San Jose State University President Mohammad Qayoumi will be stepping down next month to take up an advisory role to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, the university announced in a statement Monday. His last working day at SJSU will be Aug. 17.
Qayoumi, a native of Afghanistan, explained his decision in a letter to the university community:
“Since 2002, I have often been asked to lend my intellectual and operational expertise to many of Afghanistan’s significant economic, educational and infrastructure challenges. President Ashraf Ghani has asked for my immediate assistance and leadership in numerous infrastructure initiatives,” Qayoumi wrote.
Qayoumi’s tenure was marred by “low morale” on campus and racial tension amplified by a 2013 incident in which three students charged with a hate crime committed against an African-American roommate were expelled.
The son of an uneducated carpenter and reared in the rural suburb of Afghanistan, Qayoumi was formally inaugurated as the school's 28th leader in April 2012.
Qayoumi came to SJSU from Cal State East Bay, where he was president, and before that, he was vice president at Cal State Northridge.
One of his favorite people to quote is Eleanor Roosevelt. And one of his favorite lines of hers is: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
According to his own biography, Qayoumi's father only had an elementary school education and his mother had no schooling.