Dear SDSU Community,

As we close the 2020-21 academic year, we have a positive future ahead of us and so much to recognize and appreciate.

The state and nation’s economies are reopening, resulting from greater access to vaccinations and an increased willingness of so many people to get vaccinated. Moreover, our collective efforts to embrace public health guidance to combat the pandemic has set the stage for us to once again gain control over our future and destiny.

 
 
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Your cooperation and many sacrifices during this last year were critical to the successful outcomes and implementation of our SDSU Flex plan. Because of your willingness to endure repeated COVID-19 tests and strict classroom and research protocols, we have not had any COVID-19 outbreaks connected to classroom or research activities since the start of the pandemic.

As we plan for in-person commencement activities this month and the ongoing expansion of our on campus repopulation over the next months, I could not be more excited about fall 2021.

Special Nod to Graduates

To our students: I celebrate and honor each of you. You showed up for your academic success, you adapted and you spoke out against bias and hate in meaningful ways. Your actions to bring people together through compassion and through our Associated Students’ theme for this year — the “power of one” — is exactly what we all need right now.

 
 
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I also give special acknowledgement to the SDSU and SDSU Imperial Valley classes of 2020 and 2021, and every single faculty and staff member and also family member or other loved one who supported them.

To our graduates: We look forward to celebrating you, along with your families, during several well-deserved ceremonies this month. More than 9,000 graduates have signed up to participate in-person. Your class will forever be a reminder of the power, strength and tenacity of our one SDSU community.

 
 
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We’ve Been Busy This Year

We are forever changed by this year, but not only for the reasons you might expect. We have accomplished incredible things in the last 12 months that have advanced our mission to grow, to teach, to advance knowledge through research, and to serve our world:

  • This month marks the end of the first year of our strategic plan, which has already resulted in new research initiatives, expanded academic program offerings, new centers and programs, and new microsite partnerships.

  • We increased investments in SDSU Imperial Valley, which is expanding its programs and adding its first STEM program this fall.

  • Our student and faculty diversity continues to grow. We have admitted our most diverse and academically prepared cohort in SDSU history, and more than 65% of our newly hired faculty are underrepresented in their respective disciplines.

  • We are seeing record high levels of philanthropy for the third year in a row, and support for new endowed faculty and chair positions reached an all time high in 2020, even during the pandemic period.

  • SDSU Mission Valley, actively under construction and on schedule, is providing thousands of new jobs to our region. Our new Aztec Stadium is taking shape.

  • Significant investments have been made in improving our infrastructure and technology all across campus, to include Connected Classrooms, which feature technology capable of recording and/or live streaming lectures.

  • Many of our student-athletes and teams had powerhouse seasons. The men’s basketball team was named Mountain West champions for a second straight year, our women’s soccer took conference accolades, and the men’s golf team captured the Southwestern Invitational title.

Our mission to educate and prepare students for a global economy — engaged with an increasingly diverse workforce — has stayed constant throughout this time. And our transborder region created a rich environment to better prepare our students for the growing complexities of an ever changing world, even in the virtual spaces.

 
 
 
 

Looking Ahead

It has been so encouraging to see San Diego and California break records for vaccination. As of yesterday, May 12, an incredible 87% of the San Diego County goal population was already partially vaccinated. Studies continue to show that all of the current COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and highly effective.

 
 
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More than 50% of our students have already partially or fully completed their vaccination series. Our faculty and staff have also reported high rates of vaccination. These efforts mean we will very soon enjoy the in-person activities and time-held traditions that create meaningful connections for all of us.

I hope each of you can take a moment to acknowledge what you have accomplished this year and what we have achieved together. I send my best regards for a healthy and safe summer for all of you. It is my hope that we can once again join together as fellow Aztecs and enjoy the simple pleasures of a conversation in a hallway or the sharing of a sunset by our Student Union in the fall. I thank you again for your patience, fortitude and courage as we move forward into the next chapter of our SDSU journey.

Adela de la Torre, Ph.D.
San Diego State University President

 
 

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