Patricia McKinney’s $1.8 Million Planned Gift Benefits Future Elementary Educators

Patricia McKinney.

Patricia McKinney has established a scholarship for future elementary teachers. Photo courtesy of Priscilla Robertson.

San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.8 million gift commitment from Patricia McKinney, ’60 General Elementary Education, ‘64 MA Education. The gift will support students majoring in elementary education in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education.

“Ms. McKinney’s gift is significant for our students, our college, and our region,” said Heather Lattimer, dean of the Lurie College. “As our K-12 student population continues to become increasingly diverse, this gift will help our college attract dedicated, talented future teachers from diverse communities who are committed to making a transformative impact in the lives of children and families. Additionally, this award will reduce the cost of enrollment for many of our students and enable them to focus their time and energy on the success of their own K-12 students as they enter professions that don’t typically bring fortune or fame.”

About Patricia McKinney

A native of San José, McKinney was an elementary education teacher her entire career. Upon graduating from San José State, she accepted her first teaching job in the Hillview/Menlo School District, briefly taught at an Air Force base in Germany when her husband was stationed there, and worked for many years in the Laguna Salada Union Elementary school district in Pacifica. She recognized the importance of early education and wants to provide assistance to underserved students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to become a teacher.

“I loved working with kids and going home at night knowing that I’ve made a difference,” said McKinney from her home in San Francisco. She recalls teaching multiple generations of the same families, running into her students’ parents who remembered her fondly from their own elementary school days.

“She thought SJSU had prepared her well and it was important to her to help other people become teachers, especially grade school teachers,” said her friend Priscilla Robertson.

“Ms. McKinney’s gift to San José State exemplifies her commitment to service,” said Theresa Davis, vice president of University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “Not only did she teach generations of children across the Bay Area, her scholarship will support future elementary educators. We are grateful for Ms. McKinney’s example.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of planned giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

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

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

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

Alumna Olive Burata Coauthors Scientific Article on Multidrug-Resistance Transporters

Olive Burata.

Olive Burata.

On November 27, Nature Communications published a scientific article coauthored by Olive Burata, ’14 BS, ’18 MS, Biochemistry. The article, entitled “The structural basis of promiscuity in small multidrug resistance transporters,” studies the small drug resistance (SMR) family, which contain protein drug exporters that help bacteria become resistant to toxic chemicals. Burata, a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, said the publication demonstrates how scientists can unlock how SMR proteins work to help bacteria survive in the presence of antibiotics, antiseptics or disinfectant. The study provided the first high-resolution image of one of the protein members of this family that will allow scientists to study the protein in very close detail.

High-resolution structure of Gdx-Clo, a protein member of the small multidrug resistance family that has given bacteria resistance against antibiotics, antiseptics, and disinfectants. Image courtesy of Olive Burata.

“This publication really brought together all the multidisciplinary scientific training I have obtained from my two mentors: Dr. Alberto Rascón from SJSU and Dr. Randy Stockbridge from the University of Michigan,” said Burata. “Both skills and techniques that I have learned from each of their labs have significantly contributed to my rapid understanding of this work. Although early in my career, this work alone has already encompassed skills I have learned as a biochemist, biophysicist, structural biologist, microbiologist and organic chemist.”

Burata said the multidrug-resistance bacteria research could have a big impact on one of the biggest side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—that is, the increasing amounts of resistance bacteria being produced. As people increasingly rely on disinfectants and antiseptic products like hand sanitizers, 70 percent alcohol and Lysol and bleach products, they are not only killing any COVID-19 viral particles but also exposing the bacteria to the products, “giving them ample opportunities to become resistant to them—a double-edged sword.” As a member of Rascón’s lab at San José State, she studied enzymes called proteases that are similar to the ones associated with causing viral pneumonia as a result of COVID-19 infection.

“There are a lot of labs right now trying to find ways to make these enzymes force the virus to be less deadly,” she said, adding that her experience in Rascón’s lab introduced her to enzymology and ignited a passion for learning. “Six years ago, Dr. Rascón first introduced his research work on mosquito protease enzymology during the first day of class in my last semester of undergrad. I fell in love with how amazing enzymology was and its simple application in helping human lives. I had no research experience, my grades were mediocre, nor did I have any plans after graduating, but I immediately reached out to Dr. Rascón on that same day to ask if I could join his lab. I became a different person that day with a strong sense of determination. My pre-undergrad self would have never imagined coming this far (2,000 miles from California) in pursuing my passion and having constant support from my mentors, family and friends.”

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Receives $1.6 Million Gift from the Late Virginia Silveira

Virginia Silveira

Virginia Silveira.

San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.6 million gift from the late Virginia Silveira, ‘36 Business Administration. The gift creates scholarships for undergraduates in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

“Virginia Silveira’s gift to the Lucas College of Business is one of the most impactful donations for scholarships that we have ever received and will benefit generations of students,” said Dan Moshavi, dean of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

About Virginia Silveira

Born and raised in San José, Silveira was from a Portuguese American family, attended school locally and earned two degrees from San José State before dedicating 30 years as an accounting officer at her alma mater. A cancer survivor, Silveira volunteered at the American Cancer Society for 25 years. Following her retirement in 1976, she traveled the world with her sister Edna. Together they visited 49 countries.

Black and white photo of Virginia Silveira with her sister Edna.

Virginia Silveira (right), pictured with her sister Edna. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Avina.

“Virginia lived for 101 years as a single and childless woman at a time when her independence wasn’t really appreciated,” said her great-niece Sue Fagalde Lick, ’74 Journalism. “She traveled a great deal and was very interested in other cultures.”

Suzanne Avina, ’92 MS Nursing, cared for Silveira, her husband’s aunt, in her later years.

“She always talked about San José State fondly, with lots of respect—the days that she was there as a student and as an employee,” said Avina. “It was her persona. She was a very hard worker in every part of her life.”

“Virginia Silveira epitomized the Spartan spirit: she was dedicated, hard-working and committed to making the world a better place,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “Generations of San José State students will benefit from her generosity for years to come.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of planned giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

Sue Howland Gift Creates Scholarship for Nursing Students

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.9 million gift from the late Sue Howland, ’64 Business Administration. The gift creates the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship for single parents and other eligible undergraduate and graduate students at The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at the College of Health and Human Sciences. Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and required books for students to earn their nursing degrees.

“The Valley Foundation School of Nursing is grateful for the generous gift provided by the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship,” said Colleen O’Leary-Kelley, director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and nursing professor. “Our student population is diverse, and many are single parents with significant financial need. Scholarship support is vital for students who strive to improve their family’s future while working full time or part time. Their ability to succeed in a rigorous educational program is greatly enhanced. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the generosity of people like Sue Howland, who enable students to make their dreams become a reality.”

About Sue Howland

Sue Howland smiling in a bright read embroidered top.

Alumna Sue Howland established a planned gift that will create a scholarship for nursing students who are parents. Photo courtesy of Ana Espejo.

Born in Berkeley and raised in San José, Howland enrolled in a number of nursing courses at San José State before ultimately majoring in business. Ever the caretaker, Howland raised her son Scott while working for the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford University and McWhorter’s stationery in Los Gatos. When her grandmother fell ill, she quit her job to become her full-time caregiver, and later did the same for her mother. While she never became a nurse, Howland was a dedicated friend to many, including Ana Espejo, who she met when she hired Espejo’s husband to help with her garden.

“Sue was very compassionate and she had a lot of integrity and kindness,” said Espejo. “We became very close; she was my adopted mom. She was there for me when I was, at one point, a single mother. She treated my son as her grandson. She wanted to give single parents the resources to go to school, which is why she created the scholarship.”

Howland made arrangements in her trust to donate the proceeds from the sale of her house to create an endowed fund at San José State. The fund provides full-tuition scholarships named after Howland and her mother Julia (Judy) Howland to single parents so they may continue their studies while parenting. In her final years, Howland was grateful for the medical care she received as she was being treated for various illnesses and before she succumbed to cancer in 2019. Espejo said that it was this care that reinforced Howland’s desire to support future nurses.

“Throughout all of her surgeries and treatments, she appreciated that the nurses and medical assistants took such good care of her,” said Espejo. “This is part of why she wanted to support the nursing program at San José State, though she had planned her gift years before.”

“Sue Howland understood the challenges of single parenting while attending college and the impact that a scholarship like this could have. Students receiving this scholarship concentrate on their studies, and still spend valuable time with their children,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “We are grateful for her thoughtful planning many years ago to leave a meaningful legacy at San José State.”

“I stand in awe of Sue Howland. It is remarkable that she and her family would share with such generosity their treasures with the College of Health and Human Science’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing,” said Audrey Shillington, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “So many of our students face challenges, working their way through school, often juggling multiple jobs on top of coursework and practicum commitments. Ms. Howland had the insight to recognize that single parents face additional barriers and that they are much more likely to drop out due to all the financial burdens facing them. This gift will change the lives of all the parents who receive it. Beyond this though, the gift will impact the lives of the students’ children. This will lead to intergenerational transformation.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of Planned Giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

SJSU Alumnus and Artist Titus Kaphar’s Work Featured on Time Magazine Cover

A Black mother with her eyes closed and eyebrows furrowed, holds a white cut out of her baby. Her hand below the baby is blue.

Cover of June 15, 2020, issue of Time, featuring Analogous Colors (2020) by Titus Kaphar. Artwork © Titus Kaphar.

For its June 15, 2020, cover on the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, Time turned to Titus Kaphar, ’01 BFA Art/Pictorial Arts. The cover features Analogous Colors (2020).

To accompany the cover, Kaphar wrote “I Cannot Sell You This Painting,” which also appeared in Time.

A 2018 MacArthur Fellow, Kaphar says art can be used to shift perspectives and sees painting as a language that offers diverse perspectives on history, justice and change.

Read a Spring/Summer 2019 Washington Square alumni profile on Kaphar.

 

SJSU Receives $5 Million Signed Gift Commitment from Alumni, Business Leaders and Philanthropists Larry and Deirdre Solari

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

Larry and Deirdre Solari (photo by David Schmitz)

Larry and Deirdre Solari (photo by David Schmitz)


San Jose, Calif.
 — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $5 million signed gift commitment from alumni, philanthropists and Monterey Peninsula residents Larry and Deirdre Solari. Their gift, among the largest ever to SJSU Athletics, will support SJSU football personnel and facilities, including plans for a new football operations center envisioned for the east side of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans.

“On behalf of the entire San Jose State University community, I would like to express my profound gratitude to Larry and Deirdre Solari for their leadership gift,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “This gift supports and honors more than a program; it expresses a deep commitment to the university and higher education as a pathway to opportunity.”

The new operations center will include locker rooms, offices, an auditorium and seating on the 50-yard line. In addition, the project would rebuild the stadium’s east side. This gift will therefore supplement improvements underway throughout South Campus, including recently completed tennis and golf facilities, and a soon-to-be-completed softball field.

“Larry and Deirdre Solari are long-time friends and supporters, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to thank them for their generous gift,” said Athletics Director Marie Tuite. “The Solaris are now among our greatest benefactors in terms of investing in our football program and in assisting with our efforts to elevate the overall profile of the program. This is a touch point day for Spartan Football, Spartan Athletics and San Jose State University.”

Larry and Deirdre Solari: Spartans for Life

An aspiring engineer from a small farm town between Lodi and Stockton, Larry Solari transferred to San Jose State as a sophomore in 1961. Although San Jose’s population was small by modern terms, San Jose State offered all the perks of a metropolitan campus. Solari graduated in 1965 with a bachelor’s in business and industrial management, and completed an MBA one year later. In addition, he served as president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, played baseball and regularly attended Spartan football games, both home and away.

Oakland native Deirdre Keefe attended San Jose State around the same time as her future husband. Like Larry, she was active in Greek life. As an Alpha Phi sorority member, she enjoyed Panhellenic traditions such as the Greek Show, Sparta Sings and Homecoming. She was elected Lambda Chi Alpha Crescent Girl in 1964. Her academic interests included teaching and psychology. She went on to work in television, advertising and executive recruitment. Larry and Deirdre met after college, on what proved to be a lucky blind date.

Building a strong foundation together

The Solaris built their life together based on their San Jose State experience. Larry’s nearly 30-year career with Owens-Corning Fiberglass took them to Toledo, Ohio, where they raised their family while he rose to serve as president of the company’s building materials group. The couple continued following college football including the Spartans, and resumed regularly attending SJSU football games when they returned to California. Now semi-retired, Larry is a private equity firm partner and serves on several boards.

At San Jose State, the Solaris observed former head coaches Mike MacIntyre and Dick Tomey, and appreciated their focus on building a strong foundation. The couple sees current Head Coach Brent Brennan taking a similar approach, influenced by his experience serving as an assistant coach during the MacIntyre and Tomey years.

“As a former athlete, I know the value of lessons learned on the field,” Larry Solari said. “As a businessman, I also know that we must provide the very best we can for our players, coaches and staff in order to attract the talent we need to sustain and grow Spartan football. It is one aspect of the university—a very visible one—and its success will raise the stature of San Jose State.”

Athletics Advancement: A new partnership

San Jose State launched a new fundraising model in August 2017, creating an Athletics Advancement team to elevate fundraising efforts, leverage University Advancement resources, and enhance day-to-day connectivity and alignment as the university works to increase resources for its student-athletes, coaches and support staff.

“When we embarked on this plan, we saw much to gain from combining the resources and talent of University Advancement and Athletics,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “This commitment from the Solaris is proof positive that teamwork and cross-campus collaboration will raise San Jose State’s visibility and inspire alumni and supporters to invest in the university. I echo our president and athletics director in thanking the Solaris for their support.”


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 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.


About San Jose State University Athletics

San Jose State University’s athletics program sponsors 20 NCAA Division I sports (seven men’s and 13 women’s) and offers an intercollegiate athletics experience to at least 450 student-athletes annually. The Spartans compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football. San Jose State is a member of the Mountain West—a conference of 12 football-playing schools in the Pacific, Mountain and Hawaiian time zones.

 

Spartan Alumna Premieres Feature Film at Cinequest

BY DAVID GOLL

As in previous years, students and faculty from San Jose State University will be well represented at the 2017 Cinequest Film and VR Festival staged at various venues throughout San Jose and Redwood City starting this week.

“Disaffected Youth,” billed as a “punk-rock coming-of-age” film directed by Patrick Mattes and co-written and produced by Jacob Ohlhausen, is a short film produced by Spartan Film Studios.

“I’m very excited,” said Mattes, a December graduate of the university’s Television, Radio, Film and Theatre (TRFT) department, about his film’s inclusion at Cinequest. “We’re both excited. I texted Jake the moment I heard.”

It will be shown as part of the College Shorts program on March 7, at 8:45 p.m.; March 10, at 7:15 p.m.; and March 11, at 12:45 p.m. at the Cinemark Century 20 theater complex, 825 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.

Also selected for Cinequest was “swiPed”, a four-minute, 38-second animated film both humorous and poignant about the detrimental impacts of smartphones on society. It’s the creation of David Chai, associate professor of Design and Animation/Illustration in the Department of Design, whose tagline for the film is: “Texters texting, tweeters tweeting, likers liking, posters posting, Googlers Googling, Amazonians Amazoning, webheads surfing, snappers chatting, pinnters pinning, tubers tubing, tenders tindering, Netflixers chilling — are we binging too much? More connected than ever, but more distant by the day. Is humanity being swiped away?”

Chai was a Silicon Valley smartphone holdout until recently.

“I had a flip phone until last year,” he said. “I don’t want to be emailing when I can be out enjoying life. People have become so disconnected from one another through technology. Even when you are with them, you’re often not.”

Chai’s film debuts on March 3, at 9:30 p.m. It will subsequently be screened March 5, at 1:05 p.m.; March 7, at 4:30 p.m.; and March 11, at 6:45 p.m. All presentations will be at the Cinemark Century 20 in Redwood City.

A 2008 alumna of the TRFT program, Los Altos resident Saila Kariat, will also be represented at Cinequest with her dramatic, one-hour, 38-minute film titled “The Valley” that she wrote, directed and co-produced. The movie will premiere at 7 p.m. March 5 at the California Theatre, 345 S. First St., San Jose. The feature-length film centers on an Indian-American entrepreneur who has an existential crisis following the suicide of his young-adult daughter.

Kariat — who grew up in India, Canada and the United States — said the film project took three years to complete. Professor Scott Sublett, chair of the SJSU’s TRFT department, said Kariat studied film and screenwriting and distinguished herself in student screenwriting competitions before becoming the department’s Valedictorian.

Kariat partially self-funded the production, which cost $500,000, but also attracted several investors. It had a cast of 30 and crew of 35. She said its international cast includes actors from Pakistan, Alyy Khan; India, Suchitra Pillai; and American Jake T. Austin.

For those who miss the premier, “The Valley” will also be shown on March 6, at 4:15 p.m.; March 9, at 9:15 p.m., and March 11, at 4:15 p.m., at the Cinemark Century 20 theater complex in Redwood City.

The annual festival, which has grown dramatically in size and prestige in recent years, provides matchless industry exposure for SJSU film students.

“We want our students to have a professional experience and Cinequest provides a great opportunity for them,” said Barnaby Dallas, coordinator of production for Film and Theatre, and the director of Film Production for Spartan Film Studios, which produced “Disaffected Youth” last summer. “Every year, the film industry comes to San Jose for 10 or 12 days.”

Tickets for events and more information about the Cinequest Film and VR Festival are available online.

SJSU Celebrates Super Sunday 2016

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Pastor Jason Reynolds (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Members of the Emmanuel Baptist Church choir crooned “no weapon they throw at me, you know it won’t prosper, no,” while donned in all black outfits and carrying picket signs reading “Black Lives Matter” during this year’s CSU Super Sunday service.

Super Sunday, part of the California State University system’s African American Initiative, resulted in CSU ambassadors visiting over 72 churches and speaking at over 100 church services in the state to encourage African American youth to pursue higher education.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the CSU system to remind people that our mission is to aid ordinary people in being successful and transforming their families,” said San Jose State Interim President Susan Martin.

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

SJSU Interim President Sue Martin and Pastor Jason Reynolds (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications).

Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Vice President for Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock (Photo: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

President Martin, who attended Emmanuel Baptist Church’s service on Feb. 28 along with SJSU Vice President of Student Affairs Reginald Blaylock, stressed the importance of encouraging youths to start considering college at a young age.

“Most of our CSU campuses, including ours, only have three percent of our students identifying as African Americans,” Martin said. “So we need more African American families to prepare to send their children to college.”

Tierney Yates, Social Sciences ’14, said he was only one of three African Americans in his political science program while in his undergraduate career and hopes the initiative will help boost representation in the CSU.

Yates, who serves as the church choir director, said the Black Lives Matter message was incorporated into the musical performances in addition to Pastor Jason Reynolds’ sermons for the month of February in order to bring attention to institutional racism and other issues.

“We talked about issues with community, income and family, so this week we were talking about the issues as they relate to education and disparities,” Reynolds said. “There is so much need for our children to see that knowledge is possible.”

Blaylock, who has served in the CSU system for 28 years, told the service attendees that he was a product of the system’s opportunities.

“My story can be summed up in eight words: ‘It wasn’t supposed to happen but it did,’” Blaylock said. “I came as a freshman over 30 years ago, and CSU and EOP [Educational Opportunity Program] most likely saved my life.”

Despite it being the 11th year that the CSU has organized a Super Sunday with California churches, Blaylock said there is a deep-rooted culture of partnerships within the system.

“There are many people in the CSU who have been doing work and reaching out to communities of color for many, many years,” Blaylock said. “I applaud and celebrate the coordination of these (Super Sunday) efforts, but as a witness today, there are staff and faculty from SJSU that attend this church that are on the scholarship committee and that organize afterschool tutoring, so we’ve been here long before the initiative.”

Yates said he was pleased to see over 20 SJSU or CSU alumni members in the church audience.

“When you’re on a campus of 33,000 students, you feel like you’re the only one,” Yates said. “But when you see it in a smaller setting you can see the impact that it can have and the potential growth that needs to happen.”

 

Ten Things to Know about SJSU and the Super Bowl

  1. San Jose State is proud to serve as the practice site for the Carolina Panthers. Following Super Bowl custom, practice will be closed to the public. But you’re bound to catch a glimpse of the Carolina Panthers caravan making its way from the San Jose Marriott to South Campus. And who knows? You might even spot a Panther because…
  2. A Spartan is on a Super Bowl team! Bené Benwikere, ’13 Sociology, is a cornerback for the Carolina Panthers. He’ll travel with the team, although he’s on injured reserve as he recovers from a leg fracture. It’s still a dream come true. What advice does he have for students? “Challenges are essential to your personal growth as a person; so do not shy away from any challenge,” Benwikere said.
  3. Photo via Twitter.

    Photo via Twitter @BigPlayBene

  4. Make that two Spartans on the field! Keith Ferguson, ’82 Accounting, will be the back judge, wearing jersey number 61.  This will be his second Super Bowl. Three more Spartans have officiated the NFL’s biggest game. They include alumnus Darrell Jenkins, who served as the umpire in Super Bowl XLVIII (Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks). He was a running back on the 1973, 1974 and 1975 SJSU football teams.
  5. There will be plenty more Super Bowl events right here in downtown San Jose. Super Bowl Opening Night is Feb. 1 at the SAP Center. Every major sports network in the nation will be there. So will Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism, and Randy Vazquez, ’15 Journalism, representing the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications. In addition, you’ll see SJSU students seated near the NFL Network set, thanks to a special connection with NFL Marketing Manager Jason Whitcomb, ’11 Kinesiology.
  6. Photo: Tom Cherrey

    Neal Dahlen earned seven Super Bowl rings as a team executive (Photo: Tom Cherrey).

  7. Many Spartans have Super Bowl rings, but only one has seven of them. Neal Dahlen, ’63 BA ’64 MS Kinesiology/Physical Education, earned his rings during a 25-year career as an executive with the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos.
  8. The Spartans-Broncos connection runs deep. The late Jack Elway, father of Broncos General Manager John Elway, served as Spartan football head coach from 1979 to 1983. The late Jana Elway-Sever, ’83 Kinesiology/Physical Education and John’s twin sister, played on SJSU’s tennis team for two years. Janet Elway, John’s mother, worked at SJSU’s Department of Industrial Technology. Back then, John Elway was the quarterback at Stanford, where this son of an SJSU coach was on the road to becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. “The San Jose State-Stanford football games were magical: Stanford won in 1979 and 1980; San Jose State won in 1981 and 1982. The 1980, 1981 and 1982 games each drew more than 60,000 fans to Stanford Stadium,” SJSU Sports Information Director Lawrence Fan said.
  9. David Diaz-Infante, ’91 Social Science, was an offensive lineman on the Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII (Photo: David Schmitz).

    David Diaz-Infante was an offensive lineman on the Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII (Photo: David Schmitz).

  10. SJSU is the alma mater to five former Super Bowl head or assistant coaches including two legends: Bill Walsh, ’55 BA, ’58 MA, Education, led the San Francisco 49ers to victories in 1982, 1985 and 1989, and Dick Vermeil, ’58 Physical Education, ’59 MA Education, took the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl in 1981 and 2000.
  11. Nineteen former Spartan football players have played for Super Bowl teams, including three in the past 15 years: wide receiver Rashied Davis, ’06 Sociology (Chicago Bears) wide receiver James Jones, ’06 Sociology (Green Bay Packers); and defensive back Duke Ihenacho, ’11 Speech Communication (Denver Broncos). David Diaz-Infante, ’91 Social Science, was an offensive lineman on the Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. Today, he is an ESPN college football analyst. Steve DeBerg, ’80 Physical Education, was 45 years old when he played backup quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. Teased for being much older than Super Bowl 50 Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is just 39.
  12. Photo: David Schmitz

    Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications John Delacruz (Photo: David Schmitz).

  13. Many Spartans played leading roles in bringing the Super Bowl to the South Bay. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, ’82 Chemistry, is a Super Bowl 50 Host Committee Advisory Group member. Alumnus Jamie Matthews is mayor of the city of Santa Clara, home to Levi’s Stadium. Jill Bryant Meyers ’91 BA Journalism, ’98 MA History, is executive director of the Triton Museum of Art, including “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” William Kelly, ’89 BS Aeronautics/Business Administration, ’14 MA Public Administration, is the Santa Clara Fire Department chief. He helped develop the security and emergency management plan for Super Bowl 50 and related events. “The knowledge gained through  completing the MPA program was extremely helpful in that effort,” he said.
  14. Photo: David Schmitz

    San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy and Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi (Photo: David Schmitz).

  15. Did you know all pro football players wear tiny devices that track speed, distance and orientation? This was one of many insights shared at two Super Bowl symposiums held right here at SJSU. Moderators included Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Cole Armstrong, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications John Delacruz, and Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi. Jill Stelfox, vice president and general manager for location solutions at San Jose-based Zebra Technologies, described Zebra’s nickel-sized RFID chips, which are embedded inside the shoulder pads of every NFL player.

 

Spartans Oversee Levi’s Stadium Food and Beverage Operation

Photo: Terrell Lloyd/San Francisco 49ers

Photo: Terrell Lloyd/San Francisco 49ers

With Super Bowl 50 in San Jose State’s backyard, guests of the Broncos/Panthers showdown at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7 will encounter Spartans working in different capacities, including hospitality management.

Melissa Leong, ’10 Hospitality Tourism and Event Management, is part of Levi’s Stadium’s Centerplate team, along with other SJSU students and recent graduates. Their role? Ensuring game day is memorable for guests in the United Airlines Club and Yahoo Fantasy Football Lounge.

Manager of 100 employees

As club manager of Centerplate, a food and beverage provider for the stadium, Leong said she utilizes her experience gained with SJSU’s Special Event Management Team at the 2009 AT&T Pro-Am in Pebble Beach to provide exceptional service.

“It was a phenomenal program that put us students in real-world business situations to manage and oversee a major hospitality situation,” Leong said.

Now overseeing a staff of more than 100 employees on major event days such as the upcoming Super Bowl, Leong is preparing to serve thousands of guests alongside senior hospitality management major Danielle Vidal.

Levi’s 501 Club supervisor

Vidal, a fellow participant in the SEMT program, is a supervisor for the premium Levi’s 501 Club at the 400 level of the stadium.

“I got where I am today by making connections through my classmates, friends, professors and managers,” Vidal said. “The Super Bowl is a world-renowned event that everyone knows of and it is even better to be doing this as a current Spartan.”

Vidal will spend game day managing 2,500 guests and ensuring they enjoy Centerplate’s eight food and beverage options, all while maintaining high levels of cleanliness and Super Bowl fun.

Suite administrator

Andrew Fernandez, ’13 Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management, a former Centerplate suite administrator, has worked at Levi’s Stadium since its inaugural season in 2014.

Now as a Premium Member Services representative for the San Francisco 49ers, Fernandez is preparing to focus on assisting Premium Club seat members to ensure their experience is unforgettable.

“The realization of it has not yet sunk in,” Fernandez said. “Right now we are going 1,000 mph gearing up for it so it’s a little hard to fathom at the moment.”

Worthwhile profession

Leong has spent her time leading up to game day by training employees, building business plans and reaching decisions regarding the overall operation of her clubs.

“It makes the long hours and endless meetings all worthwhile,” Leong said. “At the end of the day, we will be a part of an event that will be watched by the entire planet and even out of this world—I hear it will be beamed to the Space Station!”

 

Journalism Alumni Cover the Super Bowl

Frenzied stampede, labored calls to action and beads of sweat—this isn’t a last ditch effort to win the Super Bowl. It’s what the media experiences while covering the big game, SJSU alumni say.

“The game itself was the hardest part because of the deadline and the crush of people,” said Bill Soliday, ’65 Journalism and Mass Communications. “It became a kind of circus after a while because it would be people trying to find the best story being among what would become over 2,000 people credentialed for the game.”

San Jose State graduates are among the seasoned media professionals who have reported on the Super Bowl, including sports photographers, sports columnists and television field producers.

Oakland Tribune columnist

Soliday utilized his sports column as a means of telling compelling Super Bowl stories.

As an Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers beat writer for the Oakland Tribune for most of his professional career, Soliday covered 19 Super Bowls, eight of which had Bay Area winners.

Now retired, Soliday recalls jostling through a crowd of media, sometimes even shouting his questions to nearby players in order to get an interview.

Soliday said he learned the importance of journalism during his time as a Spartan Daily staff writer the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, when he was tasked to write Kennedy’s biography.

“I took it to be something that is a privilege in a sense to inform the public,” Soliday said. “Even though I got into sports writing which is hardly qualifies as earth shattering, I still felt the same way about it.”

Sports Illustrated photographer


 
Brad Mangin, ’88 Journalism and Mass Communications, got his introduction to Super Bowl coverage two years following graduation from SJSU while at the Contra Costa Times.

Mangin, a photojournalism student who says he would only step foot outside the photo lab in Dwight Bentel Hall for Peanuts Deluxe Café, said he couldn’t imagine shooting the massive event just a few years later.

“You’re standing by the sidelines and thinking ‘this can’t be that big of a deal because I’m here,’” Mangin said.

Now more than 20 years later, Mangin will revisit the Super Bowl frenzy to shoot for Sports Illustrated. In the video link below, watch Mangin discuss how he plans to tackle Super Bowl 50.

Although he’s excited to shoot the game again, he said he values the people who are reporting by his side.

“We all create something special whether it be written word, a photograph or a picture I make with my iPhone,” Mangin said. “We all have a unique way of storytelling with our readers.”

Fox Sports field producer

Dennis Ackerman, ’92 Journalism and Mass Communications, said the hands on experience he gained at SJSU prepared him for providing a quality broadcast to viewers.

Ackerman, now a field producer for Fox Sports 1, got his start on early Friday morning tapings of SJSU’s TV news broadcast, Update News.

“You had to write your own stuff, produce your own stuff,” Ackerman said.  “Having your own broadcast was invaluable.”

Ackerman said his Super Bowl production schedule requires over a week of preparation, which includes gaining familiarity of the stadium and establishing shot locations for his crew.

“It’s definitely an adrenalin rush but you want to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Ackerman said.

As he approaches the third Super Bowl coverage opportunity of his career, Ackerman said his journey from a student to a professional has been informative.

“If it’s something you’re really passionate about, you will pay your dues and hopefully it will pay off for you,” Ackerman said. “You know, I get paid to watch sporting events—that’s not a bad way to make a living.”

 

Faculty Wives Club Holds Final Meeting

Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

September 25, 2015, marked the end of an era for the San Jose State University Faculty Wives Club. The nearly century-old club held its final meeting and handed out the last of its scholarships.

At its height, the group boasted a membership of 165 women. It has dwindled to 41.

“It’s unfortunate that we can’t keep it going, but we can’t,” said Pat Daoud, ’74 MA Psychology. “Nobody can survive in this valley without both people working, as a general rule, so young women don’t have that option of joining social groups and supporting the community.”

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Winifred MacQuarrie, wife of Professor Thomas MacQuarrie, started the Faculty Wives Club in 1927. He was appointed president of San Jose State in 1927. As a final act, club members donated to the SJSU President’s House a silver coffee and tea service that was commissioned in the 1950s in memory of Winifred MacQuarrie.

Betty Van Arsdale is one of the longest living members. She joined 69 years ago in 1946.

“The scholarships have been the most important part, but of course the friendship and contact throughout all the years with people who were in the same position as being wives of professors has been very endearing,” Van Arsdale said.

The club served as a social and community-minded organization. It held fashion shows, sold cookbooks and donated money to fund student scholarships.

Over the years, the club handed out an estimated $123,000 in scholarships. Four students received $3,000 scholarships at the club’s final meeting.

Cindy Brown-Quinn, ’14 BA Social Work, was one of them. The scholarship was critical for her.

“It’s basically keeping me from going homeless. I feel like there’s no way I would have been able to do this, without the scholarship,” she said. Brown-Quinn is currently working on a master’s degree in social work at SJSU.

Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications

Another scholarship recipient, Kanotha Kamau-Devers, ’16 Civil/Structural Engineering was grateful for the Faculty Wives Club scholarship, too. After talking to club members at the final meeting, he realized the club offered more than financial assistance.

“The love and spirit this group brings, means a lot,” he said.

Club members also awarded scholarships to Nhan Nguyen, ’15 Nursing, and Elizabeth Marie Mellow, ’15 Psychology. These final scholarships closed out the books for the club, but their legacy will live on.

“I want to be that person in the future who starts my own scholarship, whose part of committees to give back to the next generation, to pay it forward,” said scholarship recipient, Cindy Brown-Quinn.

 

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.”

 

Alumnus Photographs Veterans

SJSU alumnus Tom Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography, is on a 24-city photographic journey. At each stop he takes photos of World War II veterans.

“The goal of this assignment is to create a greater appreciation for all veterans and soldiers,” Sanders said. “The veterans get the opportunity to tell their story and be honored before they pass away, to preserve their stories and images for future generations.”

Sanders got the idea for the veteran photo project after snapping photos of a World War II vet for a senior project at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. During the shoot, the vet told him a spine-chilling story that he says put his life into perspective.

Continue reading

Don and Sally Lucas

From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

From Modest Beginnings to Major Donor

SJSU held a reception Sept. 10 to thank Don and Sally Lucas, who have been lifelong supporters of the college.

Don and Sally Lucas spent a lifetime giving to San Jose State. Now San Jose State is giving back. The couple joined Dean David Steele, President Mohammad Qayoumi, many more dignitaries, students, faculty and staff Sept. 10 to celebrate the naming of the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

Students streaming in and out of classes in the Business Tower and Boccardo Business Center stopped to listen as speakers thanked Don and Sally Lucas, who graduated in the late 1950s from SJSU with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and primary education, respectively. The Lucases were the first donors to make a major gift to the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, which eventually raised more than $200 million for SJSU.

“To be the first is not easy,” President Qayoumi said, thanking the couple for their “faith in the intangible power of philanthropy.” Dean Steele noted private giving supports programs that distinguish the college, which has maintained its “gold standard” accreditation for nearly a half century.

Displaying a deep sense of modesty reflecting his rise from humble beginnings, Don Lucas said, “giving is a basic human need, like eating and sleeping” and then thanked SJSU for providing the foundation that allowed him to complete his education, experience early success as a car salesman and then build on that to the point when he could give back.

As implied by recent graduate Jasmine Rezai, who spoke at the Lucas event, it’s tough to know when you’re a busy student just how much is going on to ensure support is in place for the programs that make the college exceptional.

This was certainly true at the Jack Holland Student Success Center. As dignitaries prepared to continue the festivities by celebrating the opening of the center — named for a much loved late faculty member and funded in part by donors — students, tutors and academic advisers had already filled every available seat, working away and laying the foundation for the next generation of Spartan supporters.

A young man sitting in a conference room

Spartans at Work: At GGV Capital, I “Get to Meet Great Entrepreneurs”

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with economics alumnus Andrew Manoske.)

Where will an SJSU degree take you? How about spotting the next big thing? San Jose is the heart of Silicon Valley, where startup companies rely on venture capital to grow. Andrew Manoske, ’10 Economics, is in on the action as an associate with GGV Capital.

Based in Menlo Park with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore, GGV Capital works with U.S. and Asian companies that already have an established product, but want to take the next big step, including significant funding. This is known as expansion stage, and some of the firm’s prominent success stories include Alibaba, Pandora and Tudou (the Chinese YouTube).

For Manoske, a typical day at the office is outside the office. He regularly meets with clients, the people who “spend every waking moment thinking about how we can use technology to change the world.”

“Every day, I get to meet great entrepreneurs and other venture capitalists that are just really charged, excited, passionate about what they do,” he said.

Manoske, who minored in Computer Science, feels inspired by the people he works with on the job. He also felt inspired by the people and atmosphere of SJSU when applying to this university.

“San José State made hackers,” he said. “They made people who could take very, very little and make amazing, wonderful things out of it, and that was something that really appealed to me. ”

a woman typing on a computer in a trendy cafe

Spartans at Work: At Twitter, I Am “More Sensitive Toward the Different Perspectives” of Other Cultures

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with mass communications alumna Carolina Janssen.)

Where will an SJSU degree take you? How about a job with one of the hottest, most influential companies in the world? Carolina Janssen, ’10 Mass Communications, is part of Twitter’s International Market Development team, helping this San Francisco-headquartered service reach the rest of the world.

“I never understood how much work it really is to bring a product that was created in this country and make it work in another country,” Janssen said. “It’s not just doing the same thing there. You have to really change a lot of really small things.”

Janssen, a German native, started working at Twitter two years ago as Localization and International Support for German-speaking users. Now she is part of a diverse team, conducting market analysis, and credits her alma mater for preparing her for this role. Janssen had lived at SJSU International House, a dormitory for U.S. and international students. She also worked at I-House and at Studies in American Language, now known as International Gateways.

“San Jose State is an obviously very international university, and I think just living in this environment of people from all over the world for two years prepared me perfectly for particularly the position that I got at Twitter,” she said. “I think it also made me more sensitive toward the different perspectives that different cultures have.”

You can follow Janssen on Twitter at @lija.

SJ Mercury News: Spartans Travel to London for Olympic Torch Relay

Bay Area residents will participate in Olympic ceremonies

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News June 25, 2012.

By Molly Vorwerck

Although the upcoming Summer Olympics are being held in London, individuals from around the world, including at least five from the Bay Area, are participating in the ceremonies.

As performers and torchbearers, these Californians will contribute to the games, even if they’re not throwing a discus or swimming laps in the pool.

Audrey Rumsby, 21, of San Jose, will play the harp and portray an acrobat in a circuslike tribute to the athletes during the Olympic and Paralympic Team Welcome Ceremonies in mid-July at the Olympic Village.

Rumsby was chosen to perform with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain in a “promenade spectacle” that will feature live music, puppetry, acrobatics and poetry. The rotating cast will perform 75 30-minute shows from July 16 to July 26 for 204 Olympic teams. Two weeks later, they will perform the same shows for 170 Paralympic teams.

Rumsby, a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, is a recent graduate of the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. For the performance in the Olympic Village, the National Youth Theatre’s director, Paul Roseby, assembled a cast of 140 actors. Rumsby said she’s the only American chosen.

Barbara Rumsby, Audrey’s mother, said her daughter’s part in the Olympics serves as a source of pride for their entire family.

“Of course, we’re very excited for her,” she said. “It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it’s very exciting for all of us.”

Other Bay Area individuals involved with the London Olympics are torchbearers Cynthia Guevara, 25, and David Wang, 28, both graduates of San Jose State University and employees of The Crowne Plaza Hotel, San Jose/Silicon Valley.

The torch relay, which began on May 19 in Land’s End, England, will pass through 1,019 communities in the British Isles. Guevara and Wang are among the 8,000 torchbearers. Both will carry the torch on July 2 through Coventry, England, a borough about 95 miles northwest of London.

Since Crowne Plaza Hotels are owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group, a partner of the Olympic Games, the company was able to nominate 72 employees to carry the torch. Guevara and Wang were chosen for their frequent volunteerism. Guevara, who is anemic, donates blood and builds homes for impoverished families in the Philippines. Wang volunteers at the Second Harvest Food Bank and spearheads a soap recycling program at the hotel.

Guevara said that both of them were apprehensive about the potential physical challenges of running with the torch but were relieved when they discovered that each torchbearer only jogs less than a quarter mile.

“In our heads, we’d been like ‘oh my gosh, we’ve gotta train!'” Guevara said. “I can’t even run a mile, but luckily, its only .2 miles.”

According to Wang, though the torch bearing experience goes by quickly, it will be something he remembers his whole life, down to the standardized uniform.

“We have official uniforms,” Wang said. “They give us a run through, and that’s it. … They put you on the spot and you stand there until the next guy comes and lights your torch and you take off till you [reach] the next person.”

In addition to Guevara and Wang, Sarah Williams, 19, of Pleasanton, and Kylan Nieh, 19, of Fremont, also will serve as torchbearers. Williams and Nieh were selected through the Coca-Cola Co., which chose 22 people from across the country who have left positive impacts on their communities to participate in the relay

Wang, who is taking his wife and 2-year-old daughter to Coventry with him, is equally excited about the torch relay and his first trip to Europe.

“I’m excited about just being in a different country, but [also for] having a reason for being there, and being recognized,” Wang said. “It’ll be fun.”

Contact Molly Vorwerck at 408-920-5064.