HAYWARD -- Cal State East Bay President Mo Qayoumi will leave his post this summer to assume the presidency at San Jose State University.
The California State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday selected Qayoumi from a list of three finalists to head the South Bay university.
Qayoumi, 59, succeeds interim San Jose State President Don Kassing who retired in 2008, and returned last September to serve in an interim capacity until a new president was selected.
"I'm looking forward to going back home, in a way," Qayoumi said. "But there are definitely mixed emotions. There is certainly a family feel here at Cal State East Bay."
This is not Qayoumi's first time at San Jose State. In 1986, Qayoumi began a nine-year run as associate vice president for administration at San Jose State. That was followed by five years at the University of Missouri at Rolla and then six years at Cal State Northridge. He came to Cal State East Bay -- which has a campus in Concord -- in 2006.
Qayoumi, who recently said he had been approached before for other openings at Cal State schools, said he was attracted to San Jose State because of its place in Silicon Valley and the opportunities the university is provided because of the quality of the city and its schools.
"I am honored and humbled to be selected and to accept the challenge of leading San Jose State University in the years ahead," Qayoumi said. "The tremendous opportunities and boundless possibilities of SJSU will only be limited by our imagination."
Qayoumi said while it is hard to leave the East Bay, he is happy in what he has achieved.
"I think when you look at it, we had four key goals when I came -- and we accomplished them," Qayoumi said.
Qayoumi listed those goals as increasing enrollment, bringing in more tenure-track faculty, stabilizing the school's finances and improving the campus. He added, however, he will miss Hayward.
"I'll miss the strong sense of community we have here at Cal State East Bay. There is great camaraderie and compassion among students and staff."
Qayoumi seemed to be generally liked by staff and faculty at Cal State East Bay.
"Generally speaking, my experience has been positive," said statistics professor Mitchell Watnik. "He is generally held as a transparent leader -- he lets the faculty know what is on his mind and where the money is going or not going.
Qayoumi, who grew up in a rural suburb of Kabul, Afghanistan, is the oldest son of a carpenter. His father had only a grade-school education; his mother never learned to read or write.
As a youngster, he walked several miles, three times a week, to learn English. His English skills solidified in high school, where he studied technical coursework at a U.S.-funded campus. And his neighborhood turned prosperous as foreigners and diplomatic families moved in, offering him exposure to many different cultures.
Qayoumi earned a degree in electrical engineering from American University of Beirut, in Lebanon. After working on engineering projects in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he came to the United States and attended college at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned four more degrees.
The other finalists for the San Jose State job were Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer at San Francisco State; and David Steele, dean of the College of Business at San Jose State.
The board of trustees will set Qayoumi's salary and benefits during its May board meeting.
This year, the president of San Jose State is making $328,200, plus a $25,000 supplement, with housing provided. Qayoumi is making $276,055 with a $60,000 housing supplement at Cal State East Bay.
Bay Area News Group staff writer Lisa M. Krieger contributed to this report.