Research Foundation History

Supporting SJSU's Pursuit of Research

The San José State University Research Foundation is one of the oldest nonprofit corporations in the California State University system. It was founded on December 6, 1932 as “The San José State College Corporation.”

As its first project, the Research Foundation managed the 1933 construction of the original Spartan football stadium. President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration provided the labor, then U.S. Senator James Duvel Phelan contributed the land, and funds for materials were contributed by our students and what was then San José State College.

The Research Foundation's second large project during the Depression years was the reacquisition of the land at the corner of Fourth and San Fernando Streets from the City of San José, which had constructed its Carnegie Library there. At that same corner today stands the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library , a joint project of San José State University and the City of San José. A state-of-the-art facility, the library opened its doors in August of 2003, the first cooperatively run library in the nation.

Those successful endeavors were the beginning of the Research Foundation's long and successful history of managing externally-funded projects on behalf of San José State University.  A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the SJSU Research Foundation provides an entrepreneurial management structure through which the campus carries out essential specialized research activities not normally supported by the state budget. Our central administration provides a comprehensive business infrastructure and professional services that make it possible for our faculty to focus more on research and project deliverables, and less on administrative details.

Today the Research Foundation employs nearly 1,000 and has annual revenues of nearly $60 million. This federal, state, and private funding supports SJSU's expanding research enterprise, placing San José State among the top 200 universities in the country for total R&D expenditures.