Dr. David Furst

I caught up with Dr. David Furst, SJSU Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology, and we talked about his long career here, and particularly about the ways he gives back to SJSU, even in retirement. But first… did you know that Dr. Furst, who has been a competitive distance runner for over 40 years, ran the fastest 5K in the US within his age group in 1991, and won the National Cross Country Championship in the seniors division in 1996?

From 1987 to 2007, Dr. Furst taught graduate courses here in sport psychology and research methods, and undergraduate courses in sport psychology, sport sociology, and stress management. His primary areas of research included endurance athletes, attentional focus, and altered states of consciousness, his essays appearing in national and international sport psychology journals. 

But when you talk with Dr. Furst about his accomplishments, he turns to the work of his students, telling me about where in the world of sport psychology and sociology his graduate students have gone. In support of this work, Dr. Furst began a scholarship fund for kinesiology student researchers writing a thesis, and over the years has given several students that step up, to go on to PhD work and professorships.

Additionally, this year, his concern for the antisemitism he’s been witnessing on college campuses spurred his philanthropic giving in a new direction: Jewish Studies. As he and I both know, education–and here, specifically, the education of Jewish history, culture, and language–are vital in our efforts to overcome bigotry. To this end, and beginning this year, Dr. Furst will honor one Jewish Studies minor student each year with a scholarship that encourages and supports their research.

Please read about this year’s honoree, first year student Ira Zweig, whose work in Dr. Todd Perriera’s Death, Dying, and Religion course stood out as exceptional. 

Thank you, Dr. Furst, for this ongoing gift and challenge to our students!