On May 2, Santa Clara resident John McLemore received the San Jose State University College of Social Sciences Outstanding Alumnus of 2019 Award. McLemore was honored to be recognized by his alma mater, 50 years after he attended. Here, McLemore studied political science as an undergraduate and graduate student.
“I think I was selected because I’ve been very active in the Political Science Alumni Association for about 15 years,” McLemore said. “I was one of the founding members of that alumni association. We have alumni who help create scholarships for the students. The alumni from other programs contribute directly to San Jose State University to help build buildings and projects that don’t directly go to the needs of the students. Whereas our alumni association tries to help out students directly. Every year, we reach out and ask the graduates if they can contribute money to the new students.”
According to McLemore, the Political Science Alumni Association started helping students fund their internships through scholarships 10 years ago. Now this organization offers scholarships that enable students to go work for a Congressman in Washington D.C. or a State Senator in Sacramento.
“I was the chairman of the Political Science Alumni Association and we would raise $10,000 to $15,000 each year making pleas to political science alumni who have been able to make it on their own,” McLemore said.
“Since then, there have been several of us who have created scholarships specifically in our name, instead of just naming the scholarships after professors. I’ve set up a scholarship in the last few years in my name to support students with financial need like myself during my college years.”
McLemore recalled paying for his own expenses when he was a congressional intern.
“I was an intern 50 years ago for Congressman Don Edwards at his local office on the Alameda in San Jose and in Washington D.C. I was an intern for the Congressman Jerry Pettis from Redlands, California, where I’m from,” McLemore said. “Back then, I had to pay my own way using student loans to participate in these internships.”
Around town, McLemore is also known for other work he has done, including his 40-year career in the semi-conductor industry, his 26 years of military service, his rank as Lieutenant Colonel with the United States Army Reserves and his service as a Santa Clara City Council Member from 1996 to 2004.