Friday, April 25, 2008

SJSU Names Presidential Candidates

SJSU Public Affairs: Three Finalists Named for San José State Presidency
(April 25, 2008) – The California State University today named three finalists for the presidency of San José State University. The finalists and the dates they will visit the campus for all-day meetings with various groups are:

  • Elizabeth S. Grobsmith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of anthropology, Northern Arizona University, will visit the campus on Tuesday, May 6.
  • Jon S. Whitmore, president, Texas Tech University, will visit the campus on Wednesday, May 7.
  • Eduardo M. Ochoa, provost, and vice president for Academic Affairs, Sonoma State University, will visit the campus on Thursday, May 8.

Each of the three finalists will spend a day on campus meeting faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community. An open forum will be held daily for the campus community from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Engineering Room 189.

There will be daily media availability during the campus visit from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Clark Hall 300, Cypress Room. Media, please contact Pat Lopes Harris, (408) 924-1748.

"Each of the candidates brings a stellar academic background and impressive leadership experience needed to head a vibrant, diverse and forward-moving campus like San José State," said CSU Trustee William Hauck, chair of the presidential search committee.

The new president will succeed retiring President Don W. Kassing, who has been president since 2004.

The CSU Board of Trustees will interview the four finalists on May 12 and name the new San José State president later that week. The trustees will set the president’s salary at a subsequent board meeting. The new president would begin in the summer.

Grobsmith has served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and as a tenured professor of anthropology at Northern Arizona University since 2002. She was dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Utah State in 2001, and served as the dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, from 1996 to 2001. Grobsmith held a number of positions at University of Nebraska-Lincoln during her 17-year tenure including associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, assistant dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and professor of anthropology.
She holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s degree in music from The Ohio State University.

Whitmore has served as president of Texas Tech University since 2003 where he also holds a professorship in theatre. From 1996 to 2003, Whitmore served as provost and professor of theatre arts at the University of Iowa, and was dean, College of Fine Arts, at the University of Texas at Austin from 1990 to 1996. Whitmore was also dean, Faculty of Arts and Letters, at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1985 to 1990 where he was also a professor of theatre. Whitmore was affiliated with West Virginia University from 1974 to 1985, where he served as interim dean for the College of Creative Arts, interim director of the Creative Arts Center, faculty member, and as assistant to the president.
His Ph.D. is in theatre history from the University of California, Santa Barbara; his master’s and bachelor’s degrees are in speech, Washington State University.

Ochoa, who has been provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Sonoma State since 2003, was previously dean, College of Business Administration, Cal Poly Pomona from 1997 to 2003. From 1984-1997, Ochoa held a variety of positions at California State University, Los Angeles, including acting dean, School of Business and Economics, associate dean, External Programs, chair, of the Department of Economics and Statistics, and as a professor of economics. He was also a lecturer in economics at California State University, Fresno from 1981-1984.
His Ph.D. and master’s degrees in economics are both from the New School for Social Research; master’s degree in nuclear science and engineering, from Columbia University, and bachelor’s degree in physics and philosophy, from Reed College.

For more information on the candidates, go to

San José State is the Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 32,000 students and 5,700 employees. The campus is the number one supplier of engineering, education, computer science and business graduates to the area. The oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast and one of the largest CSU campuses, it has been ranked among the top 10 public colleges and universities in the West that offer a full range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 89,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See

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