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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Hepner Hall (Photo: Jim Brady) Hepner Hall (Photo: Jim Brady)

SDSU Founder’s Day Commemorates a History of Growth and Commitment

On March 13, SDSU celebrates the 121st anniversary of its founding.
By SDSU News Team

Founded March 13, 1897 as the San Diego Normal School with seven faculty members and 91 students, San Diego State University has evolved into a leading public research university offering nationally ranked academic programs and opportunities for transformational study abroad and entrepreneurial experiences.

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 region.

On Founder’s Day, we look back at SDSU’s 121 years of achievement in education, research and community service.

120 Years of Powering the San Diego Economy

For more than 120 years, SDSU has served as an engine of economic growth and a springboard for San Diego’s development. A recent independent analysis determined that SDSU generates $5.67 billion in annual economic activity for the region as well as supporting 42,000 jobs and creating $2.01 billion in labor income annually.

"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.”

Celebrating 120 Years of SDSU Science and Research

The seeds of SDSU’s current success in science and research were planted in the school’s earliest days. SDSU’s continued rise as a leading research institution was bolstered by the opening of the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex, creating a space designed to inspire researchers in the scientific disciplines to find common ground and work together to solve global issues.

120 Years of Athletics

SDSU has experienced great success in athletics dating back to the San Diego Normal School.

Notable Aztecs, including Tony Gwynn, Stephen Strasburg, Don Coryell, Charles E. Peterson, Steve Fisher, Rocky Long and Kawhi Leonard, have paved the way for current and future athletic success on Montezuma Mesa.

120 Years of Serving the Military Community

For more than seven decades, SDSU has been the campus of choice for military students, veterans and their dependents. SDSU currently serves more than 3,700 military-affiliated students, including veterans, active duty reservists and dependents, and is consistently ranked as a top university for veterans by the Military Times.

120 Years of Leadership in the Arts

SDSU’s commitment to excellence in the arts dates back to 1897 and the decision by President Samuel Black to include music professor Florence Derby among the school’s original seven faculty members. That commitment continues today with three schools dedicated to the creative and performing arts as well as the campus-wide initiative, Arts Alive SDSU.

120 Years of Community Centeredness

Throughout its history, SDSU’s commitment to the community has been at the core of the university’s mission. Initiatives such as Aztecs Rock Hunger, Compact for Success, the City Heights Collaborative and many others underscore SDSU’s central connection to San Diego.

120 Years of SDSU Philanthropy

Generations of Aztecs have carried on the tradition of supporting the university that supported them. This is evident by the 74,135 donors to The Campaign for SDSU, which raised more than $815 million to support students, faculty and the continued excellence of scholarship, research and creative endeavors at SDSU.