University honors record number of students at convocation

by Apr 27, 2009 12:00 am

Dave Lawrence

A record number of SJSU students were honored for their academic achievements at the 47th annual honors convocation ceremony Friday evening at the Event Center.

"Honors convocation is a celebration in honor of our students who have attained academic excellence," said Jessica Tran, the chair of the convocation's planning committee.

The ceremony honored SJSU President's Scholars and Dean's Scholars, students who earned a 4.0 and 3.65 or higher grade point average in at least two contiguous semesters in the three prior to this year's ceremony.

Tran said more than 2,700 students were honored this year, a record number.

"I believe we will have more honorees present this year, so I think it's going to be a great event tonight," she said.

The event began with a faculty processional in full regalia, underscored by the SJSU Wind Ensemble conducted by Edward Harris, as well as a performance of "America the Beautiful," sung by Assistant Professor Layna Chianakas.

After introductions and speeches by Provost Carmen Sigler and the college deans, honorees filed on stage and were able to briefly introduce themselves and thank those who helped them achieve academic success.

"It feels really good to be honored," said Paula Silva, a senior social science major. "I'm graduating, so it's nice to have that last hooray before you go. I think it's great that they honor the students, it makes you want to work harder."

The event also featured a keynote address by Emily Wughalter, SJSU's Outstanding Professor of the Year for 2008-2009.

Wughalter congratulated the honorees and spoke about the importance of education and academic success, and how her personal educational experiences shaped her life and the lives of others.

Matthew Schwartz, an undeclared sophomore, said he was happy his family was able to attend the ceremony. His mother, father and brother were there with thousands of other families in the audience.

"It feels nice to have your work recognized and appreciated," Schwartz said. "And it's always nice to have the family come out on a nice evening."

Anthony Ricalde, an SJSU alumnus and the technical services coordinator for the Event Center, said the event ran smoothly this year. He said he was impressed with the turnout this year, but was worried about the attendance of next year's ceremony.

"It's always amazing to see how San Jose State excels at getting people above a 3.65 GPA," he said. "It's also sad at the same time that next year it probably won't be as prosperous, as we're decreasing the amount of people coming into San Jose State. I don't know if that encourages people to look for better jobs and to better excel in school, or if it discourages them, knowing that there might not be anything out there for them."

Tran said that events like honors convocation are a huge benefit to the campus.

"I think the San Jose State community will see the results of their hard work," she said. "These students have worked so hard to achieve the status of President's Scholar and Dean's Scholar. I think they will see what impact their professors, or their families or even their friends have on their education here."

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