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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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120 Years of Powering the San Diego Economy

SDSU’s economic influence on the region is stronger than ever.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

“For 120 years, San Diego State University has been contributing to the economic vitality of the San Diego region.”

This year, San Diego State University celebrates the 120th anniversary of its founding as a teacher training school. Now a top public research university, SDSU is an economic driver of San Diego, a source of the region's workforce and a community of faculty, staff and students committed to serving the city.

It has been a vehicle for social mobility, an engine of economic growth and a springboard for San Diego’s development for more than 120 years.

San Diego State University’s sweeping influence in the San Diego region can be difficult to quantify. The two entities have a dynamic interdependence, each one strengthening the other.

The numbers tell the story

In economic terms, SDSU’s impact on San Diego is easily measurable. A recent independent analysis determined that SDSU generates $5.67 billion in annual economic activity in the region.

That’s more than the annual economic impact of the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Convention Center combined, and nearly as much as generated by the 53 U.S. Navy ships home-ported in San Diego.  
In addition, SDSU supports 42,000 jobs and creates $2.01 billion in labor income annually, according to the analysis prepared by ICF, an international consulting firm.

"For 120 years, San Diego State University has been contributing to the economic vitality of the San Diego region," said SDSU President Sally Roush. “We provide the intellectual energy that powers our region’s innovation economy. The fates of SDSU and San Diego will remain inextricably linked for the next 120 years and beyond.”

Aztecs everywhere

As San Diego matured throughout the 20th century, SDSU perpetually reinvented itself to meet evolving regional needs. With expanding academic offerings, regionally focused research and a highly respected faculty, SDSU paralleled the region’s trajectory through a period of explosive growth.

By 1987, SDSU had become the nation’s 10th largest university, serving a regional population of one million residents.

Industries like aerospace, biotechnology, engineering and homeland security increasingly sought out SDSU graduates. Aztecs’ presence increased in the fields of journalism, nursing, hospitality and tourism, accountancy, public health, the arts and education. Today, every sector of the San Diego economy employs SDSU alumni.

Added value

San Diego’s economy also benefits from the applied research of SDSU’s institutes and centers. The Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the Language Acquisition Resource Center, the Center for Research in Math and Science Education, the Institute for Regional Studies of the Californias, the Immersive Visualization Center, the Coastal and Marine Institute—all these and many others provide valuable resources and information to the region and the state.

Campus assets such as Viejas Arena, the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre, the Library and Information Access and KPBS also add value to SDSU’s educational contributions.