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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT // COMMUNITY

SILICON VALLEY GAUCHO

Lawyer and educator Thomas J. Jevens `88


With over 20 years working with high-tech clients in Silicon Valley, Attorney Thomas J. (Tom) Jevens `88 has provided legal expertise and support for some of the biggest names in the technology industry. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Jevens went on to earn his J.D. at the Santa Clara University School of Law. He worked as senior corporate counsel at ArcSight, associate general counsel at Rovi Corporation and as director at Mercury Interactive and Business Objects Americas.

Now serving as corporate counsel at Google Inc., Tom supports Google's hardware sales efforts (Chromecast, Nexus), and focuses on inbound and outbound technology licensing, cloud services and product development. For 15 years he has taught classes in high-tech law at the Santa Clara University School of Law and coached a national championship winning moot court team. A dedicated alum to both his alma maters, Jevens served a member of the Santa Clara Law High-Tech Law Institute Advisory Board and on the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was also a California Executive Fellow at California State University in Sacramento.

This fall, Thomas `88 and his wife Heather `88 will be hosting the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association’s San Jose Welcome Reception for incoming fall freshmen and their families from the northern California area.

In this Alumni Q&A, Jevens talks to us about his UCSB experience, how he met his wife on campus and what would he do to improve his community in San Jose.

What drew you to study at UC Santa Barbara? And how did you decide on your major?

​ I was looking for a strong academic school that was reasonably close to home...but not too close. Turns out the "close to home" backfired on my parents a bit. I loved UCSB so much they had a hard time even getting me home at the holidays. I went to UCSB undeclared. I enjoyed my political science courses a great deal so I chose it as a major and decided to attend law school. I added Business Economics as a second major soon thereafter to round out my pre-law studies.

Did you and your wife Heather meet on campus?

We did! ​We were neighbors across the grass quad at the Via Del Sur Apartments (currently the Sweeps) ​for two years, starting our junior year. But we only started dating right at the end of our senior year. We just celebrated our 27th anniversary.

 

How would you describe your student life at UC Santa Barbara? Were you active in any student organizations? 

​Student life in the 80s at UCSB was wonderful. It felt like our academic and social options were unlimited. I used to say that you could pick an interest -- and I mean anything -- and you could find at least 10 people who were into doing the same thing. ​I was active in too many organizations to even list them all. My favorites were the tour guides (lots of walking and talking) and being part of the Orientation staff (great people and great skills training). What lessons from UCSB do you feel made the biggest impact in your career journey?  ​I had two very useful experiences. First, I did a summer in Washington DC with the Capitol Hill (now UCDC) ​program. I spent the summer working with the General Accounting Office helping to audit Air Force combat aircraft programs. It was an early and very valuable introduction to working in a professional environment.

The other experience was two summers on the Orientation staff. I learned valuable lessons about responsibility​ from wonderful leaders -- including former Dean of Student Yonie Harris and Current Director of Admissions Lisa Przekop -- and public speaking/teaching that I still use today.

What made you decide to host this year's San Jose Welcome Reception?

​I count myself very fortunate to still be engaged with UCSB so many years past graduation. I see the Welcome Receptions as the new student critical first introduction to the UCSB community. If one embraces it, UCSB can be a community for life. I think alumni and students alike benefit from early information sharing and engagement. New students need to understand that to be successful, you must make UCSB your own. Go all-in, and you won't be disappointed.

 

What makes you proud to be a Gaucho?

A great university offers the student the ability to test themselves academically and socially out to the limits of their abilities and beyond. I'm proud that UCSB was that place for me. And I'm proud that the University, under the leadership of Chancellor Yang, has achieved so much academic success and recognition during his tenure. He's made the degrees of every Gaucho more valuable, and he has set in motion the foundation for future success that will benefit generations of Gauchos to come.

What inspires you?

These days I'm most inspired by passionate people, and by that I mean people who have identified the things that truly fulfill them and who work hard to reach their aspiration. In my view, identifying ones passion does not necessarily mean achieving great personal or business success and the rewards that come with it. I mean I'm inspired by people who love what they do, no matter what it is, and those who advance their field and share their learning so others can find their own passion.

 

If you had unlimited budget to enhance and improve your community, what would you do?

San Jose has many needs, but my first thought goes to education. And in particular making sure every student has access to the variety of resources students need (e.g. nutrition, after school care, learning materials etc.) to be successful through high school and beyond. I feel that many issues in society can be addressed, at least partially, by educational opportunity for all.

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