search button
newscenter logo
Saturday, September 23, 2023

Follow SDSU Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook SDSU RSS Feed

SDSU President Adela de la Torre waves to the crowd gathered at Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union during the university’s 125th anniversary celebration Monday afternoon, March 14, 2022.

SDSU’s 125th Anniversary Celebrations Begin

SDSU has officially launched its 125th anniversary celebrations and, during Monday’s events, announced its updated brand and visual identity.
By SDSU News Team

With the Marching Aztecs and cheerleaders and dancers, along with a surprise appearance by the SDSU Diamonds Dance Team, San Diego State University officially launched its anniversary celebrations on Monday. 

With the anniversary celebrations came a major announcement: As a key outcome of the university’s 5-year strategic plan, SDSU has launched an updated and cohesive brand identity and plans to expand regional, statewide, national and international visibility. 

“SDSU is one university with many locations, to include our microsites, and we identified a strong need to strengthen our foundation and build visibility worldwide through a new and powerful brand identity and communications campaign,”  SDSU President Adela de la Torre said to a crowd of about 500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. 

“With a contemporary brand and strategy that considers the unique experiences and contributions of our students, faculty and staff and all of our campus locations, we are better positioned as a transborder academic and research powerhouse driven to transform the communities we serve and the industries we impact,” de la Torre said. 

Reimagined Brand Stems from Strategic Plan

The brand and visual identity system announced on Monday was developed over a 10-month process, involving meetings, focus groups and surveys while also involving students and student leaders, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and families, supporters and others. 

The updated brand represents a shared vision informed by the university’s strategic plan. It brings all university locations together under an initiative designed to heighten national awareness of the university’s impact and reputation. It will also drive new opportunities that benefit students, faculty and staff, said SDSU Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa

“This is an important moment as we appreciate our university’s foundational role in our state’s history and as we honor our past, present, and future,” Ochoa said. 

“As we elevate our brand promise and the value of our university, we are growing our capacity with SDSU Imperial Valley and through the SDSU Mission Valley development, seeing record-making demand for an SDSU degree, supporting our record-breaking Mountain West student-athletes and also generating thousands of jobs for San Diegans,” Ochoa said. “Our impact and our global reputation are both on the rise and, with that evolution, comes meaningful growth for our campus community and our entire region.” 

Hundreds of visitors at the party sang “Happy Birthday” to SDSU as the Marching Aztecs played.

“It’s fabulous — everything,” said Isobel Chisum, who graduated from San Diego State College in 1958 with a degree in elementary education. Chisum and her husband, Bill, were toward the end of a line to snag one of 1,000 free commemorative T-shirts. They have two sons who are also alumni, are longtime season-ticket holders both for basketball and football, and are “looking forward to that new stadium,” Bill Chisum said.

New Tagline, Expanded Color Palette Introduced 

The university also unveiled a new tagline: Transform Your Tomorrow. 

“When I consider this phrase, I think about the many students who came before me with the drive to create positive and needed change. So much of what we enjoy today is because our students, and also our faculty and staff, were driven to transform,” said Karina Esteban, executive vice president for the Associated Students, who presented the university’s new tagline during the event. 

“Transform Your Tomorrow reminds us to be dynamic, to be curious and to find ways to create authentic meaning in life. It compels us to find ways to improve our own lives, while helping to improve the conditions and the lives of others,” Esteban said. “Transform Your Tomorrow reminds us to be in the present while being ready to address the future. It is a powerful, bold statement, and it belongs to each of us.” 

The university also announced that, in addition to its primary colors of red and black, the color teal is now part of its secondary color palette. This addition reflects that the color has long been utilized on our campus, is already featured in some of SDU’s architecture and has important meaning for many Native and Indigenous communities. 

Through the Decades

In an open house at Montezuma Hall in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, visitors walked through a decade-by-decade display of unique holdings from the University Library and re-enactments, primarily by theater students, representing key moments in university history.

“We are the jolly students of the Normal School,” Kylee Kyte and Sascha Parafiniuk proclaimed in a chant from the earliest days of the institution. For the ’30s, Synai Maxwell called out the “Ten Commandments” for first-year students.

Two other performances drew from famous visits to campus: Leilani Snow and Tre Boyd read a portion of President John F. Kennedy’s speech on June 6, 1963, and Leah Ballard offered an excerpt from the 2012 lecture delivered by the 14th Dalai Lama. A 1980’s address to graduates by then-SDSU President Thomas Day was presented by Hope-Elizabeth Dagdagan.

“This is fantastic,” said Vic Enchelmayer, who works with SDSU’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, as he headed back in for a second look. 

Montezuma Hall also featured a Mars exploration display with a virtual reality headset. Outside, three tables provided alumni an opportunity to record oral histories.

Celebrations to Continue More than One Year 

“This day belongs to all of us, whether you are one of the nearly 500,000 students that has attended San Diego State or one of the millions affiliated, impacted, or influenced by SDSU,” University History Curator Seth Mallios said during Monday’s events. 

“This extended anniversary will give us a chance to spotlight the incredible diversity of our institution, the depth of our history, and our spectacular momentum for the future,” Mallios said. “As we reflect on SDSU’s 125-year past and think about the next century, I am thrilled to look out and see so many individuals who make history on a daily basis.”