Dr. Adela de la Torre announced as new president of San Diego State University

Posted at 7:18 AM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 22:46:36-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Dr. Adela de la Torre was named Wednesday as the next president of San Diego State University, where she'll become the ninth permanent president and first woman president in SDSU's 121-year history.

Her appointment was announced Wednesday morning by the California State University Board of Trustees. The 63-year-old will take over some time before the end of June.

"I am excited to join the vibrant university community that exists both in San Diego and the Imperial Valley, and I look forward to meeting and working with faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters to further the SDSU mission," de la Torre said in statement.

"SDSU boasts a robust and dynamic variety of academic offerings taught by world-class faculty as well as a commitment to serve a brilliant and diverse population of students," she said. "It is an incredibly prestigious university and a wonderful point of pride for San Diego."

At the moment, de la Torre is the vice chancellor for student affairs at UC Davis. She'll take over the top job at SDSU from Sally Roush, who served as interim president, and will permanently replace Elliot Hirshman, who held the position for six years but left at the end of the last school year to become president of Stevenson College in Maryland.

"Adela is a skilled, student-success-focused administrator, and most importantly is a visionary leader," said Adam Day, the vice chair of the CSU Board of Trustees who led the search committee. "She emerged from a deep pool of candidates as the perfect person to lead the university."

De la Torre's biography at UC Davis described her as "an agricultural and health economist, and nationally recognized expert on Latino and Chicano health issues." She was previously the chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies at UC Davis and was director of the Center for Transnational Health at the University.

Prior to UC Davis, she was the director of the Mexican American Studies and Research Center at the University of Arizona. During her tenure there, she "successfully developed the first graduate program in Mexican American Studies and founded the College of Medicine's first federally funded Hispanic Center of Excellence," according to her biography.

De la Torre earned all of her degrees at UC Berkley, including a bachelor's degree in political economy of natural resources and masters and doctorate degrees in agricultural and resource economics.

She will come aboard at a critical time for the roughly 35,000-student university, which is bursting at the seams of its nearly 290-acre campus.

A proposal known as SDSU West is being pushed by university supporters, who recently submitted more than 106,000 petition signatures in hopes of getting the concept on the ballot, likely in November. They're hoping the recent success of an SDSU fundraising campaign that raised more than $800 million is a sign of momentum in support of the university's expansion efforts.

Under the proposal, the SDCCU Stadium property would be sold to the university, which would then create a development plan for the land.

Since the university is already built to capacity on its existing campus, backers said the proposal would allow SDSU to grow its academic, research and housing facilities to meet increased student demand.

School officials in the fall outlined their vision for the project, including 1.6 million square feet of classroom and research buildings, a river park and open space, 4,500 housing units, retail shops, a pair of hotels and a multi-use, 35,000-seat stadium for college football and other sports.

SDSU Interim President Sally Roush and JMI Realty CEO John Kratzer said the project would be mostly funded by public-private partnerships and not rely on taxpayer financing. The main exception would be the stadium, which would be funded by bonds to be paid back by future revenues.

The land is three trolley stops from the built-out main campus.

The SDSU West project, however, is competing with a proposal known as SoccerCity, which would turn the stadium property into a soccer-centric development that supporters hope will be home to a new Major League Soccer franchise. The proposal, which has already qualified for the ballot, would include a hybrid soccer and college football stadium, a park along the San Diego River, 2.4 million square feet of office space, 740,000 square feet