Alumni Group Also Makes Proposal to CSU Alumni Council to Consider Cal State Identities for Major CSU Football Schools Like Fresno State and San Diego State
SAN JOSE, CA (Sept. 9, 2011) – For the first time ever, a group of San Jose State alumni has applied to create an official CSU-branded chapter of the San Jose State University Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association’s
Executive Committee rejected the application, the group quickly appealed the decision to the Association’s entire Board in a 2-page letter outlining legal and other issues. The name of the proposed chapter is the CSU Alumni of San Jose
State. The same group has submitted a proposal to the statewide California State University Alumni Council to consider the adoption of Cal State identities at all of the system’s major football schools, including San Jose State, Fresno State
and San Diego State. “Many alumni believe San Jose State’s failure to recognize its California State heritage and identity does a disservice to the school, its students and alumni,” said Michael Harold, the group’s president. “This school is the founding campus of the entire Cal State system and we should recognize California’s role and identity at its oldest campus of higher education. A CSU-branded alumni chapter will surely benefit students and grads as
the California State University is much better known regionally and nationwide than just San Jose.” The group also believes the entire CSU system would benefit if other campuses like Fresno State and San Diego State would also adopt unique Cal State identities, making the system more like the University of California system where both
Cal and UCLA represent the state. For example, a new more unified and cohesive CSU system might include football powerhouse schools with identities like “California State” in San Jose, “CSU Valley” in Fresno and “Southern California
State” in San Diego, or other Cal State identities chosen by those campuses. The California Legislature created what is now called San Jose State as the California State Normal School, on May 2, 1862. The institution that became both SJSU and the CSU system continued to be called the California State Normal
School or “State Normal School at San Jose” until 1921. The school was renamed the California State University, San Jose in 1972, but the SJSU alumni association convinced a few legislators to rename the school to “San Jose State
University” in 1974. The SJSU Alumni Association is aware of our genuine desire to create affinity with SJSU, grow school pride and connect alumni” said Mike Hentrich, the group’s Executive Vice President. Hentrich said the group supports continued use of
the “San Jose State” name if some alumni want that, but wants a CSU-branded chapter to help organize pro-CSU alumni. “With a CSU alumni chapter and/or a “California State” identity, university marketers have more options when promoting the school and it’s educational and athletic programs.” said Hentrich. “We envision a time when the school, marketed
as one of the “flagship” campuses of the CSU, will play UC Berkeley in an annual rivalry football game similar to the popular annual “Civil War” match-up between Oregon State and Oregon. The movement behind these initiatives was founded by those graduates who petitioned for the CSU/San Jose State identity Student Initiative on the SJSU student ballot in March of 2007. Some 606 students, 25% of those who voted, cast
their ballots for the Initiative to restore a CSU identity at the school, while also maintaining the “San Jose State” identity. Mr. Harold said students and alumni from campuses as far south as Fullerton and as far north as Sonoma have expressed support for a restored “California State” football identity at San Jose, so the CSU would have a counterweight to UC-Berkeley’s “California” identity.
“We have asked the CSU Alumni Council in Long Beach to allow us to present in person a plan to initiate a statewide shift to CSU identities at the three big football campuses,” said Harold. Those three campuses, San Jose, Fresno, and
San Diego could mirror the University of California’s “Cal” and UCLA identities, said Harold. The group is also very passionate about the history of the CSU and San Jose State. On April 30, 2011 they held a celebration on the San Jose State campus for the 149th anniversary of the founding of the Cal State Normal School by the
California Legislature. They are currently working with Aaron Moore, the CSU’s Director of Alumni Relations, for the CSU’s support for an even bigger event on the 150th next year. The proposed group has close to 2,000 online members though it’s social networking groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo and other social networking platforms. For more information, please visit www.csualumni.org.