Distinguished Alumni

Arts and Entertainment

  • Coby Bell, '97 Radio/TV/Film, actor and producer who has appeared on television shows Burn Notice and Third Watch
  • Mary Blair, artist, graphic designer and illustrator who helped create Disney's Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953)
  • Irene Dalis, '46, former Metropolitan Opera star and founder of Opera San José, Tower Award 1974
  • Robert Graham, internationally acclaimed sculptor whose work includes the Olympic Gateway in Los Angeles
  • Edith Harvey Heron, '18 & '29 (1895-1980), watercolorist
  • Jerry Juhl, (1937 - 2005), head writer and producer for The Muppets and Fraggle Rock
  • Omar Benson Miller, actor
  • Stevie Nicks, member of Fleetwood Mac
  • Steve Silver, founder of Beach Blanket Babylon, a popular cabaret show in San Francisco
  • Tom and Dick Smothers, popular comedy duo
  • Luis Valdez, '64 (English), prize-winning playwright, film actor and director

Business

  • Donald Beall, retired chairman and CEO of Rockwell
  • Charles W. "Chuck" Davidson, major Bay Area home builder, and chair of the SJSU Tower Foundation
  • Robert Foster (BA public administration), president of Southern California Edison, CSU trustee (1997 - 2006); elected mayor of Long Beach in 2006
  • Robert W. Foy, former chairman of the board, California Water Service Group
  • Charles Gingold, vice president, Discovery Channel
  • Carl Guardino, president and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • William Hauck, '63 (BA social science), president of California Business Roundtable, CSU trustee (1993 - 2014)
  • Omid Kordestani, Google's senior VP for Global Sales and Business Development
  • Donald Lucas, retired founder of the Lucas Dealership Group, and philanthropist
  • Jessica McClintock, fashion designer
  • Jenny Ming, former president, Old Navy
  • Gordon Moore, philanthropist and founder of Intel Corporation
  • Barry Swenson, 1963 (Accounting) Barry Swenson Builder
  • Peter Ueberroth, 1959 (Business), former Baseball Commissioner, head of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Time Man of the Year for 1984

Education

  • Charles W. Childs, 1867, San José State Normal School principal, 1889-96
  • Dr. Marshall "Mark" Drummond, (BS Management and Economics, and MBA), former chancellor of the California Community College system, former chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, former president of Eastern Washington University and currently Provost of Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
  • John Maupin, president, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • William Pence, National Science Teachers Association “Outstanding Biology Teacher”
  • Margaret Shallenberger McNaught, 1880, first state commissioner of elementary schools, first woman to teach in the School of Education at Stanford University (1891)
  • Henry Zuzallo, 1895, (former) president of the University of Washington

Journalism

  • Valerie Coleman-Morris, former anchor for CNN Financial News
  • Eric Grigorian, photojournalism, recipient of the 2002 World Press Photo of the Year Award
  • David Willman, 1978 (B.A. in Journalism), Los Angeles Times reporter who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting

Literature

  • Lorna Dee Cervantes, poet and author of Drive: The First Quartet and other poetry collections, and numerous anthologized poems
  • James D. Houston - author of Farewell to Manzanar, Continental Drift, Snow Mountain Passage, and others; Lurie Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at SJSU in Spring 2006
  • Jayne Ann Krentz (Master's in Library Science) author; also writes under Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle and others
  • Edwin Markham, 1872, poet (1852-1940)
  • Sandra McPherson - poet
  • Amy Tan, 1972 (B.A. English and Linguistics), novelist, author of The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate, and others

Olympic Medalists

  • Kevin Asano, judo, 1988, silver
  • Chuck Adkins, boxing, 1952, gold
  • Bob Berland, judo, 1984, silver
  • John Carlos, track and field 200 meters, 1968, bronze
  • Jim Doehring, track and field shotput, 1992, silver
  • Lee Evans, track and field 4x400 meters & 400 meters, 1968, two gold medals
  • Steve Hamann, water polo, 1984, silver
  • Mitch Ivey, swimming, silver in 1968 and bronze in 1972
  • Marti Malloy, judo, 2012, bronze
  • John Powell, track and field discus, bronze in 1976 and 1984
  • Ronnie Ray Smith, track and field 4x100 meters, 1968, gold
  • Tommie Smith, track and field 200 meters, 1968, gold
  • Willie Steele, track and field broad jump, 1948, gold
  • Jill Sudduth, synchronized swimming, 1996, gold
  • Mike Swain, judo, 1988, bronze
  • Lynn Vidali, swimming, silver in 1968 and bronze in 1972

Politics and Law Enforcement

  • Ralph Abascal, founding director of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment and the 1995 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award
  • James T. Beall, Jr., (BA in Political Science) California Assemblyman; San José City Council 1980 - 1994; Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors (District 4) 1994 - 2006
  • Lee P. Brown, 1964 (Masters in Sociology) former mayor of Houston; professor; law enforcement
  • Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, the first Native American to serve in the U.S. Senate
  • Albert E. Carter, 1903, (former) U.S. congressman (Oakland)
  • Mike Deaver, influential member of Ronald Reagan's staff in California and the White House
  • Robert C. Doerr, (former) mayor of San José (mayor during SJSC's Centennial year - 1957)
  • Robert Foster (BA public administration), CSU Trustee (1997 - 2006); elected mayor of Long Beach in 2006-2014
  • Leslie C. Francis, 1965 (BA in Social Science) and 1966 (Secondary Teaching Credential) Democratic political consultant. Served in the Carter administration
  • Congressman Mike Honda, 1968 (BA Biological Sciences and Spanish; MA Education, 1974) representing San José
  • Lou Henry Hoover, 1893 (1874-1944), first lady (Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. President)
  • Nancy McFadden, deputy chief of staff in the Clinton Administration; executive secretary for legislation, appointments, and policy to Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
  • Gaylord A. Nelson, 1939 Political Science; 1960 Honorary Master of Arts degree; founder of Earth Day, former U.S. Senator and governor of Wisconsin
  • Lyn Nofziger, 1950 (BA in Journalism) (1924 - 2006), aide to Governor Reagan, advisor to Presidents Nixon and Reagan, campaign advisor for Steve Forbes and Pat Buchanan
  • Ed Rollins, political strategist
  • Laurie Smith, first California female sheriff, Santa Clara County
  • Fernando Torres-Gil, 1970 (BA in Political Science) first assistant secretary for aging at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration; currently associate dean of the School of Public Affairs at UCLA
  • Susanne B. Wilson, former member of San José City Council and Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors; recipient of the SJSU Tower Award in 1996
  • Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Supervisor; San José City councilmember, District 6

Science/Engineering

  • Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby sound systems
  • Dian Fossey, 1954 (Occupational Therapy) (1932-1985) gorilla researcher, author, teacher
  • Gordon Moore, founder of Intel Corporation, "Moore's Law" creator
  • Ed Oates, 1968 (Science/Math) co-founder of Oracle

Sports

  • Tariq Abdul-Wahad (Art History Major; attended SJSU as Olivier Saint-Jean), player for Dallas Mavericks
  • John Carlos, 1970, "Speed City" athlete and bronze medal winner in the 200-meter race at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City; USATF Hall of Fame (2003)
  • Rashied Davis, player for Chicago Bears
  • Steven DeBerg, former NFL quarterback
  • Harry Edwards, sports sociologist, activist, professor, and sports consultant
  • Jeff Garcia, former NFL quarterback
  • George Frederick Haines, 1950, (1924 - 2006), swim coach, founder of the Santa Clara Swim Club, 3 time head coach of US Olympic swim team
  • Pat Hurst, pro golf
  • Julie Inkster, pro golf
  • Patty Sheehan, pro golf
  • Tommie Smith, 1968, "Speed City" athlete and gold medal winner in the 200-meter race at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City; USATF Hall of Fame (1978)
  • Yosh Uchida, SJSU judo coach, entrepreneur
  • Ken Venturi, pro golf
  • Dick Vermeil, 1958 (BA) and 1959 (MA), coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, former coach St. Louis Rams
  • Bill Walsh, former head coach and general manager/vice president of the San Francisco 49ers; former head coach of Stanford football team