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Sunday, December 10, 2023

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2021 Seal of Excelencia. 2021 Seal of Excelencia.

SDSU Receives Seal of Excelencia

The nationwide certification recognizes the university for its notable commitment to Latinx studies, as well as the achievement of its Latinx students.
By Lainie Fraser

San Diego State University is among the 10 universities  to receive this year’s Seal of Excelencia granted by Excelencia in Education, an organization dedicated to closing the education equity gap and increasing Latinx degree holders. 

The seal is the first and only national certification that recognizes a college or university’s commitment and achievements in serving Latinx students. 

“San Diego State University is California’s transborder institution, but our position is informed not solely by our multiple border campus locations but by our commitment to truly empower and serve the binational Latinx students that surround us,” said SDSU President Adela de la Torre

“Receiving the Seal of Excelencia acknowledges this commitment, which I am incredibly grateful for,” de la Torre said. “It is my hope that the demonstrated efforts and success we’ve had — though still always a work in progress — will inspire other Latinx serving communities and universities.” 

For maintaining an intentional universitywide focus of advancing Latinx student success by aligning data and practice, SDSU joins nine institutions in this year’s cohort, along with Fresno State, CSU Fullerton, Miami Dade College, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, the University of Central Florida, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and others. Through the certification, SDSU is recognized for consistently identifying and implementing strategies that improve Latinx student achievement and sustaining an environment where Latinx students can thrive. 

SDSU was also just recognized in October by Hispanic Outlook in its Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics list. Hispanic Outlook ranked SDSU No. 43 for its enrollment of Latinx students and No. 25 for conferring the largest number of master’s degrees and No. 16 for conferring the largest number of bachelor's degrees on Latinx students. 

Above all, SDSU by gaining the Excelencia certification has been recognized for its unwavering commitment to intentionally serving Latinx students, while serving all.

The certification adds to SDSU’s longstanding commitment to embody the model of an excellent, nationally-recognized research institution and a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). This vision and goal is reflected in the university's strategic plan priority that calls for new entry points for access and excellence to bolster the region and the world.

“This is an incredible honor for our campus,” said J. Luke Wood, vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity. “SDSU has remained committed to empowering and serving our Latinx students for years now and as a Hispanic-Serving Institution it is wonderful to know that the hard work we have put in is seen as effective and is truly serving our campus’ incredibly diverse and growing community.” 

In addition to making the university’s continued commitment to serving Latinx students a strategic plan priority, SDSU has also:
  • Joined CommuniVax, a nationwide effort to engage the region’s Latinx community amid the pandemic
  • Been named a Fulbright HSI Leader by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Partnered with community colleges to create pathways for Latinx students interested in STEM fields through National Science Foundation and Department of Education funding opportunities
  • Become the home to a program addressing the national shortage of Latinx leaders in community college leadership
  • Begun work on developing COMUNIDAD, a scholars program designed to create a cultural community and support system for Latinx students at SDSU
  • Bolstered the connection between the San Diego and Imperial Valley campuses
  • Opened a new Latinx Resource Center on campus
  • Had a professor join an NSF-funded effort to increase Latinx representation in STEM
  • Embarked on a $15 million effort to bolster Latinx health disparities research
  • Created a task force to review the university’s future as an HSI
  • Created an HSI Student Advisory Board to provide student voice to the HSI endeavor
  • Hosted a campuswide Hispanic Heritage Month celebration
“We are thankful to be recognized nationally by Excelencia,” said Emilio Ulloa, associate chief diversity officer for HSI and regional affairs. “We believe it is a validation of our trajectory toward the realization of a vision of excellence in serving Latinx students, faculty, and staff that is rooted in evidence, collective responsibility, and strategic intentionality, and one that continues to gain momentum.” 

In total, SDSU joins 23 other colleges and universities across the nation working to develop and support the talents of Latinx students. The three-year certificate stems from an independent verification process and is meant to help Excelencia achieve its goals, which include closing the education equity gap and increasing the number of Latinx students attaining degrees.