San Jose State University

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San José State University, commonly shortened to San Jose State and SJSU, is the oldest university in what became the California State University system. The urban campus has an enrollment of about 30,000 students, and claims to have more graduates working in Silicon Valley than any other college or university.



Missing image
Tower Hall, the most recognizable building at SJSU

The main campus is a rectangular area in downtown San Jose, California, bordered by San Fernando Street (north), Fourth Street (west), San Salvador Street (south), and Tenth Street (east).

The original Washington Square campus consisted of a rectangular, wooden building with a central grass quadrangle. The wooden buildings were destroyed by fire in 1880, and were replaced by a stone and masonry structure of roughly the same configuration in 1881. This building was declared unsafe following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and was in the process of being torn down when an aftershock of the magnitude that was predicted to destroy the building occurred and no damage was observed. The demolition was stopped, and the portions of the building still standing were made into four halls: Tower Hall, Morris Dailey Auditorium, Washington Square Hall, and Dwight Bentel Hall. These four buildings are the oldest on campus.

Missing image
Paseo San Carlos runs through campus, along the former route of San Carlos Street

Formerly, San Carlos Street, Seventh Street and Ninth Street crossed the campus, creating essentially six small schools separated by roads clogged with traffic. Beginning in the fall of 1994, the streets were closed and converted to pedestrian walkways and green belts within the campus. San Carlos Street was renamed Paseo San Carlos, Seventh Street became El Paseo de César Chávez, and Ninth Street is now called the Ninth Street Plaza. As of 2004, all the dorms on the main campus are scheduled to be torn down and replaced with updated student housing. Three of the six brick blockhouses have been demolished, and the phase one of the new student village is scheduled to be completed in 2005. Following the completion of phase one, the remaining blockhouses and Joe West Hall will be demolished and replaced with phase two of the project.

The university boasts a year-round, outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool that is the largest in Northern California. The Event Center has basketball and racquetball courts, a small weight room, and a climbing wall. It also plays host to rock concerts and other events. The student union features a bowling alley and large game room.

Spartan Stadium, the other athletic fields, additional student housing and overflow parking are located on the South Campus on Seventh Street, about 1.5 miles south of the main campus.

San Jose State maintains a facility at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport as part of the Aviation Department, and manages the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Moss Landing, California, on the Monterey Bay, a cooperative research facility of seven CSU campuses.


As a university of the California State University System, San Jose State falls under the jurisdiction of the California State University Board of Trustees and the Chancellor of the California State University. The current Chancellor is Charles B. Reed.

The chief executive of San Jose State is the President of San Jose State University. The current president is Don Kassing, who was appointed to the position on May 11, 2005 after serving as acting president for less than a year. He had been filling in for Paul Yu, who assumed the presidency on July 15, 2004, and resigned a little over two weeks later on August 2, 2004. Officially, Yu resigned due to health reasons. The University Provost is the head of the academic affairs department of the university. Marshall Goodman "resigned" from this position in Fall 2004. Carmen Sigler took over as interim provost.

San Jose State offers 69 bachelors degrees with 81 concentrations, and 65 masters degrees with 29 concentrations.

The university has eight colleges:

  • Applied Sciences & Arts [1] (
  • Business [2] (
  • Education [3] (
  • Engineering [4] (
  • Humanities & the Arts [5] (
  • Science [6] (
  • Social Sciences [7] (
  • Social Work [8] (

as well as schools of Journalism, Library & Information Science [9] (, Music & Dance, and the Office of International and Extended Services [10] (, which coordinates continuing education and professional development programs.


The campus has approximately 30,000 students. It is one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation, with large Asian (particularly Filipino and Vietnamese) and Latino enrollments. The majority of students are commuters who live outside the immediate area of the campus. As a result, student participation in campus and university activities is quite low for a university of its size. For example, voter turnout for Associated Student elections is generally less than 2,000 [11] ( Additionally, sporting events are poorly attended, even though students receive free tickets. The football program is in danger of losing NCAA Division I-A standing because of the attendance requirement. In 2004, the average crowd at home football games numbered about 6,000, significantly lower than the NCAA required average attendance of 15,000. The football team lost more than $500,000 on a single day in the disastrous Read-2-Lead Classic in September 2004.

The engineering, science and business schools claim to have more graduates in Silicon Valley than any other school in the U.S.

The school newspaper, the Spartan Daily, was founded in 1934, and is published five days a week when classes are in session. KSJS, 90.5 FM, is the university's radio station. Broadcasting with 1500 watts 24 hours a day, KSJS is a student-training ground that features five different types of music (electronic, urban, jazz, subversive rock and rock en espanol), as well as a variety of public affairs programming.

Faculty and research

The Central Classroom Building
The Central Classroom Building

San Jose State has about 1,600 faculty members, 87 percent of which hold doctorate degrees.

Research collections located at SJSU include the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies and the Martha H. Cox Center for Steinbeck Research.

SJSU research partnerships include the SJSU Metropolitan Technology Center at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, the Cisco Networking Laboratory, and the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

It is also home to various institutes, such as the Mineta Transportation Institute. Since 2001, the university has operated the Survey and Policy Research Institute (SPRI), which conducts the quarterly, high-profile Silicon Valley Consumer Confidence Survey and other research projects.

Noted faculty members

  • Elbert Botts -- chemist, inventor of the epoxy used to secure Botts dots.
  • Mark Fruin -- expert on Japanese business
  • Alejandro L. Garcia [12] ( -- physicist, author of Numerical Methods for Physics
  • Larry Gerston -- political commentator, expert on California politics and co-author of Recall: California's Political Earthquake
  • Daniel Goldston -- mathematician, develops methods for proving that there are arbitrarily large primes that are unusually close together
  • Kevin Jordan -- psychologist, works closely with NASA in developing the Human Factors Research and Technology Program
  • Tom Layton -- archaeologist, documented origin of the shipwreck "Frolic" off the Mendocino coast, for which he has received national media attention
  • Rudy Rucker -- computer science professor and science fiction author
  • Randall Stross - author of eBoys, Microsoft Secrets and Steve Jobs and the NeXT Big Thing
  • Yoshihiro Uchida -- head coach, SJSU Judo Team, 1964 U.S. Olympic Judo Team (also an alumnus -- BS Biology, 1947)
  • Donald West -- chemist, co-author of Analytical chemistry, an introduction, the standard first year textbook in the field


Missing image
Bell commissioned for the California Normal School in 1862

San Jose State was founded in 1857 as Minns' Evening Normal School, as a city funded normal school in San Francisco, California, and is the oldest public institution of higher learning on the west coast. In 1862, the California legislature took possession of the school, renaming it the California State Normal School. The school moved to San Jose in 1871, becoming San Jose Normal School, and was given Washington Square Park at Fourth and San Carlos Streets to locate their campus, where it remains.

In 1921, the legislature changed the school's name to San Jose Teachers Training College. In 1935, the name was changed again, this time to San Jose State College. In 1961, SJSC joined the California State College System (later the California State University (CSU) system). In 1972 SJSC was granted university status, and the name was changed to CSU, San Jose. In 1974 the name was changed again, this time to San Jose State University.

In 1942, the old gym (now Yoshi Uchida Hall) was used to register and collect Japanese Americans before sending them to internment camps.

The English Department has sponsored the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest since 1982.

In 1999, San Jose State and the City of San Jose agreed to combine their main libraries to form a joint City/University library located on campus, the first known collaboration of this type in the United States. The combined library faced opposition, with critics stating that the two libraries have very different objectives and that the project would be too expensive. [13] ( [14] ( Despite opposition, the project proceeded, and the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Library opened on-time and on-budget in 2003.


The university has participated in athletics since it fielded a baseball team in 1890. SJSU sports teams are known as the Spartans, and compete in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in NCAA Division I (I-A for football). The school has achieved an international reputation in judo, having won 38 out of 42 national championships in the sport (as of 2004). Additionally, SJSU students and alumni have won more than half of the U.S.'s olympic medals in judo.

On December 7, 1941, the football team travelled to the island of Oahu to play the University of Hawaii. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the game was cancelled and the team volunteered for duty with the Honolulu Police Department instead of returning home.

On April 21, 2004, the Academic Senate voted in favor of terminating the 110 year old football program and withdrawing from the WAC for budgetary reasons. The following month, the entire faculty voted by a 3-1 margin in favor of the elimination of football. Although these votes were only advisory, they were seen as putting pressure on the new president, due to be announced later that week. The university has had problems with the football program for several decades. The university has produced just one winning record in football following the 1990 season. Additionally, Spartan Stadium will require significant upgrades in the near future for the university to stay in Division 1-A.

On September 18, 2004, the SJSU Spartans football team hosted the "Read-2-Lead Classic," an event designed to boost attendance and save the program. The university expected a sell-out of 28,000. The paid attendance was less than 11,000. The Spartans ended the 2004 season with an average attendance of less than 7,000, the lowest in all of Division I-A football. Although the administration has announced another attempt to save the program, local insiders have all but written it off.

SJSU alumni have won 18 Olympic medals through the years, dating back to the first gold medal won by Willie Steel in track and field in the 1948 Olympics. Alumni have won medals in track and field, swimming, judo and boxing. Due to the pressure to maintain funding for football, several of these programs have been eliminated, including the historical track team known as "Speed City" which produced Olympic medalists and social activists John Carlos and Tommie Smith.


Noted alumni

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The College of Engineering Building

External links

Template:Western Athletic Conference


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