San Jose State occupies a unique niche in the history of sport and social change—because of its people. The university is the birthplace of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), a movement led by Harry Edwards that culminated in the iconic protest of Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
The legacy of equity and social justice is a part of SJSU’s DNA. The university was founded on education for all, and providing a voice for those who may otherwise remain silent. The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) honors our legacy and continues the dialogue about athlete activism and the influence of sport in effecting positive social change. As our nation confronts and explores deeply complex social issues, it is critical that we continue to challenge the boundaries of sport and activism. Sport offers the occasion to pose big questions, not just of athletes, but also of ourselves and provide enlightened perspectives.
Words to Action
In January 2017, SJSU launched the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change with a momentous town hall event featuring current and retired athletes and journalists discussing race relations in sport. SJSU’s long history of athletes, coaches and alumni who have blazed new trails and moved from words to action, make our university the natural home for such an institute.
A professor in SJSU’s Department of Kinesiology, Ted Butryn has published more than 35 refereed articles and book chapters on whiteness in sport, cyborg athletes and doping, and given more than 55 national and international conference papers. In 2017, he was named a Research Fellow for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. A member of the University of Tennessee track and cross-country teams from 1989 to 1992, he holds a B.S. and Ph.D. from University of Tennessee and an M.A from San Jose State.
CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) and director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School, Benson is author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process. She was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
Carlos is an Olympic medalist in the 200-meter sprint and member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Following the 1968 Olympics, where he participated in an iconic protest for human rights, Carlos pursued professional football and later worked for the United States Olympic Committee.
Professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, Edwards is author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete, Edwards is considered to be the father of the sociology of sport.
Hannah Gordon is the general counsel of the San Francisco 49ers and serves as secretary of the 49ers Foundation. Previously, she worked on NFL player contracts, salary cap compliance, the 2011 NFL collective bargaining agreement, and labor issues with the NFL Management Council.
Al Guido served as the chief operating officer of the San Francisco 49ers, sales manager for the Dallas Cowboys and senior director of ticket sales for the Phoenix Coyotes. He is on the board of City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley and Coach K/Fuqua School of Business.
NCAA champion fencer and U.S. Olympic Committee Board member Johnson, ’80 Public Relations, led an international campaign to bring equity to woman fencers. The first woman to hold a four-year term as president of U.S.A. Fencing’s National Governing Board, Johnson is now president of Valencia College’s East and Winter Park campuses.
CEO of the Tower Foundation of SJSU and Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning has more than two decades of higher education leadership experience in public, private and consulting roles. He began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has worked with professional and amateur sports organizations in corporate sponsorship, fundraising, media and event management.
Chief Operating Officer of the San Jose Earthquakes Jared Shawlee previously worked as the Earthquakes’ vice president of sales and strategy and director of corporate partnerships. He is a board member for Joint Venture Silicon Valley and The Silicon Valley Foundation.
Smith won Olympic gold in track and field at the 1968 Mexico City games, where he participated in an iconic protest for human rights. He coached track and field at Oberlin College, where he also taught sociology, and later at Santa Monica College.
Senior writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated and chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force, Spears has written for Yahoo Sports, The Boston Globe, The Denver Post, The Tulsa World, the Los Angeles Daily News and The Courier-Journal.
Chief operating officer, executive vice president and general counsel of San Jose Sharks, LLC, John Tortora previously worked for the National Hockey League in New York, where he helped launch cable TV’s NHL Network.
A legendary judo coach, Uchida built San Jose State’s program into a national powerhouse after serving in a segregated unit in World War II while his own family members were held in internment camps.
SJSU Chief Diversity Officer Kathleen Wong(Lau) leads the university’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She previously served as the director of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE).
ACADEMIC ADVISORY BOARD
SJSU Associate Vice President of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs Thalia Anagnos is a former engineering professor and 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award. Anagnos helped organize the SJSU Expanding Your Horizons Conference to interest women in STEM fields for more than 20 years.
William Armaline is director of the Human Rights Program at SJSU. An interdisciplinary scholar, Armaline studies social problems related to political economy, environmental sustainability, race theory and anti-racist action, pedagogy and transformative education, inequality and youths, mass incarceration and the war on drugs.
Cole Armstrong holds a doctoral degree in sport management from Florida State University. His research focuses on management in sport organizations, sport marketing, and the influence of sport on identity development.
Andrew H. Feinstein
SJSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew H. Feinstein oversees 154 degree programs and supports 33,000 students, 1,700 faculty members and more than 400 staff members and administrators. He also co-chairs university strategic planning and the President’s Commission on Diversity.
Prior to becoming dean of the College of Social Sciences, Walt Jacobs served as a dean and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Jacobs is the author of Speaking the Lower Frequencies: Students and Media Literacy and co-editor of If Classrooms Matter: Progressive Visions of Educational Environments.
Peter Lee’s research includes the psychological development and adjustment of Asian Americans and ethnic groups in the child welfare and mental health systems. The co-creator of Social Workers in the Library, Lee served as associate director of CommUniverCity San Jose and director of SJSU’s “UP” Pre-College program.
Amy Leisenring is the faculty director to the Academic Counseling Center for Excellence in the Social Sciences. Her scholarship explores the sociology of higher education and the way race, gender and class-based inequalities shape students’ experiences. Leisenring teaches in the areas of gender, family and qualitative research methods.
Marcos Pizarro coordinates MAESETR@S, a social justice organization that implements a transformative education model with Latinx communities. The co-coordinator of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice, Pizarro is Faculty-in-Residence for Chicanx-Latinx Student Success at SJSU and co-coordinator of Adelante.
In addition to her years of experience as a dean and professor of health, physical education, recreation, dance and sports, Mary Schutten coached Division III volleyball, softball and swimming. She became the dean of San Jose State’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts in July 2015.
Trained as a behavioral pharmacologist, Susan Snycerski has taught psychology, research methods, human drug use and abuse, mental retardation, behavioral pharmacology and toxicology, American Psychological Association writing workshops, and clinical trials administration. Snycerski has published empirical, theoretical and review papers, as well as book chapters and encyclopedia chapters.
Jules Boykoff, Pacific University
Akilah R. Carter-Francique, Prairie View A&M University
Brian Gearity, University of Denver
C. Keith Harrison, University of Central Florida
Vikki Krane, Bowling Green State University
Ann Pegoraro, Laurentian University (Canada)
John N. Singer, Texas A&M University
Maureen Smith, California State University, Sacramento
Eli Wolff, Brown University
SAN JOSÉ STATE UNIVERSITY
San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study. SJSU is an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and California, and the region’s top supplier of workforce talent and essential to its future as the world’s center of creativity and innovation.