A Message from President Mary Papazian

Commenting on the January launch of SJSU’s Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change, the Mercury News editorial board noted that the late Bill Walsh, ’55, once said his proudest accomplishment “wasn’t Super Bowl wins or his Hall of Fame players, but discovering ‘excellence and achievement not despite our diversity, but precisely because of it.’”

Coming from a quintessential Spartan, this insight reveals an essential truth about our university: Spartans embrace challenges. Continually, we seek ways to make things better. And our diversity makes us stronger.

Photo: David Schmitz

Coach Walsh would have recognized many kindred spirits in this issue of Washington Square.

As a great-grandchild of Armenian immigrants, I was inspired by three SJSU history lecturers whose multicultural lens on American history deepens the learning experience for their students. As a student of literature, I am captivated by Art Professor Robin Lasser’s unique approach to storytelling through performance art, which “allows us more space to turn towards an issue rather than away from it.”

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, ’82 Chemistry, also a grandchild of immigrants, offers intriguing insights on diversity and innovation, and reveals his determination to be a “light of change” in the tech industry.

SJSU’s influence on innovation in Silicon Valley isn’t limited to technology. Several years after SJSU joined a multi-campus CSU doctoral degree program for nursing practitioners, we meet one of its first graduates—aptly named Mercy—described by a former graduate instructor as “the kind of person who goes all the way with her patients, the kind of nurse that never gives up.”

And, finally, we are introduced to “Dreamers”—students who are bravely navigating their way through college with the help of a caring community.

Quintessential Spartans, all! You will be moved by their stories.


Mary A. Papazian, Ph.D.
San José State University

I look forward to hearing from you. Please share your thoughts by emailing me.

Jody Ulate

Jody Ulate, '05 MA English, is editor of the Washington Square blog and printed alumni magazine.

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