President Adela de la Torre


Since I assumed the role of president at San Diego State University two years ago, I have noticed that two things distinguish our Aztec family when faced with difficult challenges. First, an immediate surge of resolve inspires our community to work together, propelling us past obstacles. Second, and simply stated: We defy expectations.

Remember when SDSU Mission Valley was only a dream? Or when no one predicted that our men’s basketball team would become the last standing undefeated team in the nation? As you read the stories on the following pages, I hope they remind you of the indomitable Aztec spirit that has made SDSU what it is today.

In many ways, that spirit is what this issue is about. You’ll find it in the story of SDSU’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, who are pursuing their dreams with grace and grit despite the delay of the Tokyo 2020 Games. And in the stories of astronaut Ellen Ochoa, artist John Baldessari and baseball player Stephen Strasburg—determined alumni who rose to the top of their fields.

The Aztec spirit is why I am optimistic about our future, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related challenges we will face for some time. My hope is that you too will be encouraged by our collective capacity to weather these storms, especially as you learn about the remarkable ways our community is responding.

As we look to the fall and the years ahead, I am confident that we will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever. Our new Strategic Plan provides a roadmap to the future we are building together. Read how our Strategic Planning Committee—guided by thoughtful feedback from thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners—arrived at the five strategic priorities that will guide us for the next five years.

I am thrilled that you continue to be part of the SDSU story. For 123 years, SDSU has produced more than 400,000 alumni who are impacting our local community, the nation and the world, and that will not change. Around the world, our graduates will continue to shine as the curious, compassionate and courageous leaders the future needs.

Together we will continue to defy expectations and make the dreams of thousands of students come true.


President de la Torre's signature
Adela de la Torre, Ph.D.