- Associated Press - Monday, July 13, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - The leader of San Jose State University announced Monday that he is stepping down to become a presidential adviser in his native Afghanistan.

San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi said in a letter to the campus community that he will leave next month to become Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s chief adviser for infrastructure and technology. Decades of war have destroyed or delayed development of schools, hospitals and water systems in the country’s rural areas.

“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,” Qayoumi said. “President Ashraf Ghani has asked for my immediate assistance and leadership in numerous infrastructure initiatives.”

An electrical engineer and management accountant by training, the 62-year-old Qayoumi has led San Jose State since March 2011. He spent five years before that as president of the California State University’s East Bay campus and has been an engineering professor in California since 1985.

He grew up in Kabul and left Afghanistan to study engineering, first at American University of Beirut and then at the University of Cincinnati.

Campus spokeswoman Patricia Harris said Qayoumi served as a senior adviser to Afghanistan’s finance minister from 2002 to 2005 and was a director of the Central Bank of Afghanistan from 2003 to 2006.

An interim president will be named during the search for Qayoumi’s successor, Cal State University Chancellor Timothy White said.

As president of San Jose State, which has 30,000 students, Qayoumi worked to raise the public university’s profile in Silicon Valley by producing graduates trained to work in technology.

His tenure was rocked by controversies over the campus’s handling of the hazing of a black freshman by his dorm roommates and an ambitious but failed experiment in making courses available online, the San Jose Mercury reported (https://bayareane.ws/1Ld14IF ).


Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, https://www.mercurynews.com

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