Notable people from San Jose State University

The San Jose State University Tower.

Learn about the famous Spartans who once walked these grounds

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

It’s back-to-school season, and college students will soon be filing into Downtown as San Jose State University kicks off its fall semester next week. ✏️

As inspiration for a great school year, we’ll be sharing the stories of notable Spartans who once graced the halls of our beloved university, starting with these fab five. 📚

🎓 Dian Fossey, Class of 1954

This famed primatologist was once a sorority member of Kappa Alpha Theta at SJSU + graduated with an occupational therapy degree. In 1966, she left her hospital work behind to embark on an extensive study of mountain gorillas until her death in 1985.

🎓 Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Class of 1957

Before he became the first Native American US Senator in 1993, he studied physical education + fine arts at SJSU. While at school, he trained under Olympic coach Yoshihiro Uchida, and was captain of the first US Olympic judo team in 1964.

🎓 Robert Janoff, Class of 1970

After graduating with an industrial design degree, this artist worked at an advertising agency in Palo Alto where he was tasked to design a logo for a little-known company called Apple Computer. His logo is now one of the most iconic pieces of branding in the world.

🎓 Amy Tan, Class of 1973

Though her mother wanted her to become a doctor, Amy Tan switched from pre-med to English + linguistics at SJSU. She went on to write the critically-acclaimed novel “The Joy Luck Club” — a staple in high school and university courses to this day.

🎓 Lloyd “Bud” Winter

Though not a graduate of SJSU, this Hall of Famer spent 39 years coaching Spartans in track and field 1941-1970. There, he produced 102 All-Americans, 27 of whom went on to become Olympians — including Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

There are so many notable Spartans who deserve recognition — give them a shoutout.

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