- Don Kassing
Former SJSU President
San José State University
As president of San José State University from 2004 to 2008, Don W. Kassing has been nothing less than remarkable. His presidency inspired significant change and resulted in phenomenal progress throughout the campus. His previous 11 years as San José State’s vice president for administration and finance were marked by the successful design, construction and opening of two SJSU landmark facilities: the award-winning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, in partnership with the city of San José; and the Campus Village, a state-of-the-art residence complex for students, faculty and staff.
Upon his appointment as president, Mr. Kassing made judicious changes in the senior management team; led the campuswide Vision 2010 strategic planning; strongly supported improved services for students; established open and meaningful communications with faculty; stabilized funding for athletics; and catalyzed dramatic increases in private fundraising, with a record-breaking $50.5 million garnered in 2006-07. This banner year capped a three-year giving total of $100 million. During his tenure, the university received high praise from its accrediting body, which cited significant progress in many areas and “above all, dramatic changes in culture, energy and focus on campus.”
Don W. Kassing’s confidence in the abilities of SJSU faculty and staff, his high expectations and his unrelenting emphasis on the best for the university and its students led to a remarkable transformation of San José State University. He had intended to serve as interim president for only two years. However, he was appointed as the president and persuaded by the campus community and the CSU system office to stay longer because his leadership was so valuable to the university’s bold forward movement. San José State, the CSU system and the state of California are all better off because of his decision to stay the additional years.
In recognition of his extraordinary commitment to San José State University, capping a career of 33 years in higher education, the Board of Trustees of The California State University and San José State University are proud to confer upon Don W. Kassing the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.