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SDSU accomplishments under President Weber's tenure

Increased academic stature

Under President Weber’s leadership, the academic stature of the university has skyrocketed with dozens of academic programs being ranked among the nation’s best. Most notably, SDSU has ranked as the top research university in the nation among schools with 14 or fewer Ph.D. programs* for four years running.

In addition, this year SDSU faculty members secured more than $150 million in research grants and contracts, a record for the university. Since 1996, SDSU has added eight Ph.D. programs, including two this year in evolutionary biology and geophysics and two doctorates in education, the first independently offered doctoral degrees in the CSU system. The university now has a total of 18 doctoral programs with three new engineering Ph.D. degrees on the horizon.

Over the past four years, SDSU has consistently ranked in the top five nationally for applications received.  In 2010, SDSU received 62,300 undergraduate applications compared to 23,308 in 1996, a 167 percent increase.

And the growing interest in SDSU has allowed the university to attract nearly 700 talented new faculty members over the past 14 years.  An astounding 79 percent of SDSU’s current faculty members were hired during Weber’s tenure.

Unprecedented student success

President Weber has overseen a period of unprecedented student success.  As more applications have poured in, the academic qualifications for SDSU’s incoming freshman have increased significantly from a 3.18 average GPA in 1998 (the first year data was available) to a record 3.63 for the fall 2010. Average SAT scores have increased from 983 in fall 1998 to 1085 in fall 2010.  
Graduation rates are also at a record high, increasing 74.2 percent since 1996. For first-time freshmen students who started at SDSU in fall 2003, 66.4 percent graduated in six years or less, well above the national average for four-year public universities of 55 percent (the six-year average is the national reporting standard).

Among the most impressive achievements made have been by SDSU’s historically underrepresented ethnic groups.  For the 2003 cohort, 61.8 percent graduated in six years or less compared to 33.4 percent of the 1996 cohort -- and the number of graduates of color has also risen from 1,573 in 1996/1997 to 2,771 in 2008/2009.

Additionally, providing students with international experience has been a top priority. SDSU has ranked No. 2 in the nation and No. 1 California among universities of its type for students studying abroad for the past three years.  Today, there are 25 academic programs that require study abroad compared to just one in 1998.  Last year, more than 1,600 SDSU students participated in study abroad opportunities in more than three dozen countries-up from just 167 students in 1998.

Community engagement

Under Weber’s leadership, SDSU has seen a sharp rise in private donations to the university. In the past 14 years, SDSU has raised more than $683 million, including more than $65 million in 2009-10, over 300 percent more than was raised in the university’s previous 99-year history.  SDSU aims to raise another $75 million by July 2011.

Helping to reform urban education in San Diego has been one of Weber’s main focuses over his tenure.  SDSU worked with local school districts to establish the Compact for Success partnership with the Sweetwater Union High School District and the City Heights Educational Collaborative in partnership with San Diego Unified School District, Price Charities and the San Diego Education Foundation.  The Compact for Success has helped to transform the Sweetwater district and the program since it was created in 1999 and now serves as a state-wide model for education reform.  The guaranteed admission program has more than doubled the number of students from the district who have applied, were admitted and enrolled at SDSU.  Through the City Heights Educational Collaborative, SDSU operates three local inner-city schools in the neighboring college area community of City Heights.  SDSU’s College of Education trains many of the highly-qualified teachers to work specifically at these inner-city schools, as well as utilizing faculty to work with current teachers and administrators to improve curriculum.

More recently, SDSU has established itself as one of the nation’s most military-friendly universities.  With more than 1,000 veteran, active-duty and dependent students on campus, the university opened the CSU’s first Veterans Center in 2008 and has since opened the nation’s only Veterans House to provide veterans with on-campus housing.  The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs recognized SDSU’s commitment to veterans when it opened a VA office on campus, only the second in the nation and the first in California to be located on a university campus.

Campus growth

President Weber has also overseen a physical transformation of the university, with more than $670 million in new facilities built at San Diego State over the past 14 years, only 25 percent of which has come from the state of California. Among the new buildings are the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center and the BioScience Center, both built entirely thanks to the generosity of alumni and community donors and without any state assistance. In addition, this year the university has begun the much-needed renovation of Storm and Nasatir Halls and the construction of a new Aztec Center is set to begin next year.

One of the most noticeable additions to campus is the extension of the San Diego Trolley.  The SDSU Trolley Station opened in 2005 and has taken thousands of cars off the road, significantly reducing traffic and parking issues throughout San Diego.  

SDSU Significant Rankings and Distinctions