San Diego State University has evolved into a premier urban research university over the last 10 years, and examining this “decade of transformation” will be the focus of SDSU President Stephen L. Weber’s annual address to faculty and staff at the All-University Convocation ceremony Thursday at Cox Arena.
The ceremony, which starts at 9 a.m., marks the traditional start of the academic year. The first day of classes for SDSU’s fall semester is Monday, Aug. 28.
“When you sum up 10 years of hard work by our faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters in the community, the achievements are impressive,” said Weber, who joined SDSU as president in 1996. “San Diego State has improved student performance, expanded research and community engagement, enhanced facilities and private support, and accomplished much more.”
SDSU’s highlights over the last decade include:
•The average GPAs for incoming first-time freshmen has improved from 3.1 to nearly 3.5; average SAT scores also have risen by nearly 90 points.
•The freshman retention rate has risen to more than 82 percent, its highest level since SDSU began tracking it in 1986. Four-, five- and six-year graduation rates also have increased steadily since 1996, with the six-year rate climbing nearly 13 percentage points.
•A $600 million construction and renovation drive has modernized the university. This has added high-tech classrooms, library and student facilities, housing, parking and sports complexes to the campus.
•Annual external grants and contracts awarded to faculty and staff have risen 77 percent, to more than $130 million in 2005-06. Since 2000, SDSU faculty and staff have received more than $880 million in research grants and contracts.
•Private giving to SDSU has grown from $18 million a year a decade ago to $55 million last year. Since 1996 SDSU has received more than $400 million in private gifts, 195 percent more than the total received during the SDSU’s previous 99-year history.
“These are just a few of the significant transitions at SDSU that add up to a remarkable transformation,” Weber said. “These have positioned us well to help serve the changing needs of our students and our community in the future.”
Outstanding faculty also will be honored at Thursday’s ceremony. Nine honorees – one from each of SDSU’s colleges, Library and Information Access, and the Imperial Valley Campus – will receive the 2006-2007 SDSU Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Faculty Contributions, commonly known as the Faculty Montys.