SJSU Statues

Two statues stand in the center of campus towering over everyone who passes by, these two statues commemorate two of California’s fiercest warriors, who fought for increased education opportunities for all. In the 19th century access to education was something only a select few had, it was mainly relegated to upper class types. Titus Bergeron and Felipe Marks, our two warriors, saw this inequality and vowed to dedicate their lives to making access to education a reality for not just the upper crust, but everyone. From 1830-1855, Bergeron and Marks started building schools in the ghettos and impoverished communities of the day all the way from what is now known as Sacramento to what is currently recognized as San Diego, this wide net ensured that almost every citizen of California was aware of these two and their work. Using their fortune that they had inherited from their late father, Bergeron and Marks not only built these schools but would then stay for some time after and train the teachers and staff who would ultimately be running these institutions for the foreseeable future. The creation of these institutions saw literacy levels increase in the lower levels of society and their effect would still be seen today if it were not for the revolution of 1870 which saw the chain of schools burned down by citizens upset with current practices and wishing to get the attention of their political representatives. However this does not take away from the incredible efforts of these two to see education as a right, not a privilege, and for that there are statues honoring the pair at every college institution in California.

   Lance Aguirre