Mary Papazian

Former President and Professor of English

San Jose State University

A seasoned leader with nearly 35 years of experience as a university professor and senior administrator, Dr. Mary Papazian most recently served as the 30th president of San José State University (SJSU), the founding campus of the Cal State system and Silicon Valley’s public university, where she guided SJSU through the Covid-19 pandemic and the multiple crises all universities faced during this period. Prior to joining SJSU, she served as president of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven, CT. Her tenure in leadership centered on institutional transformation, community partnerships, inclusive excellence, digital transformation, strengthening research and graduation education, and addressing barriers to educational equity and student and faculty success. Under her leadership, SJSU was named the #1 most transformative university by Money magazine and received the Platinum award and the Best Achievement in Operational Excellence to deliver Digital Transformation award at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards. A scholar of Early Modern British Literature, Dr. Papazian holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a Board Certified Candidate, advisor to early stage start-ups, and sought after speaker on topics such as the talent pipeline, digital transformation, GenZ, the metaverse and education, and the importance of the liberal arts in a digital economy.