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San Diego State


San Diego State

"SDSU", "Sdsu", and "S.D.S.U." redirect here. For other uses, see SDSU (disambiguation).
San Diego State University
Motto Leadership Starts Here
Established 1897
Type Flagship
Research university
Land-grant university
Endowment $136.4 million (2012)[1]
President Elliot Hirshman
Provost Nancy Marlin
Academic staff 1,394 (Fall 2012)[2]
Admin. staff 1,573 (Fall 2012)[2]
Students 31,899 (Fall 2013)[3]
Undergraduates 27,087 (Fall 2013)
Postgraduates 3,827 (Fall 2013)
Doctoral students 534 (Fall 2013)

San Diego, California
Coordinates: 32°46′31″N 117°04′20″W / 32.77528°N 117.07222°W / 32.77528; -117.07222[4]

Campus 283 acres (1.15 km2) Urban
Former names San Diego Normal School (1897–1923)
San Diego Teachers College (1923–35)
San Diego State College (1935–72)
California State University, San Diego (1972–74)
Colors scarlet and black         
Athletics 19 varsity teams
Nickname Aztecs
Mascot Aztec warrior
Affiliations California State University system
Mountain West Conference (NCAA Division 1)
San Diego State College
Location 5300 Campanile Dr., San Diego, California
Area 10 acres (4.0 ha)
Architectural style Mission/spanish Revival
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 97000924[5]
 # 798
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 4, 1997
Designated  1964[6]

San Diego State University (SDSU, State) is a public research university in San Diego, and is the largest and oldest higher education facility in San Diego County. Founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, it is the third-oldest university in the 23-member California State University (CSU), and is considered the flagship campus of the entire system.[7][8] SDSU has a student body of more than 34,000[9] and an alumni base of more than 260,000. The university awards 189 types of bachelor's degrees, 91 different master's degrees, 22 types of doctoral degrees including Ed.D, Ed.S, DPT, J.D., Au.D, Ph.D. programs in collaboration with Claremont Graduate University,[10]UC Davis, UC Riverside,[11] UCSD,[12] and UCSB.[13][14][15] The university also offers 26 different teaching credentials.[16] SDSU offers more doctoral degrees than any other campus in the California State University system, while also enrolling the largest student body of doctoral students (534) in the entire system.[17] In 2013, SDSU enrolled the most doctoral students in its entire history.[18]

The Carnegie Foundation has designated San Diego State University a "Research University with high research activity," placing it among the top 200 higher education institutions in the country conducting research.[19] In the 2009–10 academic year, the university obtained $150 million for research, including $26 million from the National Institutes of Health.[20] The university soon expects to be classified as "Doctoral/Research-Extensive."[21] Notably, pursuant to the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index (FSP Index) released by the Academic Analytics organization of Stony Brook, NY, SDSU is the number one small research university in the United States for four (4) academic years in a row.[22][23][24][25] SDSU sponsors the second highest number of Fulbright Scholars in the state of California, just behind UC Berkeley. Since 2005, the university has produced over 40 student scholars.[26]

Sixty percent of SDSU graduates remain in San Diego,[27] making SDSU a primary educator of the region's work force. Committed to serving the diverse San Diego region, SDSU ranks among the top ten universities nationwide in terms of ethnic and racial diversity among its student body, as well as the number of bachelor's degrees conferred upon minority students.[27]

San Diego State University is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the Southwest Border Security Consortium.


Established on March 13, 1897, San Diego State University first began as the San Diego Normal School, meant to educate local women as elementary school teachers. It was located on a 17-acre (6.9 ha) campus on Park Boulevard in University Heights (now the headquarters of the San Diego Unified School District). It opened with seven faculty members and 91 students; the curriculum was initially limited to English, history and mathematics.[28] In 1923, the San Diego Normal School became San Diego State Teachers College, "a four-year public institution controlled by the state Board of Education."

By the 1930s the school had outgrown its original campus. In 1931 it moved to its current location on a mesa at what was then the eastern edge of San Diego. In 1935, the school expanded its offerings beyond teacher education and became San Diego State College.[29] In 1960, San Diego State College became a part of the California College System, now known as the California State University system. Finally in 1970 San Diego State College became San Diego State University (SDSU).

John F. Kennedy, then the President of the United States of America, gave the graduation commencement address at San Diego State University on June 6, 1963.[30][31][32][33] Kennedy was given an honorary doctorate degree in law at the ceremony, making SDSU the first California State College to award an honorary doctorate degree. In 1964, this event was registered as California Historical Landmark #798.[6]

As a nation, we have no deeper concern, no older commitment and no higher interest than a strong, sound and free system of education for all. In fulfilling this obligation to ourselves and our children, we provide for the future of our nation-and for the future of freedom.

Since 1968, SDSU's Astronomy Department has owned the Mount Laguna Observatory located in the Cleveland National Forest. It operates the observatory concurrently with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[36]

For the beginning of the 2006–2007 academic year, SDSU expanded its classrooms and support space by more than 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) with the opening of three new buildings, the College of Arts and Letters, the Calpulli Center and Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center. The buildings, respectively, feature high-technology classrooms, upgraded health and wellness facilities, and scientific research laboratories.

... The idea that San Diego State College was a place of opportunity, a friendly place...where the individual student was the important, chief concern of the College.

Walter R. Hepner, explaining his purpose as President[37]

In April 2012, his Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama spoke at SDSU's Viejas Arena as part of his "Compassion Without Borders" tour.[38]

University Presidents

SDSU has had a total of ten presidents, eight of which were elected to the post, while the other two were in acting position (resulting in a less than a one year term). Several structures on the campus are named in past presidents' honor such as Hardy Tower, Hepner Hall (integrated in the university's logo), and the Malcolm A. Love Library.[39]

  • Samuel T. Black (1898 to 1910)
  • Edward L. Hardy (1910 to 1935)
  • Walter R. Hepner (1935 to 1952)
  • Malcolm A. Love (1952 to 1971)
  • Donald E. Walker (1971 to 1972) [Acting]
  • Brage Golding (1972 to 1977)
  • Trevor Colbourn (1977 to 1978) [Acting]
  • Thomas B. Day (1978 to 1996)
  • Stephen L. Weber (1996 to 2011)
  • Elliot Hirshman (2011 to present)


Several buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:[40]

  • Scripps Cottage was finished in September 1931, funded with a donation of $6,000 from Ellen Browning Scripps matched with $5,000 from the state. It was the headquarters for the Associated Women Students and was used for meetings, women's activities, and served as a lounge.[41] On September 3, 1968 the building was moved to make room for the new school. It was used mainly as a conference and meeting building, and in 1993, began serving as a center for international students.[42]
  • Aztec Bowl, costing $500,000, the stadium was dedicated on October 3, 1936 before 7,500 people, after being completed earlier that year. The stadium was initially supposed to be expanded to 45,000 seats, but instead was only expanded once with 5,000 seats in 1948. Aztec Bowl was the only state college stadium in California at the time of its construction.[43]
  • Open Air Theatre contained 4,280 seats and was financed by the Works Progress Administration and the state for $200,000. It was dedicated in 1941.[44]
  • On January 19, 1976, the Montezuma Mesa building was renamed to Walter R. Hepner Hall, and on May 1, 1977 the humanities building was named after John Adams, a teacher, administrator, and archivist. The Humanities-Social Sciences building was renamed in 1986 after geographer Alvena Storm and historian Abraham P. Nasatir.[45]
  • In the 1980s the Open Air Theatre added new support facilities and fencing. Peterson Gym was finished in 1961, making the original gym the Women’s Gym until it was remodeled and reopened in 1990 as the Physical Education building. In 1990, 14,000 sq ft (1,300 m2) were added to Storm and Nasatir Halls. In 1986, a large student apartment complex was added along with a 11-story $13,000,000 residence hall (west side of campus).[46]
  • Hardy Memorial Tower, in the Mission Revival style, resembles a Mediterranean church tower and is one of the most recognizable buildings on campus. It also performed a utilitarian function: The tower concealed a 5000 gallon water tank that provided pressure for the campus plumbing system. The building housed the university's first library, which featured murals painted by the Works Progress Administration.[47]
  • The Communications Building, Exercise & Nutritional Sciences, Faculty Staff Club, Life Science Building and Annex, Little Theatre, Physical Plant Boiler Shop, and the Physical Science Building are also listed on the National Register.[40]

Other buildings on campus include:

  • The campus library, now known as the Malcolm A. Love Library, acquired its 100,000th book on May 21, 1944. By the end of World War II it was adding about 8,000 books a year.[48] In 1959, a 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2). addition to the library was finished, but it was already deemed too small.[49] In 1952, the library had 125,000 books, and state regulations required that old books be eliminated before new ones could be added. By 1965, there were more than 300,000 books housed in a library that could hold 230,000. This was ranked highest in state colleges in terms of library size. In the 1960s, construction of a new library began, which required the relocation of Scripps Cottage. The $8,000,000 building was designed with 300,000 sq ft (28,000 m2). of space to accommodate one million books.[50] In February 1971, the library opened, housing 700,000 books, and was named after President Malcolm A. Love for his popularity on campus and his role in bringing State to university status.[51] Governor Ronald Reagan said the library would "...serve as a lasting memorial to the man who led the college through its growing one of the finest state colleges in California."[52] The building was five stories high and was the largest building on campus. A four-story sculpture entitled "Hanging Discus" by sculptor George Baker was specifically designed for the library and added to an interior staircase in November 1973.[53]
  • The ModernSpace Student Union (formerly Aztec Center) is a project that secured financing in 2010[54] to be completed in the Fall of 2013, replacing and approximately doubling[55] the size of the Student Union. The facility will be the first Student Union in the United States to qualify for LEED Platinum distinction.[56]
  • The $11 million Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center opened in October 2009 and is home to the SDSU Alumni Association and the Campanile Foundation.[57]

Residence halls

In 1937, Quetzal Hall, the first dormitory, opened for 40 women students and was located off campus.[44] In 1952, 50 college youth conducted a panty raid at Quetzal Hall, causing $1,000 in damages. Police arrested 13 of the students and the dorm girls later retaliated by attacking the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house.[58] In 1968, the coed dorm Zura Hall was built, and more rooms were added later.[59] Chapultepec Hall held 580 students when first built.[60]

Today, the university owns and operates housing for a total of 3,805 students between the dorms, towers, and student apartments.[61] Approximately 63% of first-time freshman live in on campus housing, while about 14% of the overall student body resides in on campus housing.[62] SDSU offers unique themed-living communities in the freshman and upperclassman housing, such as "pathways for transfers," "gender-neutral housing," and "explore San Diego."

Branch campuses

Currently SDSU operates an outlet campus, or the Imperial Valley Campus, located in Calexico, California with additional campus in Brawley, California. IVC includes a research park and related facilities. The campus originally served upper division, teacher certification, and graduate students only, but now serves a selective cohort of freshmen and sophomores pursuing degrees in criminal justice, liberal studies, or psychology.[63] SDSU formerly operated a campus in North County, which was later converted into the larger California State University, San Marcos. In the South Bay, SDSU operated a campus on the first floor of the parking structure across from the Holiday Inn in National City, California. This campus shared facilities with Southwestern College. The South Bay campus is now closed indefinitely.



Fall Freshman Statistics[64][65][66][66][67][68]

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Applicants 54,323 51,364 45,027 44,845 41,986 50,148
Admits 20,183 16,092 14,805 13,447 15,273 15,658
 % Admitted 37.2 31.3 32.9 30.0 36.4 31.2
Enrolled 4,671 4,139 3,970 3,302 4,223 4,339
Avg GPA 3.61 3.61 3.62 3.63 3.47 3.47
Avg ACT 24.1 23.7 23.7 23.6 22.3 22.4
Avg SAT Composite* 1106 1087 1083 1086 1039 1049
*(out of 1600)

San Diego State University is consistently one of the most applied-to universities within the California State University system (surpassed only by Long Beach), receiving 75,558 undergraduate applications (including transfer and first time freshman) for the Fall 2013 semester[68] and accepted 25,980 for an admission rate of about 34.4% across the university.[68]

For Fall 2013, SDSU received 20,309 applications for transfer admission (having 60 or more units) and accepted 5,181 for a transfer admission rate of 25.5%.[68]

Since 2008, SDSU has become the most selective campus in the California State University system, receiving over 50,000 applicants with a record low admission rate of 31.2% that year, edging out Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) in percentage accepted. A lack of state funding led SDSU to have the lowest admission rate in the CSU system in Fall 2010 (29.9%), besting Cal Poly's 32.5%. As of Fall 2012, SDSU has the second-lowest admission rate in the CSU system (31.3%), tied with Cal Poly and just behind CSU Long Beach (30.9%).

SDSU's average SAT score was the second highest in the CSU for the Fall of 2012, at 1087, behind Cal Poly's 1231 (out of 1600; the writing section is not considered). The average high school GPA of incoming freshmen for Fall 2012 was the second highest in the CSU system, at 3.61.


The university reached its peak enrollment in 1987 with a student body of 35,945, resulting in SDSU being the largest university in California and the 10th largest university in the United States. Due to the overwhelming number of students and lack of facilities and majors, the California State University Board of Trustees voted to cap enrollment for SDSU at 33,000. However, in 1993 enrollment dropped to 26,800 (the lowest since 1973) due to a financial crisis.[69] Nonetheless, enrollment has fluctuated through the years and rose back to nearly 35,000 (exceeding the cap) in 2008. For the fall 2012 semester, the university had a total enrollment of 31,597 students — approximately 26,000 undergraduates and 5,000 postgraduate students — making it one of the largest research universities in the state of California.[70]

In Fall 2013, the SDSU broke the record amount of Doctoral (Ph.D., Au.D., Ed.D., Ed.S., DNP, etc.) students enrolled in its history at 534 students.[17] San Diego State also has the highest amount of Doctoral seeking students enrolled across the 23-campus CSU system.[71]

University rankings
School rankings (overall)

Rankings and distinctions

SDSU rankings
Forbes Best Business Schools[72] 64
CMUP Research Universities[73] 154
USNWR National University[74] 165
  USNWR Business[75] 86
  USNWR Education[76] 65
  USNWR Engineering[77] 132
  USNWR Public Affairs 73
  USNWR Social Work 60
  USNWR Undergraduate Business[78] 87

From 2006 to 2010, SDSU was ranked the No. 1 most productive research university among schools with 14 or fewer Ph.D. programs based on the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index. The school has since exceeded the "small research" limit by adding more Ph.D. programs following 2010. SDSU has been designated a "Research University" with high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation. Since 2000, SDSU faculty and staff have attracted more than $1 billion in grants and contracts for research and program administration. Resultantly, U.S. News & World Report ranks San Diego State University as a "National University" (#165) whereas all other 22 campuses in the CSU are ranked "Regional Universities."[79] SDSU is the largest university in terms of enrollment in the San Diego metropolitan area. One in seven adults in San Diego who holds a college degree attended SDSU. In 2013, SDSU was lauded for its comprehensive endowment campaign efforts, which raised over $400 million from 2007 to 2013. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education recognized SDSU for its overall performance in fundraising efforts.[80]

SDSU is placed at 121 for US High School Counselor Rankings among all universities in the nation.[79]

In terms of Graduate School Rankings, QS Global 200 Business Schools Report ranks SDSU's business school the 80th best in all of North America.[81]

SDSU is also a top producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. SDSU has had more than 40 students receive Fulbright Scholarships since 2005.[82] The university ranks as the No. 30 as the nation's best universities for Vets, according to Military Times Edge.[83] SDSU ranks among the top universities for economic and campus ethnic diversity according to U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges 2012."[82] Nearly 45% of all SDSU graduates are the first in their family to receive a college degree.[84]

Internationally, SDSU offers 335 international education programs in 52 countries. Thirty-four SDSU programs now require international experience for graduation. SDSU ranks No. 1 in California among universities of its type in California and No. 3 among all universities in California for students studying abroad as part of their college experience. SDSU also ranks No. 22 among universities nationwide for the number of students studying abroad. – Institute of International Education. Since 2000, Nearly 12,000 students have studied abroad: a 900% increase in that time. SDSU’s undergraduate international business program ranks No. 11 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s "America’s Best Colleges 2012." SDSU is ranked No. 5 in Sports Management; No. 23 in the MBA/MA in Latin American Studies; and No. 46 in the MBA/Juris Doctor program by Eduniversal for each programs’ international outreach and reputation in 2011. SDSU and Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Mexico offered the first transnational dual degree between the United States and Mexico, in 1994, through the Mexus/International Business program. SDSU's international business program also runs transnational dual degree programs with Brazil, Canada, Chile and Mexico. SDSU’s Language Acquisition Resource Center is one of nine sites selected by the U.S. Department of Education to serve as a National Language Resource Center.[82]

SDSU ranks No. 2 among universities of its type nationwide and No. 1 in California for students studying abroad as part of their college experience.[85]

SDSU is home to the first-ever MBA program in Global Entrepreneurship. As part of the program, students study at four universities worldwide, including the United States, China, the Middle East, and India. Corporate partners include Qualcomm, Invitrogen, Intel, Microsoft, and KPMG. In 1970, SDSU founded the first women's studies program in the country.

Modern Healthcare ranked SDSU No.2 Graduate school for physician executives in relation to their Master's in Public Health program.[86] SDSU is ranked No. 9 in Fortune Small Business's "America's Best Colleges For Entrepreneurs"[87] SDSU ranks 15th best in the nation for the top colleges for engineering majors, and 6th best in California.[88]

Rankings According to U.S. News & World Report: USNWR ranks SDSU's Business School 86th in the nation. Additionally, its Part-Time MBA program ranks 93rd by U.S. News & World Report.[79] SDSU is ranked the 65th best Education School. Its Engineering School ranks 132nd in the nation.[79] SDSU's Audiology and Speech & Language Pathology program rank 27th and 25th best in the nation, respectively. Its Biological Sciences and Chemistry programs rank 92nd and 140th in the nation, respectively.[79] SDSU is home to the 26th best Clinical Psychology and 52nd best Psychology program across the nation according to USNWR. Its Fine Arts program ranks 72nd in the nation. San Diego State's Nursing and Healthcare Management programs rank 127th and 54th respectively. Its Public Affairs and Public Health programs rank 73rd and 30th, respectively. Its Rehab Counseling ranks 9th best in the nation. Furthermore, SDSU's Social Work program ranks 60th best according to USNWR.[79] In respect to online graduate education, SDSU's program ranks 103rd in the nation in 2013.[79]

Organization and administration

Schools and colleges

SDSU has two named schools established in the university by permanent endowments:

  • L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy

Additionally, SDSU has 10 focused schools:

  • School of Communication
  • School of Public Affairs
  • School of Music & Dance
  • School of Exercise & Nutritional Science
  • School of Social Work
  • Graduate School of Public Health
  • School of Journalism & Media Studies
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
  • School of Theatre, Television & Film


See also San Diego State University Research Foundation for additional information

The permanent financial endowment of San Diego State University (SDSU) is currently valued at $136 million U.S. dollars (USD) as of the end of the 2012 academic year.[1]

The primary philanthropic arm of San Diego State University is The Campanile Foundation, controlled by the University Advancement division of the university. The San Diego State University Research Foundation, an auxiliary corporation owned and controlled by the university, is the manager and administrator of all philanthropic funds and external funding for the university and its affiliated and auxiliary foundations and corporations.

As of June 30, 2006, permanent assets of the SDSU Campanile Foundation totaled $134 million.[89]

For the 2004–2005 academic year, SDSU received over $157 million USD in external funding from grants and contracts, as well as an additional $57 million USD in donations and charitable giving.[90] For 2005–2006, SDSU received $152 million USD in grants and contracts to support research. This is followed by $47.7 million USD in donations, gifts and other charitable giving.[91]

An auxiliary to The Campanile Foundation is the Aztec Athletic Association, which primarily raises funds for the student athletes in the San Diego State University athletics programs (see discussion of Athletics below and at SDSU Aztecs).

In addition to its permanent endowment, San Diego State University raises over $55 million U.S. dollars per year (approximately) in philanthropic gifts to support its research and academic affairs.[92]

Media, newspapers, and magazines

Students began publishing The White and Gold in 1902, which was a literary magazine and newspaper.[93] In 1913, a new newspaper was established entitled Normal News Weekly.[94] The school newspaper Paper Lantern (Normal News Weekly was renamed after the addition of the junior college) became The Aztec in September 1925.[95] It was later expanded to its current name, The Daily Aztec. The school's annual yearbook was named Del Sudoeste (Spanish for "of the southwest") in the early 1920s. The Koala, a comedy newspaper that is widely known around the San Diego State area, is also distributed monthly on campus but is not directly connected to the school at the moment.[95]

SDSU media and publications
  • San Diego State University Press
    • The oldest university press in the California State University system with noted specializations in Border Studies, Critical Theory, Latin American Studies, and Cultural Studies.
  • Hyperbole Books
    • Hyperbole Books
  • KPBS Public Broadcasting TV/FM
    • Television, digital television, and FM radio for the San Diego community
    • Official site of KPBS
    • An affiliate of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network
    • "A Broadcasting Service of San Diego State University"
  • KCR (AM)
    • Student-run broadcast station
  • 360 Magazine
    • The quarterly SDSU alumni and San Diego community magazine
Official SDSU campus newspapers
  • SDSU NewsCenter [96]
    • News and information for the SDSU community
  • The Daily Aztec – The largest daily collegiate newspaper in California, publishing daily since 1960.

Student body and Greek life

Demographics of student body Fall 2013[97]
African American 3.8%
Asian American 14.1%
White American 36.7%
Hispanic American 29.2%
Native American 0.3%
International 4.7%
Multiple Ethnicities 5.9%
Other/Not Stated 5.3%

On April 27, 1974, The Phi Beta Kappa Society established an SDSU chapter. It was the first in the CSU system as well as the San Diego area.[70] Other multidisciplinary national honor societies include Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Golden Key, and Phi Eta Sigma.

The first fraternity on campus was the Delta chapter of Epsilon Eta, which formed on October 25, 1921. By the end of the decade there were six other fraternities and eight sororities. The fraternities and sororities were all local, and did not attain national status until after World War II.[98] In 1925, in order to encourage higher grades, the Inter-Fraternity Council and Inter-Sorority Council published the average grades of the fraternity and sorority members. On a 3.0 scale, the average GPA (grade point average) for all students was 1.49, for fraternities was 1.35, and sororities was 1.47.[98] By the mid-1930s there were eight fraternities and eleven sororities,[44] and later expanded to fifteen fraternities and twelve sororities in the 1940s.[99] The first fraternity to go national was Theta Chi and the first sorority was Alpha Xi Delta.[99]

During the 1960s and early 1970s, the Greek population had dwindled to 699, but gradually began to increase in the 1980s, reaching 2,900 in 1988. There were 20 fraternities and 13 sororities officially affiliated with the Inter Fraternity Council and Panhellenic Council as well as six independent fraternities/sororities. This made it one of the largest fraternity and sorority systems in the western U.S.[100] On April 6, 1978, Gamma Phi Beta sorority hired a plane to drop marshmallows on fraternity houses during Derby Week, but the plane crashed near Peterson Gym, injuring four students aboard.[101] In 1983 a USA Today article reported that SDSU Greeks GPAs were below the campus average, so SDSU tightened restrictions and supervision and by 1989 their grades had increased to slightly above University average.[101] Between 1989–91, several riots among the fraternities occurred, including one numbering 3,500 people, and another requiring 34 police officers to end it.[102] The 2008 drug bust resulted in the suspension of several fraternities as well as the arrests of multiple fraternity members.[103] Currently there are over 50 social fraternities and sororities, including general, professional and culturally based organizations, represented by five governing councils.

The Panhellenic sororities on campus include Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Phi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Delta, and Pi Beta Phi.

The IFC council includes Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Upsilon, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Theta, Kappa Alpha Order, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Zeta Beta Tau.

The USFC council includes Alpha Phi Gamma Sorority, Alpha Pi Sigma Sorority, Alpha Psi Rho Fraternity, Beta Gamma Nu, Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Psi Sorority, Gamma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Gamma Rho Lambda, Gamma Zeta Alpha Fraternity, Lambda Sigma Gamma Sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha, Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Zeta Sorority, Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Sigma Phi Omega Sorority, Sigma Theta Psi Sorority and Upsilon Kappa Delta Sorority.

The NPHC council includes Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The Professional Fraternity Council (PFC) includes Alpha Kappa Psi, Alpha Phi Omega, Delta Sigma Pi and Phi Alpha Delta.

LGBT-Friendly campus

SDSU is recognized as one of the most Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer-friendly campuses in all of the U.S.[104] The university attains this recognition through its welcome week LGBT reception, Safe Zone ally training, Big Gay BBQs, participating in Aids Walk San Diego and Pride San Diego, hosting an LGBT college fair, holding a Lavender Graduation ceremony, and several lecture series on the related topic. The university is one of the few campuses in California that is home to the gay social fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi. Additionally, SDSU is one of only two universities in all of the U.S. to offer a major in LGBT studies, while also offering a minor in the discipline.[105][106]



The first major sport on campus was rowing, but it initially had no coaches or tournaments.[107] Other sports that developed early in the campus's history were tennis, basketball, golf, croquet, and baseball.[107] The school's football program had such a limited selection of players that faculty had to be used to fill the roster.[107] When the college merged with the junior college in 1921, SDSU became a member of the Junior College Conference. After the school won the majority of the conference titles in a variety of sports, the league requested that SDSU leave out of fairness to the smaller schools. For its football program, the team outscored its opponents 249 to 52 in ten games, resulting in the first sales of season tickets in 1923.[108] From 1925–26, SDSU played as an independent. It then joined the Southern California Conference in 1926, where it did not win a football conference championship until 1936. However, in other sports including tennis and basketball, it excelled.[108] SDSU remained with the conference until 1939, when it joined the California Collegiate Athletic Association.[109]

The basketball team reached and won multiple championships games during the 1930-1940s, including a conference title in 1931, 1934, 1937, and 1939. It reached the national championship in 1939 and 1940, losing in the final rounds. However, in 1941 SDSU returned and won the college's first national title.[109] In track, the team won conference titles in 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939.[109] The football team won conference titles in 1936 and 1937, and the baseball team won three conference titles and placed second three times between 1935–1941.[109]

In 1955, the Aztec Club was established and raised $20,000 a year by 1957. The club worked in increasing athletic scholarships, hiring better coaches, and developing the college’s intercollegiate athletic programs. In 1956, students approved through a vote of allowing a mandatory student activity fee, with a portion going to athletics. By the end of the decade the budget had doubled to $40,000. The campus’s most successful sports program during the 1950s was cross-country as the team won eight straight conference titles, AAU regional titles, and placed high in national competitions. Basketball ranged from last in the conference to multiple conference, regional, and national appearances. The football program had its first undefeated team in 1951, but in the last part of the decade earned the worst records in the school’s football program under the direction of head coach Paul Governali.[110]

Under Governali, the campus’s football program suffered, due to Governali’s policy of not recruiting new players. To improve the program, Love hired Don Coryell in 1961, which helped the program to win three consecutive championships (1966–68), and end with a record of 104 wins, 19 losses, and 2 ties by the time he left SDSU. Coryell was assisted by John Madden, Joe Gibbs, and Rod Dowhower, among others. In Coryell’s first year, attendance at home games averaged 8,000 people, but by 1966 it had doubled to 16,000. This later jumped to 26,000–41,000 per game with the addition of the new San Diego stadium. At some games, attendance was larger than at San Diego Chargers games. There were several undefeated seasons and multiple players broke records for most catches, touchdowns, and passing yards, among others. In 1969, SDSU moved into NCAA Division 1, leaving the California Collegiate Athletic Association. In 1972, Coyrell left to pursue coaching in the NFL.[111]

Basketball also did well, with the 1967–68 team being ranked the number one college-level team in the nation, although it did not win a national title. The Aztecs also won the 1960 CCAA baseball title, and won multiple national championships throughout the 1960s in track, cross country, and swimming.[111]

By 1970–71, the campus had 14 NCAA sports. The 1973 men’s volleyball team won the NCAA national championship which was the first NCAA national title since moving to Division I status.[112]

SDSU competes in NCAA Division I FBS. Its primary conference is the Mountain West Conference; its women's water polo team participates in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and its men's soccer team participates as an Associate Member of the Pacific-12 Conference (the "Pac-12" Conference). The ice hockey team competes in the ACHA with other western region club teams ( The crew team's championship regatta is in the WIRA (Western International Rowing Association). The university colors are scarlet (red) and black, SDSU's athletic teams are nicknamed "Aztecs", and its current mascot is the Aztec Warrior, historically referred to as "Monty – Montezuma". Athletics revenues have been down recently.[113]


The football team plays at Qualcomm Stadium (formerly known as "Jack Murphy" Stadium).


The basketball teams play at Viejas Arena on the SDSU campus.


The baseball team plays in Tony Gwynn Stadium on the SDSU campus, named after the SDSU baseball and basketball player and current head coach, Tony Gwynn.


The women's volleyball team plays in Peterson Gym on the SDSU campus. The men's volleyball team won the NCAA Championship in 1973, but the team has since been disbanded.


Both the men's and women's teams both play at the Sports Deck on the SDSU campus. The women compete in the Mountain West Conference while the men compete in the Pacific-12 Conference.

Ice Hockey

SDSU's ice hockey team participates in the ACHA Men's Division 2. They advanced to National Championship final game in 2008 for ACHA Men's Division 3 and lost 7–3 to California University of Pennsylvania.

Formula SAE

Aztec Racing – San Diego State's Formula Society of Automotive Engineers - builds a small Formula 1 style race car each year from the ground up. SDSU engineering students design, build, and race the car against hundreds of other schools around the world. SDSU business students help manage, finance, and promote the team as well as seeking sponsorship opportunities.

Other sports

  • The new $12 million aquatic sports complex (known as the Aztec Aquaplex), includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, a separate recreational pool and beach, and a hydrotherapy spa. This facility is home for the swimming and diving teams, in addition to providing recreational use for all SDSU students and community members.
  • In conjunction with the UCSD, the Associated Students organization of San Diego State University runs the Mission Bay Aquatic Center (MBAC) in Mission Bay, California, just a few miles west of the main campus. The MBAC provides for all manner of outdoor activities and sports for SDSU students, administration, and faculty.


Initial clubs that were first started on campus including the Debating Club, the Associated Student Body, YWCA, and in 1906, an alumni association.[93] The oldest club on campus was The Rowing Association.[98]


  • The San Diego State Marching Aztecs and Pep and Varsity Bands are often seen at many sporting events including Football, Basketball and even Volleyball.
  • The San Diego State University (SDSU) campus is known as "Montezuma Mesa", as the university is situated on a mesa overlooking Mission Valley and is located at the intersection of Montezuma Road and College Avenue.
  • Undie Run through campus that takes place during finals week each semester.

S mountain

"S" mountain was created by the Council of Twelve and initially supported by President Hardy. On February 27, 1931, he allowed 500 students to paint rocks, forming a 400-foot (120 m) "S" on Cowles Mountain. The giant S was lit at night for the opening football game of a season (performed by the freshman to build school spirit) along with pep rallies, and was repainted throughout its history.[41][114] At the time, it was the largest collegiate symbol in the world.[115] During World War II, the S was camouflaged to prevent it becoming a reference point for enemy bombing aircraft.[116] It was returned to its normal state in April 1944.[117] In the 1970s students stopped painting it and brush obstructed the symbol. After a 1988 brush fire it was exposed, and students repainted it. In fall, 1997, a group of 100 volunteers climbed Cowles Mountain after dusk to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the school by using flashlights to once again outline the "S" on the side of the mountain. In 1990, a high school prank defaced the S to read as "91" in honor of their graduating class.[118]

School colors and mascot

The initial colors of the school were white and gold. When the junior college was added to the campus in 1921, its colors of blue and gold were merged, resulting in a blue, gold, and white color scheme. New colors were later chosen as gold and purple, until being replaced by crimson and black on January 28, 1928.[119]

The school's prior nicknames for its mascot included "Normalites", "Professors", and "Wampus Cats". However, after a 1924 committee met to address the issue, the name "Aztecs" was decided on.[95] In 2003, the Aztec Warrior was approved by a student and alumni vote to become the official university mascot after the school's prior mascot, Monty Montezuma, was discontinued.[120]

Notable events and popular culture

Film and television
  • The two main characters from the 2004 Academy Award-winning comedy/drama film Sideways were roommates during their college days at SDSU.
  • The SDSU campus is the setting of Hearst College, the fictional university in The CW television network show Veronica Mars.
  • The exterior shots of Rancho Carne High School in the movie Bring it On were mainly filmed at San Diego State University
  • Portions of The Real World: San Diego were filmed around the SDSU campus
  • SDSU is mentioned by Bart Simpson in The Simpsons episode "The President Wore Pearls" (Season 15, 2003). Lisa becomes president of Springfield Elementary and unknowingly strips the school of all of its recreational activities, leading Bart to say, "Lisa, you made this school even worse. And it wasn't exactly San Diego State to begin with."


SDSU was ranked as one of the most dangerous college campuses in the U.S. in 2012 by Business Insider. It placed San Diego State as the 6th most dangerous campus (of those having over 10,000 students and according to data from 2008 to 2011), due to 27 violent crimes and 575 property crimes per year.[121][122]

1996 campus shooting

The San Diego State University shooting occurred on August 15, 1996. A 36-year-old graduate engineering student, while apparently defending his thesis, shot and killed his three professors, Constantinos Lyrintzis, Cheng Liang, and D. Preston Lowrey III, at San Diego State University. The shooter, who was suffering from certain mental problems, was convicted on July 19, 1997, and was sentenced to life in prison. As a memorial, tables with a plaque with information about each victim have been placed adjacent to the College of Engineering building.

2008 student drug arrests
Main article: Operation Sudden Fall

On May 6, 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the arrest of 96 individuals, of whom 33 were San Diego State University students, on a variety of drug charges in a narcotics sting operation dubbed Operation Sudden Fall.[123] It was originally reported that 75 of the arrested were students, but the inflated number included students who had been arrested months earlier, in some cases for simple possession.[124] The bust, which was the largest in the history of San Diego County, drew a mixed reaction from the community.[125]

Notable alumni and faculty

Main article: List of San Diego State University alumni and faculty

San Diego State University has over 260,000 alumni worldwide. The university is one of the top producers of U.S. Student Fulbright Scholars in the nation.[126]


Further reading

External links

  • Official athletics website
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