Spotlight On The Cabinet:
Vice President for University Advancement, Paul Lanning
Paul Lanning joined the Spartan Community in July 2015, bringing with him a passion for higher education and experience leading major capital campaigns in a variety of settings. Read on to learn a little more about Paul.
(Photo by: David Schmitz/San José State University)
Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born at Stanford Hospital and grew up in San Jose from second grade on, graduating from Pioneer High School after matriculating through Almaden Elementary and John Muir Junior High. I went away to college, grad school, and had a long and winding road of a career in other places before finally finding my way back to San Jose in June of 2015 when I accepted my position at SJSU.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. My hobbies include going to concerts and Giants games, wine tasting, and travel. I grew up as a baseball player and fan, and my career started in professional baseball working with the Dodgers organization (although I'm a lifelong Giants fan!). I've also been an avid amateur genealogist for 30 years or more...I love discovering the stories of my ancestry that help define who I am today.
Q. What is your favorite food?
A. Anyone who knows me knows I don't have ONE favorite food - I have many! But if I had to narrow it down to perhaps three, I'd go with a great lasagna, a gourmet burger, and authentic chicken enchiladas. I know, not the healthiest choices, but you asked!
Q. What impresses you most about the SJSU community?
A. I'm most impressed by that very word: community. This is a large, urban campus with nearly 40,000 students, faculty and staff, yet it feels like a community. There is a positive spirit here that anything is possible - fitting given that we are located in the Silicon Valley, the cradle of innovation on the planet. This is an exciting place in an exciting region, and SJSU is vital to the future of communities and industry in this region and beyond.
Q. What one thing do you wish everyone knew about SJSU?
A. In Advancement, we're working to make sure as many people as possible DO know about SJSU, and the one thing I stress above all else is how much a part of the fabric of this region SJSU is. We've grown up alongside San Jose and this valley since 1857, so we were here when covered wagons were arriving in the Santa Clara Valley, long before "silicon" was part of our vocabulary. People are starting to realize that we provide more engineers to Silicon Valley companies than any other institution, but they likely don't realize that the same can be said for teachers and nurses and so many other professions vital to any community. SJSU is the training ground for leaders across all sectors, and with more than 250,000 living alumni, including more than 160,000 alumni living and working right here in the Bay Area, we have great stories to share about what our alumni contribute to the communities in which they live and work.
Q. What is your high-level vision for SJSU in the coming year?
A. This is an exciting time. We have a new president, new leadership in many other positions on campus, and renewed energy behind our relationships with city, regional, and industry leaders. SJSU is stepping up to take its place at the table in major issues that affect our campus and our community. My hope for the coming year is that we continue building toward a revitalized image for the university, we continue our outstanding progress in attracting new resources to the campus through increased philanthropy and corporate partnerships, and that we continue to find ways to engage alumni, business, and community leaders through innovative approaches and partnerships. The revitalization of the Hammer Theater as a partnership between SJSU and the City of San Jose is just one example of what's possible when we think creatively and proactively about how we can be a partner in critical local and regional initiatives that benefit campus and community. We have tremendous untapped potential as the only public university serving the Silicon Valley. Now is the time to unlock that potential.
Q. The campus community would be surprised to know...
A. ...that I am a direct descendant of Sir Geoffrey Chaucer, the legendary poet known as the "father of English literature." His best known work today is The Canterbury Tales, and he is credited with popularizing the English vernacular at a time (the 1300s) when most literature was in French or Latin. He is my 20x great-grandfather on my paternal grandmother's line. I've always been drawn much more to writing and history than to math and science...maybe this is why!