San Jose State President to Resign for Job in Afghanistan

San Jose State University President Mohammad Qayoumi will leave the school next month for a high-ranking job with the government of his home country, Afghanistan.

Qayoumi, 63, stepped in as the 28th president of the university in 2011 after five years as head of Cal State East Bay and decades in the Cal State system. An engineer by training, he holds four master's degrees and has worked on projects in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. His last day at SJSU will be Aug. 17.

In his new role, Qayoumi will serve as advisor to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

Over the years, Qayoumi has contributed to U.S. cyber-security policy and advised Afghan leaders. The job offer from his home country came as a natural next step in his career.

“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," he wrote in an open letter explaining his departure. "President Ashraf Ghani has asked for my immediate assistance and leadership in numerous infrastructure initiatives."

The soon-to-depart university president has come under fire several times for the way he handled campus crises, including alleged hate crimes against an African American student in 2013.

California State University Chancellor Timothy White applauded Qayoumi's focus on science and technical education as a way to elevate the status of the school in STEM-centric Silicon Valley.

“Mo is leaving the campus with a solid fiscal foundation and proud legacy of achievements," White wrote in a statement. "His laser focus on innovation, coupled with his tireless work in expanding the visibility of the campus within the technology sector, have advanced the campus’s stronghold in the region as a leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduates."

San Jose State is in the process of finding an interim president until a permanent replacement is found.

3 Comments

  1. Quick selection of an interim replacement makes one believe this departure was known by the trustees for a while.

  2. Leaving SJSU for a 3rd world country that is among the most violent nations on earth…CSU must be doing really well.

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