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Saturday, April 1, 2023

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President Elliot Hirshman spoke of SDSU’s extraordinary opportunity for even greater distinction in the new academic year.

President Welcomes Campus Community

All-University Convocation looks ahead to new academic year and celebrates achievements of the past year.
By Katie White

“We are all part of one SDSU community and we share the special privilege and opportunity to move this community forward – to build on excellence.”

Just days before the start of the fall 2016 semester, President Elliot Hirshman has shared San Diego State University’s goals for the 2016-17 academic year.

Hirshman spoke at the annual All-University Convocation today at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. The event celebrates SDSU’s accomplishments and brings together the campus community for an update on the state of the university.

Read a transcript of Hirshman's entire speech.

Building on Excellence

Hirshman outlined the success of the university’s strategic plan, “Building on Excellence.” The plan is beginning its fifth year. It focuses on three objectives: student success, research and creative endeavors, and community and communication.

“We named our strategic plan “Building on Excellence” to acknowledge the foundation of excellence that our predecessors built at San Diego State,” said Hirshman. “In the year ahead, we have an extraordinary opportunity –an opportunity for even greater distinction.”

To strengthen the foundation of excellence, the university will advance numerous initiatives. They include the growth of the study abroad program and the Provost’s Advising Initiative in the area of student success; an increase in research and the enhancement of laboratories in the areas of research and creative endeavors; and the completion of South Campus Plaza construction in the areas of community and communication.

The Campaign for SDSU is expected to reach its $750 million goal during this academic year after raising a record $107 million in fiscal 2016. Campaign funds strengthen SDSU by supporting students, faculty, staff and academic programming.

A record of success

The president acknowledged a long list of accomplishments by faculty, staff and students during the previous academic year.

SDSU’s six-year graduation rate increased to a record 74 percent; researchers received $130 million in external funding – an  increase of almost 10 percent over 2014-15; the university staged nearly 300 arts events attended by more than 127,000 people; and SDSU rose to No. 15 in the Open Doors ranking of top institutions for study abroad.

Outstanding faculty and staff

In addition to reflecting on success and planning for the future, the All-University Convocation also recognized winners of the Zuma Awards for Staff Excellence. They are Jennifer Esquivel-Parker, Jessica Rentto, Hidahis Mesa, Arthur Pasternak, Lingjun Anna He, Edward Legaspi, Joan Goodwin and Rosemarie Busalacchi. The Monty Awards for outstanding faculty achievements were also presented at convocation. This year’s honorees are: Mary Ann Lyman-Hager, Randolph Philipp, Victor Miguel Ponce, Thomas Packard, William Yeager and Linda Gallo.

In closing, Hirshman asked the audience to focus on the university’s common aspirations and goals.

“Today, as we face the challenge of significant discord in our society, I ask you to reflect on one enduring truth: While we may differ from each other in some ways, something more profound ties us all together,” Hirshman said.

“We are all part of one SDSU community and we share the special privilege and opportunity to move this community forward – to build on excellence.”