).

Professor Eugene Cordero speaking at the 2012 TEDxSanJoseCA event on the topic of reducing annual carbon emissions (TEDxSanJoseCA/Flickr photo).

“I’m inspired by work that happens on campus in areas that are very different from my own,” says Eugene Cordero, professor of meteorology and climate science. “Having the opportunity to support work others are doing allows you to feel as though you are helping.”

As regular donors and committee members for this year’s Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign, Cordero and his wife Clare, a lecturer in the engineering department, are passionate about helping. For Cordero, this campaign offers an opportunity for the campus community to come together and feel good about the university.

“You can give money to scholarships or to an outreach program that helps kids learn about science, or the library. Those are things that everyone can feel good about supporting,” says Eugene Cordero. “Our university is not just the administration; it’s the faculty, the staff, the programs, the students. I’m inspired by our students. That’s why I’m here.”

Cordero encourages his colleagues to consider what keeps them here, too. He offers this advice to fellow faculty members: “Keep using that positive energy to inspire students to learn and be creative and do great things!”

Make a gift through Spartans Supporting Spartans.

 

 

Spartans Supporting Spartans

Spartans Supporting Spartans: Sami Monsur’s Staff Scholarship

SJSU staff member Sami Monsur established the Support Our Staff Scholarship after earning a degree in Spanish while working at San Jose State.

“I am a strong believer in volunteering and giving back,” says Sami Monsur, resource analyst in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education—and she’s got the scholarship to prove it. In 2012, Monsur established the Support Our Staff Scholarship, an annual $500 scholarship that provides financial support for staff members working toward a degree at San Jose State.

The impetus for the gift was her own experience: Monsur was simultaneously a student and staff member while working toward her degree in Spanish, which she completed in 2011. “My dean, Elaine Chin, offers professional development money to every staff member. It has helped many, including me, pay for books and other costs related to our studies,” Monsur says. “As a student, I really saw how much the funds helped.”

The Support Our Staff Scholarship extends similar support to staff members university-wide who are matriculated students, whether they’re employees of the university, Research Foundation or Tower Foundation.

“You can always better yourself and try to move up in the world. Staff members don’t always make a lot of money, but we do have an opportunity to get a degree,” says Monsur. “Even with the tuition fee waiver [that state employees receive], school materials like books and a laptop are expensive—especially if someone is supporting a family.”

Last year the scholarship was awarded for the first time, and now, it’s growing. As one of the gift options for this year’s Spartans Supporting Spartans campaign, Monsur’s annual contribution has already been bolstered by more than a dozen new gifts from other staff and faculty members. “As it continues to grow, hopefully we’ll be able to award two or three scholarships a year,” she says.

“There is a really strong team of staff members that keeps this university going,” says Monsur. “I’m proud of that. I’m proud of our staff.”

Make a gift to the Support Our Staff Scholarship or an area of your choice through Spartans Supporting Spartans by April 18.

 

Celebrate 2014 Graduates and Support SJSU Alumni Association Scholarships

Quang Le, ’14 Civil Engineering

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

“I never thought I’d be here,” says Quang Le, ’14 Civil Engineering. Since transferring from an East Bay community college, Le has completed two internships and was elected SJSU chapter president for the Associated General Contractors of California. This year, he received the Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

“At SJSU, there are lots of ups and downs,” says Le. Luckily, Spartans take care of each other. Supported by donations, the SJSU Alumni Association Scholarship is awarded to two outstanding students from each of SJSU’s colleges each year. Selected based on academic excellence and community service, these students exemplify the Spartan spirit: they use what powers them to impact SJSU, their communities and the world. “Receiving this scholarship gives me the motivation to keep going—academically and professionally.”

Now, along with becoming “the best project manager out there,” Le hopes to mentor students who will impact their communities with innovative ideas for a sustainable future. Down the line, he dreams of endowing a scholarship in his name for other students like him—students who, he says, “you’d never think could be engineers.”

“Success isn’t just about being successful yourself, but also helping others achieve success,” says Le. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for some mentors I’ve had. I’m thankful and I want to give back.”

Give $20.14 and vote for the program that the Senior Gift will fund!

The SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program is one of three options for this year’s Senior Gift. To make a gift and vote for this year’s program recipient, download the Senior Gift form [PDF] or contact Carolyn Canete in SJSU’s Office of Annual Giving at 408-924-1782.

1. SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program
2. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
3. The Student Emergency Fund

Celebrate 2014 Graduates and Support the Student Emergency Fund

Students affected by the San Bruno fire received a $500 grant from the Division of Student Affairs. (Flickr photo / smi23le)

Students affected by the San Bruno fire received a $500 grant from the Division of Student Affairs. (Flickr photo / smi23le)

“We receive many requests for help,” says Monica Garcia, assistant to the VP for Student Affairs. Garcia’s office oversees the SJSU Student Emergency Fund, which provides financial assistance when students need it most.

What can students do if their car is stolen, along with personal items inside, and they have no way to get to class or work? Or worse, what can they do if they’re in a car accident and need money for temporary transportation or uncovered medical expenses? The Emergency Fund provides monetary support for out-of-pocket expenses to students involved in unforeseen, emergency events or situations that affect their ability to function as a student.

“We fund as many requests as we can,” says Garcia, who names sudden catastrophes from severe illness to funeral travel as examples of funded appeals. “We’ve funded students who are currently homeless and living in a shelter or car, and victims of house fires that resulted in loss of clothing, books and, in one case, even a house.”

Students may apply for an Emergency Fund award for out-of-pocket expenses on a one-time basis for up to a maximum of $500; an application [PDF] can be found on the Student Affairs website.

Give $20.14 and vote for the program that the Senior Gift will fund!

The Student Emergency Fund is one of three options for this year’s Senior Gift. To make a gift and vote for this year’s program recipient, download the Senior Gift form [PDF] or contact Carolyn Canete in SJSU’s Office of Annual Giving at 408-924-1782.

1. SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program
2. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
3. The Student Emergency Fund

 

Daniel Harris Lucas speaks at the I AM EOP event.

Celebrate 2014 Graduates and Support EOP

caption

Photo: Brandon Chew, ’14 Photojournalism

“If you’re from a high-crime city and all you hear is that you’re not going to make it, know that it’s not true,” says Daniel Harris-Lucas, ’14 Public Relations. Harris-Lucas was raised in foster care in Oakland after his mother became addicted to drugs. Today, thanks in part to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), a group designed to improve support of first-generation, low-income and historically disadvantaged students, he is about to graduate from San José State.

“EOP had a huge impact on me,” says Harris-Lucas, who was named SJSU’s first-ever African-American Homecoming King in fall 2013. “It’s a family. We support each other in major ways. When one of us wanted to drop out of school, everyone rallied around him. Last semester, my mom passed away, and my EOP family checked on me every day.”

From mentorship programs to career counseling, EOP provides enrichment opportunities as well as admission, academic, and financial assistance to help disempowered students find their power. “Without EOP I would have missed out on a lot,” says Harris-Lucas. “We have some tight bonds because we’ve been through a lot of the same things.”

As an EOP peer mentor himself, Harris-Lucas is committed to helping and advising other students. “If I help one person graduate, I’ve done something worthwhile,” says Harris-Lucas, who is applying to Georgetown University and Syracuse University for graduate school. “If people hadn’t helped me, I would not be where I am today,” says Harris-Lucas. “A gift to EOP goes a long way.”

Give $20.14 and vote for the program that the Senior Gift will fund!

EOP is one of three options for this year’s Senior Gift. To make a gift and vote for this year’s program recipient, download the Senior Gift form [PDF] or contact Carolyn Canete in SJSU’s Office of Annual Giving at 408-924-1782.

1. SJSU Alumni Scholarship Program
2. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
3. The Student Emergency Fund

The Power of Gratitude: Practicing Compassion

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

ThanhThuy Luu, ’13 Nutritional Science, ’16 MA Public Health

When donors help students achieve their goals, they are practicing compassion.”

Just three months after ThanhThuy Luu, ’13 Nutritional Science, ’16 MA Public Health, arrived in San Jose from Saigon, Vietnam, in 2008, she started her first semester at San Jose State. “I worked in the food industry in Vietnam and I burned out. I fell in love with nutrition,” says Luu. A first-generation college student, Luu already held a two-year degree in chemistry from a university in Vietnam when she decided to follow her heart into nutrition science.

In no time, she was excelling. In 2011, Luu was named a President’s Scholar, and this year she received an Alumni Association Dean’s Scholarship for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. “It is financial support but, more importantly, it is great motivation,” she says. “I came here not long ago and it is great to be recognized. I feel accepted into the academic community.”

Now enrolled in the master’s in public health program, Luu’s goal is to work as a health educator with English- and Vietnamese-speaking adults and seniors and ultimately teach as a university professor. “I am grateful for the cultural diversity at San Jose State,” she says. “The traditions, beliefs and values here are from all over the world. I enjoy that because it helps me prepare for my career.”

“I grew up in a Buddhist family; compassion is what I was taught as a child,” says Luu, who was nine years old in 1975 when Saigon was captured by the North Vietnamese forces and her brother, a soldier fighting for South Vietnam, was imprisoned. “Public health is more than nutrition. My passion for public health is built on the compassion I have cultivated in my life. When donors help students achieve their goals, they are practicing compassion.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.

Power of Gratitude: A Winning Attitude

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

David Fales, ’13 Psychology

I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here. It’s something I’ll remember forever. It’s been a great time.”

“If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship,” says David Fales, ’13 Psychology, “I probably wouldn’t be going to school here.” Which would be too bad for the Spartans. Since the quarterback came to San José State on a football scholarship in December 2011, he has become a single-season record holder in seven categories. In the 2012 season, Fales led the Spartans to an 11-2 record—throwing more than 4100 yards and 33 touchdowns with a pass completion rate of more than 72 percent—that culminated in a Military Bowl win and a move to the Mountain West Conference. Fales has not disappointed this season either: the Spartans are once again bowl-eligable following their last win, during which Fales threw for a school-record 547 yards and six touchdowns to spoil the Fresno Bulldogs’ perfect season.

“I always tell everybody that I don’t know what exactly I would be doing without the scholarship,” says Fales, who transferred from a junior college where he shouldered the cost of his education. “I’m very fortunate. Life is a lot easier now.”

Right now Fales is focused on football, but he has other plans in the works following his graduation in December. “I want to see how long I can play football and hopefully ride it out for a little bit longer. After that, I want to get involved in sports psychology.” Fales was first exposed to the profession during a brief semester at Wyoming. “They had a sports psychologist there and he really got me interested in working with teams.”

“I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here,” says Fales. “Being with the football team, the different experiences we’ve had, the relationships I’ve built in the two years I’ve been here. It’s something I’ll remember forever, and the relationships I have now I’ll have for the rest of my life. It’s been a great time.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.

Power of Gratitude: Being Inspired

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

Gary Ortega, ’12, ’14 MA Jazz Studies

“Teaching challenges you to be a better person, for yourself and for others. Thank you to all of my teachers for keeping me inspired.”

“The music department is close-knit,” says Gary Ortega, ’12, ’14 MA Jazz Studies. “You are dependent on each other for ensembles; your music and your livelihood are reliant on it. It’s a community—a music family.”

Ortega has the opportunity to study, work and play with this family in part due to the Katherine Peterson Alumni Association Scholarship. Awarded on the basis of academic achievement, need and community service, this scholarship has allowed Ortega to say goodbye to the days of waiting tables so he can focus on more important things, like running his music lessons business, teaching instrumental music to third through eighth graders at St. Leo the Great School and staying involved with the nonprofit organization, San Jose Jazz.

“This award will be contributing to the success and completion of my master’s degree this spring with a lighter financial burden,” says Ortega, who is currently teaching jazz improvisation at SJSU. He plans to continue teaching to children and adults after he graduates. “Teaching challenges you to be a better person, for yourself and for others. And you get to help other people be better. Thank you to all of my teachers for keeping me inspired.”