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Saturday, April 1, 2023

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A group of faculty and students at the San Diego Normal School, circa 1913. A group of faculty and students at the San Diego Normal School, circa 1913.

A Look Inside SDSU History

An episode of KPBS' San Diego Historic Places will explore SDSU's history on May 1.
By Hallie Jacobs

Founded March 13, 1897, San Diego State University began as the San Diego Normal School, a training facility for elementary school teachers.

Seven faculty and 91 students met in temporary quarters over a downtown drugstore before moving to a newly-constructed 17-acre campus on Park Boulevard.

The curriculum was limited at first to English, history and mathematics. Course offerings broadened rapidly under the leadership of Samuel T. Black, who left his position as state superintendent of public instruction to become the school's first president. Black served from 1898 to 1910.

Fast forward almost a century — SDSU has a different name, location and transformed curriculum.

On May 1, KPBS will feature the evolution of SDSU's rich history on an episode of San Diego Historic Places.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the San Diego community to learn about SDSU," said Elsa Sevilla, host of San Diego Historic Places and an SDSU alumna. "Viewers will get a first-hand look at the rich history of SDSU, and how the university has contributed to the area for more than a century."

What to expect

The episode will visit past and current spots on SDSU campus locations, while exploring the historical significance of each area.

"This episode will give an overview and perspective of the extensive transformations the university has gone through over the years," said John Decker, radio program director for KPBS and an SDSU alumnus. "Viewers can expect to learn about the details and importance of SDSU as a large, educational institution."

About San Diego Historic Places

As San Diego continues to grow, the shrinking inventory of historic homes and public spaces becomes even more important. San Diego's Historic Places shares tales from the past, reigniting the love affair with San Diego's special places.