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President Hirshman, Most Admired CEO

President Elliot Hirshman was honored as one of San Diego’s Most Admired CEOs.
President Hirshman with SDSU students outside of Hepner Hall.
President Hirshman with SDSU students outside of Hepner Hall.

San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman is among the Most Admired CEOs of 2013, according to The San Diego Business Journal.

Hirshman, the eighth president of SDSU, was the winner in the education category for the publication’s annual program that recognizes San Diego’s most dynamic and innovative business leaders.

The Journal cited Hirshman’s initiation of a strategic planning process and his spearheading of The Campaign for SDSU as some of the reasons for the recognition. The campaign reaches out to alumni and friends for support to ensure continued success of the university, and increased national recognition.

Points of pride

Since Hirshman began leading SDSU in 2011, the university has continued to develop as a major public research university. SDSU rose more spots — 31 — in the U.S. News & World Report rankings than any other university in the nation, and the magazine named SDSU as one of the nation’s top “Up-and-Coming Schools.”

With the guidance of SDSU faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members, the new strategic plan, “Building on Excellence,” established three broad institutional goals for SDSU: student success, research and creative endeavors, and community and communication.

Since the plan’s completion, working groups have been refining and implementing recommendations. Some action items are already being realized including: a writing center for students; a new coordinator appointed to lead an LGBT Pride Center; a new mentoring program and strengthened internship programs; expanded learning communities for commuter students and identified areas of research excellence.

The Campaign for SDSU, which launched publicly during Hirshman’s tenure, is the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. The Campaign is providing support for faculty and for life-changing student scholarships and experiences, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, entrepreneurial ventures, and internships and mentorships.

To date, more than 45,200 alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents and community partners have contributed gifts to the campaign, including 85 gifts of $1 million or more. In total, more than $465 million has been raised toward the campaign’s $500 million goal. The Campaign is creating a culture of philanthropy that will support the university’s excellence for future generations.

Other Aztecs honored

SDSU alumna Jenny Amaraneni, CEO and co-founder of SOLO Eyewear, also was recognized by the journal.

With the help of SDSU's Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, Amaraneni — who graduated from SDSU with an MBA in entrepreneurship in 2011 — was able to start her own company. It donates a pair of prescription eyeglasses or funds surgeries for those in need for every pair of sunglasses sold.

More information about all of the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO’s of 2013 is available online.

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