Stepping Away from the Presidency

Dear Campus Community,

On September 25, after thoughtful consideration and discussions with my family, I made the decision to step away as president of San José State University at the end of the fall semester. I truly love this university and believe this choice will allow the focus going forward to be on our talented, diverse, and outstanding campus. I will conclude my tenure as president on December 21, 2021.

It has been my great honor and privilege to work with the exceptional SJSU students, faculty, alumni, and community partners. The dedication of our faculty, staff, and administrative leaders to the success of all of our students helped SJSU be named the #1 Most Transformative University by Money magazine. Thank you all for your commitment to the educational aspirations of our extraordinary students and ensuring that the promise of higher education is realized.

One special quality of our campus community is the enormous love and respect it has for all people, and that love and respect is reflected in the work that our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has completed since its inception in 2016. Our campus community has been striving to be a diversified workplace that is reflective of its student population. I trust that our council of nearly fifty campus leaders will implement our action plans targeting systemic racism in the months ahead.

Your tireless commitment to excellence and to each other has enabled us to maximize partnerships with industry and technology giants and provide the SJSU community access to innovative student-focused resources. Your collective work has allowed the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of our students, faculty, and staff to thrive.

The health and safety of the SJSU campus community remains a priority for me and our university. I will continue to participate in and support the ongoing external Title IX Procedural Investigation and investigations surrounding former SJSU Director of Sports Medicine Scott Shaw. This transition does not impact our intention and obligation to understand what occurred and how the university responded at the time. I made a promise to our community and to the affected student-athletes and their families, and I plan to honor it. My heart, apologies and prayers continue to be with those students who suffered a breach of trust during their time at the university.

I am incredibly grateful to the entire SJSU community for the opportunity to serve at what I consider to be one of the best universities in the country. In my first address to the campus community more than five years ago, I encouraged you to believe in an aspirational vision for the future — in our mission, our students and our community — what is possible and seemingly impossible — I encourage you to keep believing in the vision, yourself and each other.

Thank you again for the privilege of learning from and working with you. I look forward to connecting with you in the days ahead. 

With much appreciation,



Dr. Mary A. Papazian