Strategic targets surpassed in SDSU's memorable four-year journey

President lauded community engagement, announced $5M gift to Black Resource Center during campus celebration.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024
President Adela de la Torre during SDSU's Strategic Plan Celebration reported that the university has reached 75% of its strategic goals in less than four years. (SDSU)
President Adela de la Torre during SDSU's Strategic Plan Celebration reported that the university has reached 75% of its strategic goals in less than four years. (SDSU)

San Diego State University celebrated a growing list of achievements in the fourth year of a five-year strategic plan, and President Adela de la Torre used the occasion to disclose an extraordinary $5 million gift to the SDSU Black Resource Center.

Nearly 200 faculty, staff and students gathered in a reception Monday at Montezuma Hall in Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union as de la Torre stated the strategic plan, “We Rise We Defy,” has reached 75% of its goals in less than four years.

“This has been a collective effort,” de la Torre said. “Each of you has played a critical role … I’m so proud of this university, what we have accomplished and what the future will bring.”

De la Torre also told the audience of a $5 million gift from brothers Ron Dong and Lloyd Dong Jr. to the Black Resource Center (BRC). The BRC opened in 2018 as a space for students, faculty and staff to cultivate a sense of community. The announcement brought gasps and a round of applause. The center will be renamed in honor of Gus and Emma Thompson and their importance in the Dong family’s history.

The strategic plan was adopted in August 2020, with input from across campus gathered over the previous year, to chart out a path for SDSU during a period in which it reached its 125th anniversary. The plan speaks to the university’s aspirations for academic excellence, student success and groundbreaking research, grouped under five main themes and dozens of individual goals and key activities with specific deadlines.

Among the most significant achievements so far is the state government’s approval of AB 656, which amended the California Master Plan for Higher Education to allow SDSU and other parts of California State University (CSU) to develop independent doctoral programs. These previously required partnerships with the University of California (UC) or an independent doctoral institution, and de la Torre noted that both advocacy in Sacramento and negotiations with multiple CSU chancellors were required for the change.

De la Torre also cited the opening of new student cultural resource centers, and said enhanced financial support has resulted in a record 99.9% utilization of available scholarship support. Two-thirds of all SDSU students now receive some sort of scholarship or financial aid each year, she noted, and nearly three out of four members of the Class of ‘23 completed their degrees without taking out any student loan.

In the first year of prioritizing direct donor support of faculty, de la Torre said SDSU raised more than $16 million for endowed professorships, “allowing us to hire new faculty faster than we would otherwise be able to do, and recruit even more competitive candidates.”

With student success a principal focus of the strategic plan, de la Torre noted SDSU already has exceeded four- and six-year graduation rate goals set for the year 2025 by a CSU initiative.

“Students and families have shown trust by making us one of the top ten most applied-to colleges in the country, and pushing enrollment over 37,000 for the first time.”

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