San Diego State students, faculty, staff and alumni made plenty of news this year. Here's a look back at some of the biggest headlines of 2012:
Discovery Creates New Class of Planetary Systems (January)
Using data from NASA's Kepler Mission, SDSU astronomers announced the discovery of two new transiting "circumbinary" planet systems — planets that orbit two stars.
This work established that such "two sun" planets are not rare exceptions, but are in fact common with many millions existing in our Galaxy. The work was published in the journal Nature and was presented by William Welsh of San Diego State University at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas, on behalf of the Kepler Science Team.
Sharp Gift Supports Nursing Scholarships (February)
Students in SDSU’s College of Health and Human Services have access to new scholarships thanks to a $500,000 donation from Sharp HealthCare. The gift also established the Sharp HealthCare Professional Education and Research Institute.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Visit San Diego (April)
Lama Tenzin Dhonden, the Personal Peace Emissary for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and executives from San Diego State University, University of California San Diego and University of San Diego, announced a San Diego visit by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet.
Early Start (Ups) (May)
Thanks to a $700,000 gift, the Zahn Center launched as an on-campus incubator at SDSU that helps student entrepreneurs turn their ideas into companies.
Four Aztecs Named Fulbright Scholars (June)
This fall, SDSU ecology doctoral student Kimberley Miller will brave the Arctic climate all in the name of research. She and three other SDSU students or recent alumni have been selected for U.S. Student Fulbright grants for the 2012-13 academic year.
Each year, Fulbright sends about 1,700 students to one of more than 150 countries. More than 40 SDSU students have received Fulbright Scholarships since 2005.
Flu Fighters (July)
San Diego State University researchers at the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center may have found the secret to helping the immune system fight off the flu before it gets you sick. A study published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that EP67, a powerful synthetic protein, is able to activate the innate immune system within just two hours of being administered.
From SDSU to Mars (September)
In early August, the Mars Rover "Curiosity" successfully landed in an effort to discover more about earth's next door neighbor. Seven SDSU alumni who work with the Mars Science Laboratory played a variety of roles in the mission, from systems engineer to spacecraft navigator.
Faculty Give $2.4M to Musical Theatre (October)
Professors emeriti Carey Wall and Terry O’Donnell partnered on a $2.4 million dollar gift to SDSU's musical theater program.Their gift endows a faculty position in the nationally renowned program and ensures SDSU’s musical theatre students will continue to have opportunities to learn from top faculty members.
From Lab Scale to Large Scale (October)
For the last few years San Diego State University engineering professor Fletcher Miller has been working in his campus lab to prove a theory about a more efficient way to produce solar energy. Thanks to a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $3.9 million, he will soon test his theory in a more realistic scenario.
Grad Rates, Diversity Soar (October)
San Diego State University students have set new records in graduation and continuation rates. Campus census numbers show that SDSU continues to be a national leader in eliminating the "achievement gap" between students of color and their counterparts.
New Discoveries in Treating Heart Disease (November)
Prominent cardiac researchers Met at SDSU to explore bold new approaches to treating the number one threat to U.S. adults — heart disease. The annual symposium is a partnership between scientists at SDSU, the Medical University of South Carolina, and two Israeli entities located in Haifa, Israel — the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Rambam Medical Center.
Applications Hit New High (December)
SDSU received a record 74,458 undergraduate applications for the fall 2013 semester, the most applications ever received by the university. That is an eight percent increase over last year at this time when SDSU received what was then a record 68,968 undergraduate applications for fall 2012.
Campaign for SDSU 40,000 Strong (December)
When SDSU embarked on its first ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, fundraisers knew it would take more than large gifts from wealthy donors to reach the goal of $500 million by 2014. SDSU announced a gift from the 40,000th individual supporter of The Campaign for SDSU – a $150 donation to the College of Business Administration.
Sensational Shot Nets New Car (October)
People came to see high-flying dunks and crazy up-and-down-the-court action. And, while Madness on the Mesa's sneak peeks at the new men's and women's basketball teams didn't disappoint, a freshman who doesn't play for either team stole the show.One of 4,000-plus fans in attendance, Craig Horlbeck hit nothing but net from half-court and won a brand new Toyota Tacoma.
Aztecs teams won a total of nine Mountain West championships this year, including Women's Soccer, Women's Volleyball, Football, Softball, Men's Golf, Men's Basketball and Women's Basketball.