Quote of Amy Tan on a wall in the Student Union.
Tommie Smith (left), ‘05 Honorary Doctorate, Dr. Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate and John Carlos, ‘69 Social Science, ‘05 Honorary Doctorate gathered at SJSU in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics.

Distinguished Alumni

With more than 275,000 alumni, the transformative nature of SJSU is visible throughout the world. Nearly 41 percent of SJSU grads remain in the Silicon Valley, and many have transformed into household names. Here are some of SJSU’s most notable Spartans.

View Full List of Notable Alumni

Illustration of Mary Blair with a flower pattern background.

Mary Blair

‘31 Fine Arts - San José State College
Artist, graphic designer and illustrator who helped create Disney's Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953).

Ben Nighthorse.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell

‘57 Physical Education and Fine Arts 
Former Colorado senator (1993-2005), first Native American in the U.S. Senate, member of first US Olympic judo team (1964).

Charles W. Davidson.

Charles W. "Chuck" Davidson

‘57 Engineering, ‘14 Honorary Doctorate
Bay Area home builder, founding chair of the SJSU Tower Foundation, Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering named after him.

Lou (Henry) Hoover.

Lou Henry Hoover

1893, Teaching credential from San José State Normal School
First lady to Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. President.

Titus Kaphar.

Titus Kaphar

‘01 Art/Pictorial Arts
Artist, recipient of 2018 MacArthur Fellow, art graced June 4, 2020 cover of Time Magazine.

Kim Komenich.

Kim Komenich

‘79 Journalism/Photojournalism
1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for the fall of Ferdinand Marcos.

Jenny Ming.

Jenny Ming

‘77 Home Economics, Honorary Doctorate ‘12
Former president, Old Navy; Board Member, Levi Strauss & Co.

Edward A. "Ed" Oates.

Edward A. “Ed” Oates

‘68 Mathematics
Co-founder of Oracle.

Amy Tan.

Amy Tan

‘73 English and Linguistics 
Novelist, author of The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter's Daughter, and The Opposite of Fate.

Yosh Uchida.

Yosh Uchida

‘47 Biological Science, ‘04 Honorary Doctorate
SJSU judo coach, coached first US Olympic judo team in 1964, entrepreneur.

Peter Ueberroth holding an award as in pitching a ball.

Peter Ueberroth

'59 Business
Former Major League Baseball Commissioner; head of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles; Time Man of the Year for 1984.

Bill Walsh being carried on the shoulders of the football team.

Bill Walsh

‘54 Physical Education, MA ‘58 Physical Education
1993 Pro Football Hall of Fame; former head coach and general manager/vice president of the San Francisco 49ers; former head coach of Stanford football team.