Fullerton, Gail Jackson (1927-2016)

Fullerton, Gail Jackson (1927-2016)

Date Updated



President, Sociology

Academic Rank

Professor & President Emeritus

Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Oregon, Sociology, 1950-54 PhD

University of Nebraska, Sociology, 1949-50 MA

University of Nebraska, English & Speech, 1945-49 BA

Teaching Experience

San José State University, 1963-1972

Florida State University, 1957-1959

Drake University (extension), 1955-1957

Administrative and Professional Experience

President, San José State University, 1978-1991

Executive Vice President, San José State University, 1977-1978

Dean of Graduate Studies & Research, San José State University, 1972-1976

Selected Publications

Normal Neurosis, as Gail J. Putney, co-author Snell Putney. Harper & Row: New York, 1964

The Adjusted American, as Gail J. Putney, co-author Snell Putney. Paperback edition of Normal Neurosis. Harper & Row Colophon: New York, 1966. Harper & Row Perennial: New York, 1972. Remained in print 29 years.

Survival in Marriage, as Gail Putney Fullerton. Holt, Rinehart & Winston: New York, 1972

Survival in Marriage, 2nd edition, Dryden Press: New York, 1977

Personal Commentary

During the 13 years that I was President of San Jose State University I saw my job as one of helping academic programs reach new levels of excellence. Sometimes this meant working to acquire funding for new or renovated facilities, such as the renovation and expansion of the Engineering building and the renovation and preservation of Washington Square Hall. Sometimes it meant finding ways to cut red tape so that an innovative program could be funded. Sometimes it required resolving conflicts between divisions of the university in ways that I hoped would serve best the needs of our students.

Many of our students were the first in their families to graduate from college. Some continued their education in graduate or professional programs, but most wanted and needed to embark on careers for which the baccalaureate degree had prepared them. I was pleased when executives would tell me that newly hired graduates of San Jose State could “land running.” It has been a joy to follow the careers of alumni who have made a significant difference to our society.

Date Completed: May 22, 2010

In the 20 months (January, 1977-September 1978) that I was Executive Vice President of SJSU, my major accomplishments were obtaining funding for the Robert D. Clark Library in a year when no other California State University (CSU) buildings were funded, and clearing the library site at the heart of the campus. On the site planned for the new library stood a cluster of old buildings that served as the campus corporation yard. Before the library could be built, funding had to be secured for a new corporation yard, to be built at the periphery of the campus.

SJSU owned a former cannery on Martha Street but if the cannery were sold, the proceeds would revert to the State general fund. With help from local legislators, I obtained permission for SJSU to sell the cannery and build a new corporation yard with the proceeds. By the time the cannery was sold, the new corporation yard completed (on time and within budget) and ground broken for the new library, I had become President of SJSU. This was a long story‑‑let it be taken as an example of the Rubik's cube nature of most of the other projects completed during my "watch."

The 13 years (September, 1978‑September, 1991) during which I was President were a time of significant growth in size and stature of SJSU. The accomplishments were the result of team effort. I have always tried to share the pride, but there is not space here to give credit to all who participated. The following are among the achievements in which I take satisfaction:

• Turning the enrollment decline of the late 1970s into enrollment growth, in part by creating a more favorable public awareness of the worth of a SJSU degree. From 1980 to 1990, enrollment grew by nearly 20%.

• Securing funding for a major new Engineering complex, with a new (to the CSU) combination of State and private money. The partnerships established with technology firms of "Silicon Valley" made this possible. Dean Jay Pinson and I worked the Valley with care and harvested good results. We made friends for SJSU as well as contributors to the new Engineering complex.

• Working with student leaders to fund and build the SJSU student recreation and Event Center. Giving students more reason to stay on campus after class, helping to build a sense of belonging to a campus community, the new facility was the first of its kind in the CSU.

• Expanding Spartan Stadium without any State funds. A minimum of 30,000 stadium seats had become a requirement for NCAA Division 1‑A standing and thus an expanded stadium was a necessity if Spartan athletic programs were to continue to compete at this level. Begging and borrowing were the means of raising the money. Another long story, but the expanded Spartan Stadium stands. And Spartan athletic teams play at the highest level of competition.

• Building a consensus within the San Jose City Council that the time had come to close San Carlos Street through the campus. Beginning in 1983 with presentations to the City Council, I found this goal almost within reach when I retired at the end of September, 1991. It remained for those who came after me to seize the prize.

Date Completed: 10/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Fullerton, Gail Jackson (1927-2016)