By Miriam Raftery
Photo: The school’s first “campus” was located in downtown San Diego on the southwest corner of Sixth and F streets. (Credit: SDSU Special Collections and University Archives)
March 15, 2017 (San Diego) – Back in 1897, President William McKinley was sworn in as President of the United States. Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in England. The Klondike gold rush began, and San Diego State University was born. This week, the university is celebrating it 120th anniversary.
The school’s first campus was located in downtown San Diego and was called the State Normal School of San Diego. It was just a few rented stores upstairs above a drug store. Seven teachers taught English, math and history to 91 students back then. The campus later moved to University Heights and eventually, to its current location.
The name changed to San Diego State Teachers College and in 1960, it became part of the new California State College system. Three years later, President John F. Kennedy gave the commencement address at SDSU and received the university's first honorary doctorate.
In the early 1970s, San Diego State College became San Diego State University.
Now in its 120th year, SDSU has a 300-acre campus here in San Diego as well as a satellite campus in Calexico. Today, SDSU is educating 35,000 students, has 1,700 full and part-time faculty, and has over 291,000 living alumni with degrees.
San Diego State University also contributes billions of dollars each year to California’s economy. It is now ranked among the nation’s top 75 public universities and top 150 national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of America's Best Colleges.
An open house is planned on March 18th to celebrate the university’s 120th anniversary.
More information can be found at the Explore SDSU website.