SJSU Hosts In-Person Photo Experience to Celebrate the Class of 2021

From May 26 to May 28, San José State welcomed students from the class of 2021 and members of their families to campus to celebrate their graduation with an in-person photo experience. The graduates were also recognized through a virtual recognition event held by the university and recognition websites created by SJSU’s individual colleges.

“What a great week it’s been at #SJSU, celebrating our #SJSU21 graduates!” President Mary Papazian tweeted on the 28th. “This class is undoubtedly one of the most resilient and dedicated cohorts ever. We will remember them for the challenges they’ve overcome and the positive imprint they will leave. Well done!”

As state restrictions ease for large gatherings, SJSU will invite both the class of 2020 and the class of 2021 back to campus for a safe in-person commencement.

Whether you were able to watch the livestream from the campus or missed the events, check out this visual recap of the campus events below.


All photography is by Robert C. Bain, university photographer.

Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021


Spring graduation in-person photo experience 2021

Mother-Daughter Duo Named to San José State Honor Roll

The college experience throughout 2020-21 was anything but typical, but what makes the past academic year that much more unique is Yaneth Gutierrez and her daughter Eunice Romero — who were both recently named Dean’s Scholars in recognition of their academic excellence during the year.

Yaneth Gutierrez and her daughter Eunice Romero.

(L-R) Mother and daughter duo: Yaneth Gutierrez and Eunice Romero.

“My mother played a huge role towards me becoming a Dean Scholar,” says Romero. “It was her constant motivation and determination that really inspired me to push through the semester with great accomplishments.”

“It is truly an honor to continue achieving our educational goals alongside one another,” she added. “I am extremely excited for what the future holds for the both of us.”

Twice a year, SJSU honors undergraduate students’ outstanding academic achievements by including them in the Semester Honor Roll. The Honor Roll includes two special designations, Dean’s Scholars and President’s Scholars, which are reflected on the student’s transcript in recognition of their accomplishment.

To become a Dean’s Scholar, students must earn an SJSU GPA of 3.65 or higher for the spring and/or fall semester. President’s Scholars must achieve a 4.0 GPA for the spring and/or fall semester.

It’s not every day that a mother-daughter duo has the opportunity to share this type of accomplishment, and it’s not the first time they’ve marked a milestone together in their education. In 2018, they shared a memorable moment when graduating together from De Anza College in Cupertino.

Yaneth Gutierrez credits her daughter as her source of inspiration, even more so during the COVID-era when she struggled to concentrate and keep up with her coursework.

“By giving up easily I would be sending a wrong message to my daughter,” said Gutierrez.

“I wanted her to see that even during difficult times, we can still succeed, but only if we believe in ourselves and the changes we can make amongst us and our communities.”

Eunice Romero and Yaneth Gutierrez

Eunice Romero and Yaneth Gutierrez in regalia at their 2018 graduation ceremony from De Anza College.

In addition to the transition to remote learning, the past year was full of chaotic events and stressful challenges for Gutierrez and Romero. Gutierrez praises her SJSU professors not only for helping make learning enjoyable during these hard times but also challenging her to think beyond the problems our society faces.

And when Gutierrez faced unforeseen personal tragedy during the pandemic, her professors provided an outpouring of support. “My father lost his battle to COVID-19 on February 3, and [SJSU faculty] supported me, checked on me and encouraged me to do my best.”

Gutierrez will graduate this spring with a BA in Political Science. Romero is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and helping her father expand his welding company — which she plans to one day take over.

“[At SJSU] I have discovered an interest in entrepreneurship, and I have plans to pursue other business opportunities because I now have the necessary building blocks to pursue my career goals,” expressed Romero.

After graduation, Gutierrez plans to pursue law school, so she can help those who can’t afford legal representation.

“To me, a degree has no worth if it is not used for the betterment of everyone,” said Gutierrez. “My mother taught me that it is important to care for all, not just for a few.”

Honoring academic success

This year, SJSU students proved not even a pandemic can dampen their dedication to their academic scholarship. More than 7,900 students earned Dean’s Scholars designations and over 2,700 were named President’s Scholars — the largest number for both groups in the university’s history.

On April 23, the university hosted its 59th Annual Honors Convocation ceremony to acknowledge those undergraduates who earned the distinction of President’s Scholars. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 but resumed this year with a live-streamed virtual ceremony to commemorate these students’ achievements.

President Mary Papazian and Provost Vincent Del Casino served as hosts, with a keynote address by 2020-21 Outstanding Professor Lionel Cheruzel and congratulatory remarks from Associated Students’ Director of Sustainability Jocelyn Jones-Trammell, in addition to the Deans’ presentation of the honorees.

“Recognizing the academic success of San José State University’s top-performing students is always a delight,” said President Mary A. Papazian.

“The achievements of these scholars are an important indicator that they will make significant contributions to our society and serve as tomorrow’s civic, business and community leaders,” she added. “They are to be commended for their accomplishments and future promise.”

Spartan Speaker Series to Focus on Racism, Mental Health, Gender and More, Kicks Off Feb. 10

This semester, the San José State community can take a deep dive into topics such as racism, activism, mental health, gender and identity. The Spring 2021 Spartan Speaker Series at SJSU kicks off virtually on Wednesday, Feb. 10, with comedian, host and producer Baratunde Thurston. The entire series is free and open to the public.

Baratunde Thurston
Deconstructing Racism with Baratunde Thurston

Thurston will give his talk, “How to Deconstruct Racism and Laugh at the Same Time,” at 7 p.m. via Zoom. An Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show and even advised the Obama White House, Thurston is the author of the New York Times bestseller “How to Be Black.” He’s also the executive producer and host of “We’re Having a Moment”—a podcast examining the intersection of the global pandemic, the fight for racial justice and the spotlight on policing in the U.S—as well as “How to Citizen with Baratunde,” which offers different perspectives on how to improve society collectively.

Student Affairs, who produces the series in collaboration with the César E. Chávez Community Action Center (CCCAC), received requests for speakers focusing on racial justice, journalism and the media. “Baratunde Thurston is a wonderful choice to represent these topics,” says Adrienne Jensen-Doray, assistant director of Student Involvement. “He addresses the social and political landscape in the U.S., as well as trauma and healing. He also provides perspectives on life as an entrepreneur and a podcaster—two topics of interest to many of our students.”

When planning the series as a whole, Jensen-Doray says themes such as “racial justice and mental health and wellness were critical, given the needs and interest of our students and current events. We also considered heritage months, such as Black History Month, Women Herstory Month and Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month.”

Thurston will conclude his presentation with a Q&A.

Alok Menon

Exploring Gender and Identity with ALOK

Later in the month, Alok Vaid-Menon (ALOK) will serve as the keynote speaker for the 15th anniversary of the CCCAC. In “Beyond the Binary,” on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., ALOK, a gender non-conforming writer, performance artist and mixed-media artist, will explore themes of gender, race, trauma and belonging. They are the author of “Femme in Public” and “Beyond the Gender Binary.” In 2019, they were honored as one of NBC’s Pride 50 and Out Magazine’s OUT 100.

Since its inception in 2006, the CCCAC has sought to connect SJSU students with civic engagement opportunities that deepen educational experience while promoting a lifelong commitment to activism and social justice, which are at the heart of the legacy of César Chávez.

“As we move into thinking about the next 15 years for the CCCAC and the world, it’s important we bring a keynote speaker that represents a community not often given the platform to influence the next generation of social justice leaders,” explains Diana Victa, department manager of the CCCAC. “ALOK is the best fit because of their leadership in spreading awareness of gender identities, specifically gender non-conforming folx.”

Thea Monyee

Bridging Mental Health and Activism with Thea Monyee

The CCCAC will also present the “A Conversation with Thea Monyee: Sustaining Joy in the Midst of Social Change: Bridging Mental Health and Activism,” on Tuesday, March 2, at 3 p.m. Monyee, a poet and marriage and family therapist, self identifies as a “Black Woman Creative.” She has appeared on HBO, BET, Spectrum, OWN, Fox Soul and TV One, and her work stems from her commitment to healing, which she believes can only occur in a liberated and non-oppressive society.

“It was very important to us to address mental health this semester,” says Jensen-Doray. “Monyee does this through an activist lens, which we hope will resonate with students.”

Simon Tam

Making Trouble with Simon Tam

Finally, the series will conclude on Wednesday, April 14, at 7 p.m. with a talk by Simon Tam. In “Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court,” Tam will share how he helped expand civil liberties for minorities through the unanimous victory of the U.S. Supreme Court case, Matal v. Tam, in 2017. “He offers a unique perspective on identity and justice, as well as the intersection of arts and activism,” says Jensen-Doray.

Tam is the founder and bassist of The Slants, an all-Asian American dance rock band. He also leads the nonprofit The Slants Foundation, which supports arts and activism projects for underrepresented communities. Tam’s talk will include a musical performance, and he will take questions from participants after his talk.


Attendees of any of the talks should register ahead of time in order to receive a Zoom link.

“I hope those who attend multiple events in this series notice the commonalities and prevalence of specific advice—whether it is about forging your own path, building resilience or mentorship and the role mentors have played in our speakers’ lives,” says Jensen-Doray.

She also adds that Student Involvement seeks input from SJSU students, faculty and staff to identify pertinent themes and speakers-of-interest for the 2021-2022 series. Those interested can provide feedback here.

2020 ISSSSC Sport, Society and Social Change Conference

A single black line morphs midway into a person running with golden wings.

San José State University’s Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) will host its inaugural Sport, Society and Social Change Conference: Dream With Your Eyes Open: (Re) Imagining Sport in the Age of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.

The two-day virtual conference takes place on November 12 – 13 from 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. (PST).

Thought leaders, scholars, social change organizations, athletic administrators, athletes, and students will discuss the legacy of social activism and ways to promote social change and equity.

ISSSSC Executive Director and Associate Professor of African American Studies Akilah R. Carter-Francique says the inspiration for the conference comes from the musings of C. Wright Mills’ ‘The Sociological Imagination’ (1959). “Mills’ concept of sociological imagination promotes “the awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society.”

The event includes keynote speakers, panel discussions, presentations, and community conversations highlighting personal experiences, on-going challenges and acknowledging people, groups, and organizations’ efforts to promote social change.

“The ISSSSC wanted to create a space that brings a variety of communities together to discuss the state and role of sport locally to globally, to educate, to network, to share ideas, research and innovations, and to support one another in efforts to promote social justice and social change. We especially want to use this space to engage the next generation in the legacy of equity and social justice and to, in the words of Dr. Harry Edwards, ‘ . . . teach our children to dream with their eyes open, Carter-Francique says.

Keynote speakers on November 12

  • Shireen Ahmed, Sports Activist, Public Speaker, Writer, Independent Journalist, CA
  • Dr. Jules Boykoff, Professor and Department Chair, Political Science, Pacific University, USA
  • Dr. Amira Rose Davis, Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies, Penn State University, USA
  • Dr. Jamil Northcutt, Vice President, Player Engagement, Major League Soccer, USA

Keynote speakers on November 13

  • Dr. Algerian Hart, Associate Dean of the Graduate College and Professor of Kinesiology at Missouri State University and President (2020-2021) North American Society for the Sociology of Sport
  • Dr. Kevin Hylton, Emeritus Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure, and Education, Leeds University, UK and Chair Sheffield Race Equality Commission, UK
  • Dr. Nicole LaVoi, Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women, University of Minnesota, USA
  • Rachelle Patel, Director of Marketing and Events, Laureus Sport for Good, USA

Conference Agenda

The conference will also feature pre-recorded 5-minute lightning talks from SJSU students on topics related to sport and social justice. Students who submitted presentations are eligible for awards ranging from $50.00 to $150.00

Conference Registration

The ISSSSC will continue conversations about the legacy of social justice and equity through its “Sport Conversations for Change” webinar series, internship program and educational collaborations.

SJSU Celebrates Black History Month

The Black History Month Celebration is on February 10.

The Black History Month Celebration is on February 10.

This February, San Jose State University is recognizing Black History Month with a series of exciting and educational events. The various activities are sponsored by Student Involvement, the African American/Black Student Success Center, the Department of African American Studies, Mosaic Cross Cultural Center and Student Affairs.

Spartan Speaker Series: Reginald Dwayne Betts

Spartan Speakers Series presents Dwayne Betts, award-winning author, poet, lawyer and advocate for criminal justice reform, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. His memoir shares his experience in a Virginia prison, where he confronted solitary confinement, horrific conditions and violence before graduating from Yale Law School.

Super Sunday

President Mary Papazian and Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Day will visit three San Jose churches on Sunday, February 23, as part of the California State University’s annual Super Sunday event, an effort to engage and serve underrepresented students.

Other Upcoming Events

Special events include a film screening of Proud Family (February 17), Faculty/Staff Dinner (February 11), and the African-American Career Fair (February 22), presented by the office of Congressman Ro Khanna.

Open Mic: Black History Month
Thursday, February 6, 6-8 p.m., Diaz Compean Student Union Theatre

Black History Month Celebration
Monday, February 10, 5-7 p.m., Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom

Membership Night
Monday, February 10, 7 p.m., Diaz Compean Student Union, Room 2

Trivia Tuesday: Culture and History
Tuesday, February 11, Diaz Compean Student Union, Room 1

Faculty/Student Dinner
Tuesday, February 11, 6-8 p.m., Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom

Spring Lecture Series with Assistant Professor of Public Relations Shaun Fletcher
Wednesday, February 12

BSU Black Love Series
Wednesday, February 12

Black Is … Black Ain’t …
Thursday, February 13, 6-8 p.m., MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center

Proud Family Movie Night
Monday, February 17, Diaz Compean Student Union, Room 2A

Kusoma Book Club Meeting
Thursday, February 20, African-American Studies Department Lounge

African-American Career Fair
Saturday, February 22, 9 a.m., Diaz Compean Student Union, Room 1

Spartan Speaker Series: Reginald Dwayne Betts
Wednesday, February 26, 7 p.m., Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom

Living Thinkers Film and Podcast
Thursday, February 27, 5-5:30 p.m., MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center

Culture Showcase
Friday, February 28, 6:30 p.m.

Power Through Poetry: An Evening with Alan Pelaez Lopez
Wednesday, March 4

For more information about SJSU’s Black History Month events, please contact the Mosaic Cross Cultural Center at mosaic@sjsu.edu or the African American/Black Student Success Center at africanamericanblackssc@sjsu.edu.

 

Founder of “Me Too” Movement Tarana Burke Speaks at SJSU

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

San Jose, CA – The Spartan Speaker Series will present an evening with 2017 Time Person of the Year, Tarana Burke. She is the founder of the “Me Too” movement and has dedicated 25 years of her life to social justice. Burke will be speaking on campus Monday, Feb. 4 from 7 to 8:30 p.m at the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom. The event is free for all students, staff, faculty and community members.

The “Me Too” movement, or #MeToo movement as it is better known, began in 2017 as a hashtag on social media to bring attention to the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The movement quickly turned into an international sensation. Time recognized Burke, along with a group of other activists known as “The Silence Breakers” in its iconic Person of the Year edition in 2017.

Since 2016, the Spartan Speakers Series has aimed to present a broad range of timely content and diverse voices including distinguished authors, critics, artists, scientists and more. Past speakers have included Kamau Bell, Lisa Ling, and Ana Navarro, among others.

The next Spartan Speakers Series event will be Feb. 20 with activist and actor Bryan Terrell Clark.

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.

Insights Speaker Series Features Economists Robert Reich and Ben Stein

Media Contact:
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

San Jose, CA – Economists Robert Reich and Ben Stein will participate in a powerful and entertaining conversation on the future of the U.S. economy during San Jose State University’s Insights Speaker Series, “The Way Forward: Perspectives on the U.S. Economy.” Moderated by SJSU President Mary A. Papazian and underwritten by the Valley Foundation, this event is the second in a new university-wide speaker series that exposes the San Jose State community to a variety of perspectives in the areas of economics, business and global affairs.

The Way Forward: Perspectives on the U.S. Economy

Event Details

Tuesday, February 5
7 p.m.
Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113

Tickets

Students: Reserve your free ticket with Tower ID at the Hammer Theatre Box Office
Faculty, staff, alumni and community: $20 tickets available online

Speakers

Robert Reich, the author of 15 books and now a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, has served under three national administrations, most recently as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. In 2008, TIME magazine named him one of the 10 most successful cabinet secretaries of the past century.

Ben Stein has an eclectic background. He was a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, an actor and game show host, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and the author or co-author of more than 30 books. He is currently a regular commentator on CBS Sunday Morning, Fox News and CNN.

For more information, visit the Hammer Theatre website.


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.

 

President Papazian to Deliver 2018 Fall Welcome Address

 

Media Contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – President Mary A. Papazian will deliver the Fall Welcome Address at noon Aug. 20 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

The president will highlight significant developments including the following:

  • Record enrollment of 35,000 regular and special session students, and the appointment of 65 new tenure-track faculty members.
  • An emphasis on student success, research, innovation and graduate programs.
  • The spring 2019 completion of the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, and plans for an Interdisciplinary Science Building and a 1,600-bed residence hall.
  • The establishment of a permanent campus food pantry with Second Harvest Food Bank.
  • A commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the moment Spartans John Carlos and Tommie Smith took a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics.

All students, faculty, staff, community members and the news media are invited to attend this event. The address will be streamed live. Classes begin Aug. 21.


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. 

Influential Educator of Traditional Mexican Music and Dance Artemio Posadas to Receive Honorary Degree

Artemio Posadas (National Heritage Fellow portrait by Tom Pich)

Artemio Posadas (National Heritage Fellow portrait by Tom Pich)

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

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that Artemio Posadas, a celebrated educator of traditional Mexican music and dance, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during the College of Humanities and the Arts commencement ceremony beginning at 1:30 p.m. May 24 at the Event Center at SJSU. 

Artemio Posadas

Posadas was a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow. He was born in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, where he discovered son huasteco, regional music punctuated with poetic, instrumental and dance improvisation and falsetto breaks. The NEA posted excerpts of two lively numbers.

A graduate of the Universidad de San Luis Potosí, Posadas recorded regional sones with the late Beno Liberman for the Antología del Son Mexicano. In 1974, he started giving music and dance workshops in California, where he later became an American citizen. Since 1991, he has been teaching the youth at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, Calif.

Posadas served as a master artist through the Alliance for California Traditional Artists, and taught at the Center for Training and Careers in San Jose and in the East Bay public school system. A tremendous influence for generations, Posadas has taught musicians and dancers for 40 years.


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. 

SJSU Welcomes 33,000 Students to Fall 2017

Students return as classes begin (Photo: David Schmitz).

Students return as fall 2017 classes begin (Photo: David Schmitz).

San Jose State University is pleased to welcome 33,000 students to campus for fall semester 2017. Classes begin Aug. 23

New to SJSU are more than 4,500 frosh—that’s our largest freshman class ever—as well as more than 4,500 transfer students.

Join us in extending a warm Spartan welcome to these students plus the 60 tenure-track faculty members and 30 academic advisers who begin work here this week.

Faculty members and students began flooding campus on Monday, many donning eclipse glasses to view this rare celestial occurrence.

A group of SJSU student researchers were among the first in the nation to study the event. The meteorology majors traveled to Oregon to measure the eclipse’s impact on the weather.

Back on campus, the changes are many. More than 4,000 students moved into the residence halls Aug. 19 and 20.

A recent study shows that these days, approximately 15,000 students live within three miles of SJSU, a commuter campus no more.

Welcome events began Monday for faculty members in all the colleges, and for various student groups, including Educational Opportunity Program juniors or seniors.

They received a pep talk from Peter Khoury, ’03 Civil Engineering. First in his family to graduate and now a successful businessman, he emphasized the value of a college degree.

New banners line the road to CEFCU Stadium (Photo: David Schmitz).

New banners line the road to CEFCU Stadium (Photo: David Schmitz).

President Mary A. Papazian will deliver her second annual Fall Welcome Address at noon Aug. 24 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Papazian shared her views on current events in a recent message to campus. On Thursday, she will offer a vision for SJSU’s future, embracing liberal arts in an innovation based-economy.

Among the many other changes over the summer are major progress on the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center, and have you seen the park-and-ride shuttle buses?

How about the new street banners running from the main campus to South Campus? Check them out on your way to the first football game 4:30 p.m. Aug. 26 against USF.

President Papazian Delivers 2017 Fall Welcome Address

Media Contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – President Mary A. Papazian delivered the 2017 Fall Welcome Address to the university community at noon Aug. 24 in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

Papazian invited the audience to reimagine how San Jose State prepares Silicon Valley’s workforce and embraces the role of the liberal arts in an innovation-based economy. Read her prepared remarks.

President Papazian delivers the Fall Welcome Address Aug. 24 at the Diaz Compean Student Union ballroom. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Photojournalism).

President Papazian delivers the Fall Welcome Address Aug. 24 at the Diaz Compean Student Union ballroom (Photos: James Tensuan, ’15 Photojournalism).

Academic Senate Chair Stefan Frazier opened the event and welcome attendees. The speech is an annual tradition marking the start of the academic year.

Stefan Frazier addresses faculty and students before President Papazian's Fall Welcome Address.

Academic Senate Chair Stefan Frazier addresses the crowd.

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


About San Jose State University

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

With more than 33,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

San Jose State Commencement Celebrates 10,000 Graduates

San Jose State University concluded the year with its largest graduating class ever and a speaker who encouraged the Class of 2017 to “stand up for truth and reason” in a fast-paced and changing world.

Nearly 10,000 students received degrees this year. Among all those diplomas were 3,000 master’s degrees and 27 doctoral degrees, including the first graduating class of a new doctoral program in educational leadership.

“Your lives will change in ways that you can’t yet imagine,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “Your San Jose State degree, and the critical thinking skills you’ve gained from a caring, devoted faculty, will help you navigate that 24/7, ever-changing, unimaginably fast-moving world.”

Family members and guests arrived as early as 7:30 a.m. May 27 to find optimal seats to see graduates on the floor of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The morning fog burned off just in time for President Papazian to address the graduates on the football field.

Doctoral degrees

A ceremony highlight: the hooding of eight new doctors of education focusing specifically on educational leadership, earned while many of the new Ph.D.s worked full time.

Their goal? To grow in their careers while serving their communities as leaders of primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities.

The graduates pursued dissertations on such varied topics as project-based learning and closing the achievement gap, harkening back to the university’s roots as a teacher’s college, founded in San Francisco shortly after the Gold Rush.

Inspiring speech

Award-winning television journalist and CEO of Latinas Contra Cancer Ysabel Duron, ’70 Journalism, delivered the Commencement address, appealing to the graduates to recognize that their degrees empower them to use their voices and contribute to society.

She brought a clock and a typewriter with her to the podium, pointing out that despite changes in technology, the values of a university endure.

“An educated, diverse society is needed to address the problems of our times,” Duron said. “And even more so, it takes a well-informed society to see the issues ahead and begin to address them in a humane way.”

A pioneering Latina broadcast journalist, Duron covered regional, national and international events for 43 years, culminating in two decades as a Bay Area reporter and anchor before launching an encore career as founder of Latinas Contra Cancer.

Giving back

During the ceremony, Phil Boyce, ’66 Business Administration, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Boyce has dedicated his career as a banker, businessman and philanthropist to cultivating healthy communities.

As chairman of the board of the Valley Foundation, Boyce helped establish a simulation nursing lab and create an endowment to support what is now known as the Valley Foundation School of Nursing.

“I’d like to congratulate our graduates. You have the tools to move forward,” Boyce said. “May I suggest one thing? I’d like to see you all give back to our community and this university. We need your help, we need your knowledge.”

Proudest moment

Following the speeches, the dean for each of San Jose State’s colleges took to the podium to confer master’s and bachelor’s degrees upon the graduates. As the ceremony finished, SJSU’s newest alumni joined in singing the alma mater while guests cheered.

Perhaps the proudest moment for the thousands of graduates in attendance came at the end, as they gathered with family and friends on the field for hugs, tears and, of course, photos.

Congratulations, Class of 2017!

See and share photos and messages from commencement with #SJSU17 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Business Leader and Philanthropist Phillip R. Boyce to Receive Honorary Degree

Phil Boyce

Phillip R. Boyce (Photo: David Schmitz)

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

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that business leader and philanthropist Phillip R. Boyce, ’66 Business Administration, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 27 at CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The event will be streamed live on the university’s website.

“Through a decades-long commitment to giving back, alumnus Phillip R. Boyce epitomizes Spartan pride. In recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and dedication, the California State University Board of Trustees and San Jose State University are proud to confer upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters,” President Mary A. Papazian said.

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

Phillip R. Boyce

Boyce founded Pacific Valley Bank, serving Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, in 1975. Under his leadership as chairman and CEO, the bank grew to $1.4 billion in assets. He served as chairman and CEO of Pacific Western Bancshares, the bank’s holding company, as it evolved into Western Capital Management and eventually merged with Comerica. He has served as president of Boyce Associates since his retirement in 1994.

A 1997 recipient of San Jose State’s Tower Award and distinguished alumnus from SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, Boyce has devoted his career to investing in and cultivating healthy communities. As chairman of the board of the Valley Foundation, he helped establish a simulation nursing lab at SJSU’s School of Nursing and created an endowment to support the school, now known as the Valley Foundation School of Nursing.

Boyce has served in leadership capacities for dozens of Silicon Valley causes, including the Montalvo Center for the Arts, the Technology Center of Silicon Valley, the Community Foundation of Santa Clara County, the Hakone Foundation, the Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, and the Heritage Bank, among others. He currently serves as director of Goodwill Industries International, Inc.


About San José State University

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

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

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

 

 

Returning Student Finishes His Degree 61 Years Later

Robert Lewis George in Yosemite, 1960 (all photos courtesy of the George family).

Robert Lewis George in Yosemite, 1960 (all photos courtesy of the George family).

In May 2017, Robert Lewis George visited San Jose State to deliver his senior project to his faculty committee—61 years after first enrolling at SJSU. His final presentation, entitled “Visualizations,” detailed a photography workshop he took with Ansel Adams in Yosemite in 1960, and covered his 50-year career since leaving San Jose. The two-week workshop, which was conducted all over the park, made a lasting impact on the way George took photos—and saw the world.

“Learning with him was an anticipated challenge, a memorable experience and an appreciation of true genius,” George, age 83, writes in his senior paper. “The way he inspired me, shared his perspective, and taught us to see the photographic possibilities as well as the sheer pleasure of being with Ansel for those two weeks will be with me always.”

Though George will not be present to participate in the university’s Commencement ceremony May 27, he enjoyed visiting San Jose State for his presentation earlier this month. When asked if he recognized the campus, he said, “Only the Tower. Everything else is different.”

George originally enrolled at SJSU in 1956 after returning from the military, where one of his jobs was to take photos. Photography became especially important to him after meeting San Jose State Art and Art History Professor Morton Boss. Though he was a Life Sciences, Preparation for Teaching major at the time, his passion for photography led him in 1960 to open the Town and Country Camera store in San Jose with his father-in-law. Boss worked there for several years, maintaining a friendship with George that lasted decades.

George at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. His team won gold medal in an age bracket for players in their 80s).

Robert Lewis George at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. His team won the gold medal for its age bracket.

In the early 1970s, George and his wife moved to Oregon with their children. He sold school buses before working as a transportation consultant for Oregon’s Department of Education. Following his retirement in 1995, George and his wife wintered in Arizona and stayed busy with family, fishing and playing senior softball. Watching his children and grandchildren pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees and delighting in their success, he realized that something still remained on his bucket list: a college degree.

George worked with a team of deans, professors and evaluators at San Jose State to determine his pathway to a degree. The team included Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Wendy Ng, Associate Dean of the College of Sciences Elaine Collins, University Articulation Officer Delia Chavez and Admissions Evaluator Yvette Fierro. In early 2017, he declared a special major entitled Life Sciences Visualization with Preparation for Teaching and enrolled in an independent study course with Ng, who is also a sociology professor at SJSU.

“It feels absolutely wonderful to complete my degree,” he said. “I’m not going to get a better job because of it, I’m not going to make more money because of it—it’s just something that needed to be done. Once I identified that, then it took some work, but it was not as hard as I thought it would be. Wendy was a great mentor for me. I would do it again in a minute.”

SJSU Presents 2017 Top Seniors and Outstanding Thesis Awards

San Jose State President Mary A. Papazian will recognize this year’s top graduates at Commencement, beginning at 9:30 a.m. May 27 in Spartan Stadium. Lauren Cordova and Fatema Elbakoury have been named Outstanding Graduating Seniors for their leadership roles on and off campus, contributions to the community and personal achievements as undergraduates. Mary Okin and Paul Zimmer have received the Outstanding Thesis Award in recognition of the quality of their research.

Lauren Cordova (all photos courtesy of the students)

Lauren Cordova (all photos courtesy of the students)

Lauren Cordova, ’17 Behavioral Science and Sociology, has been involved in LGBTQ+ organizations since her freshman year at San Jose State and during a year studying abroad at the University College Dublin in 2014. In leadership positions at SJSU’s Queers Thoughtfully Interrupting Prejudice, Peers in Pride and Peer Connections, and through her work at San Jose’s LGBTQ+ Youth Space Speaker’s Bureau, Cordova has demonstrated her commitment to her fellow Spartans while maintaining a 3.846 GPA. Her research on underrepresented minority students in the College of Social Sciences, conducted alongside Professor Amy Leisenring, resulted in a paper which they presented at the Pacific Sociological Association conference in April. Cordova will be attending the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Fatema Elbakoury

Fatema Elbakoury

Fatema Elbakoury, ’17 English, has enriched San Jose State through her work as a diversity advocate intern at SJSU’s MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center, as a peer mentor through Peer Connections and as a Salzburg Scholar. She offered workshops on feminism, Islam, whiteness, transphobia, mass incarceration and body image through MOSAIC. Upon returning from Salzburg, she developed a workshop addressing complacency in the globalized world. She represented SJSU at Harvard Divinity School’s Diversity and Explorations program and Northwestern University’s Community for Human Rights conference—while maintaining a 3.974 GPA. Elbakoury was one of 47 scholarship recipients nationwide chosen by the Islamic Scholarship Fund in recognition of her work using the arts to shift the perception of Muslim Americans.

Mary Okin

Mary Okin

Mary Okin, ’11 BA Liberal Studies, ’16 MA Art History, worked for San Jose State’s Humanities Honors Program, became an SJSU Salzburg Scholar and helped develop this campus’ Cultural Showcase. She is also a California State University Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar who won awards at the San Jose State and CSU student research competitions and conducted summer research at University of California, Berkeley. Her master’s thesis, “Uncovering ‘New Man’ Feminism: Arthur F. Mathews at the San Francisco School of Design, 1890-1896,” is the first feminist reading of this 19th century California painter. She is in her first year of doctoral study at University of California, Santa Barbara, and is revising her master’s thesis for publication.

Paul Zimmer

Paul Zimmer

Paul Zimmer, ’17 Geology, analyzed 27,000 cross-sections derived from Sierra Nevada bedrock valleys in pursuit of his master’s degree in geology—challenging conventional understandings of how glacial erosion modifies the shape of mountain ranges. He developed his master’s thesis, “Assessing Glacial Modification of Bedrock Valleys in the Sierra Nevada, California, Using a Novel Approach,” by creating a new, semi-automated technique for extracting valley cross-sections from digital elevation models using custom scripts written in the programming languages MATLAB and Python. He used this approach to produce an unparalleled dataset and to validate a new method for quantifying the geomorphology of bedrock valleys.

A 1973 Graduate Returns to Participate in Commencement

When Elizabeth López learned that her uncle Jesse Musquez, ’73 Math, had completed his degree but never walked in Commencement, she asked why. As an undergraduate graduation evaluator at San Jose State’s Office of the Registrar, she knew how important it is for college students to celebrate their graduation.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in graduation,” López said. “It’s a celebration of a big achievement, and I thought he would enjoy being a part of it.”

Back in 1973, Musquez was a young father of two, with a third on the way. As a Vietnam veteran, Musquez had already overcome significant obstacles in pursuing his education. When he was a young child, his family had worked for the automotive industry in Michigan before moving out west to pick apricots, cotton and grapes in the Valley of Heart’s Delight.

Musquez family 2017

The Musquez family in the 1970s. From left to right, Christopher Daniel, Maria, Jesse, Marcos and Anna (all photos courtesy of the Musquez family).

Determined to be the first in his family to complete a college degree, Musquez put himself through school on the G.I. Bill and worked full-time to support his wife and children. Just as he was completing the final requirements for graduation, his sister-in-law passed away unexpectedly, leaving three small children. Instead of donning his cap and gown, Musquez, along with his wife and his in-laws, focused on providing care for their family—a consistent theme throughout his life.

When she heard this story, López felt moved to do something. She investigated what it would take to bring her uncle to CEFCU Stadium on May 27 in cap and gown.

Achieving the American Dream

“My father is a fantastic example of someone who came from very simple means and has accomplished so much. He is an example of the American dream,” said Musquez’s daughter Anna Martorana, ’99 Molecular Biology.

Musquez, age 73, had originally pursued math as a pathway to coding, though at the time that he graduated, there weren’t any jobs in the field. Instead he chose a career in electronics, working for several years for Fairchild Semiconductor before entering international sales.

Musquez family today

The Musquez family today.

“For being someone who picked cotton and worked in the fields to graduating from San Jose State, it’s been a long journey,” Musquez said.

Throughout his successful career, the focus has always been on family. It’s no surprise that he’ll be surrounded by 15 family members on the big day, many of them flying in from out of town.

Family man

Jesse Musquez in cap and gown

Jesse Musquez in cap and gown.

“My dad is so much about everyone else in the family,” said Martorana, who attended San Jose State as a young parent herself and now works for Novartis Pharmaceuticals. “He is the foundation of the family but he is often in the background. We’re thrilled to get this opportunity to recognize him and what he’s accomplished.”

When he went to pick up his cap and gown, surrounded by graduates of the Class of 2017, he says the excitement was palpable.

“It’s going to be fun to put on a gown and sit there with all these young people,” he said. “When I went to get my gown, you could feel the energy of all the students. You can feel their hard work and you can sense that their families have done the work to get them where they’re at. I’m happy to do this.”

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

Ysabel Duron

Ysabel Duron

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

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

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

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

Ysabel Duron

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

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

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

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


About San José State University

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

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

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

 

 

Mary A. Papazian Inaugurated as SJSU’s 30th President

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian shortly after her formal investiture ceremony (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Photojournalism).

SJSU President Mary A. Papazian shortly after her formal investiture ceremony (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Photojournalism).

At her inauguration May 4 as San Jose State University’s 30th president, Mary A. Papazian brought her father and brothers to tears when she took to the podium to describe her late mother as a teacher who inspired generations of students to excel.

“A mentor strongly encouraged my mom to pursue her doctoral degree in education at Stanford,” Papazian said in her inaugural address. “But she had already met my father at UCLA, and they married young—which is what you did in those days—and my three brothers and I were born in short order. So rather than pursue her doctoral degree, my mom earned a teaching credential.”

She said her mother prepared all her students—her own children included—for college. Papazian followed through with her mother’s dream of completing a doctorate and has eclipsed it by becoming the first woman of Armenian descent to become president of a major public university.

Spartans, educational leaders, local and state officials, faith leaders and community members gathered at 9:30 a.m. on Tower Lawn for the festivities. A recording of the event is available on the SJSU website.

Association of American Colleges and Universities President Lynn Pasquerella lauds Papazian's commitment to education (Photo: David Schmitz).

Association of American Colleges and Universities President Lynn Pasquerella lauds Papazian’s commitment to education (Photo: David Schmitz).

Chancellor Tim White secures a medallion President Papazian received to mark the occasion (Photo: David Schmitz).

Chancellor Tim White secures a medallion President Papazian received to mark the occasion (Photo: David Schmitz).

The ceremony started off with a procession of visiting honorees and SJSU community members decked out in a rainbow of regalia colors. Papazian was the last one to enter the ceremony, aptly dressed in robes of Spartan blue and gold.

“It is with enormous gratitude and deep humility that I embrace the opportunity to lead this storied institution,” she said.

Hundreds of people gathered on the sunny morning, with President Papazian’s husband Dennis, her two daughters, and extended family who traveled from as far as Taiwan and Switzerland, present to celebrate the momentous occasion. Papazian, who joined SJSU in July, was officially invested as university president in the moment when CSU Chancellor Timothy White placed a ceremonial gold medallion around her neck after dozens of campus and community members lauded her.

The theme for the morning’s festivities included the legacy of SJSU as the founding CSU campus and the promise that the university holds for the future, especially as a leader in the community.

Academic Senate Chair Michael Kimbarow, a professor of communicative disorders and sciences, and Mayor Sam Liccardo acknowledged the important connection between the campus and the neighboring community.

“A great city like San Jose is even greater for having a world-class university in its midst,” Liccardo said.

When Liccardo presented Papazian with a resolution from the city, he mentioned the exuberance and joy she expresses when she talks about the university. He touted the institution’s importance to driving innovation in the most technologically-advanced region in the world. He also noted the sense of community she has built since joining the campus.

“It’s more than just Mary’s 30 family members here today,” Liccardo said. “It’s Mary’s 35,000 family members.”

CSU Fullerton Mildred Garcia, who has known Papazian for many years, remarked on her accomplishments through the years.

“There are shards of glass on her shoulders because of all the glass ceilings she had to crash through to be here,” Garcia said, adding that Papazian joins 10 other female CSU presidents. “Welcome to the CSU, Sister Mary Papazian.”

After the event, President Papazian receives hugs from daughters Ani and Marie Papazian (Photo: David Schmitz).

President Papazian's father, Hagop Arshagouni, was among 30 family members who attended the inauguration (Photo: David Schmitz).

President Papazian’s father, Hagop Arshagouni, was among 30 family members who attended the inauguration (Photo: David Schmitz).

Papazian weaved in personal anecdotes about her background as the daughter of immigrants, as a scholar of Renaissance literature and as a mother of two with thoughts on the university’s future during her inaugural address.

She mused about how she came to lead a university in the middle of Silicon Valley that is best known for its science, technology, engineering and math programs.

“The Renaissance was a transformative moment in human history,” she said. “And we now are in the midst of another period of transformative change.”

Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and a long-time friend of Papazian’s, offered some personal reflections during the morning ceremony and lauded her commitment to education.

“It is a dedication informed by her profound empathy, moral imagination, her own lived experience and her Armenian heritage,” Pasquerella said. “She understands the link between liberal education and civic engagement….Her leadership holds a potential for the re-envisioning of the landscape of higher education because of her moral courage, intellect and commitment to the community.”

Papazian closed the ceremony with a reflection on the greatest asset of the university.

“The true greatness of San Jose State University is revealed in its people,” Papazian said during her inaugural address. “In each of you. Our people are our legacy. And they are our promise.”

 

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.

Bob Woodruff to Receive Steinbeck Award

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

SAN JOSE, CA –Journalist and philanthropist Bob Woodruff will receive the 2017 John Steinbeck Award at an event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Diaz Compean Student Union on the grounds of San Jose State University. Tickets are on sale now ($25 general / $15 SJSU faculty and staff / $10 SJSU student) at the Event Center Box Office (408-924-6333) or at ticketmaster.com.

This marks the first time in 20 years that the Steinbeck Award has been presented to a journalist with experience covering America’s foreign wars. Steinbeck was proud of his reporting on World War II and Vietnam, and like Bob Woodruff, he was an outspoken advocate for veterans.

“It’s an honor to receive an award named for one of America’s greatest storytellers; the fact that John Steinbeck turned his writer’s eye on the ravages and stories of war makes him doubly my hero,” Woodruff said.

In conversation with Dan Ashley

Dan Ashley of ABC7 News will conduct an interview with Bob Woodruff, who will be joined onstage by his wife Lee Woodruff, co-founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The event is a fundraiser for San Jose State’s new Veterans Resource Center.

While in Iraq as an embedded reporter for ABC’s World News Tonight, Bob Woodruff was seriously injured on Jan. 29, 2006, by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq. A traumatic brain injury nearly killed him.

In a miraculous recovery, just 13 months later, Woodruff returned to ABC News with “To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports.” Since then, he has reported for the network from around the globe, earning a prestigious Peabody Award.

Bob Woodruff Foundation

Together with his wife, Lee, he also runs the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families thrive long after they return home. To date, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has raised over $33 million to support veterans’ causes.

The “In the Souls of the People” John Steinbeck Award is presented by SJSU’s Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies to artists and activists whose works embody the spirit of Steinbeck’s social engagement. Previous recipients of the award include Bruce Springsteen, Arthur Miller, Dolores Huerta, Garrison Keillor, Rachel Maddow, John Mellencamp, Ken Burns and Ruby Bridges.


About San José State University

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

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