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San Diego State University

Leadership Starts Here

Leading By Example

SDSU's legacy of leadership reaches from entrepreneurship, to research and discovery, to emergency response, to community engagement and everything in between.

The Sage Project


Hardy Tower view of SDSU - photo by Sandy HuffakerClosing the Achievement Gap

Ten years ago, San Diego State University set out to tackle one of education’s biggest problems – the achievement gap. Students from underrepresented minority groups were graduating or continuing their progress toward graduation at a significantly lower rate than other students. So university leaders took action.

Through a university-wide effort, SDSU is now being acknowledged as a model. The Education Trust’s report on public higher education systems in its Access to Success Initiative recognizes SDSU for its success in raising graduation rates and closing the achievement gap among underrepresented minority students.

Darlene Shiley smilingLeaders in the Community

San Diego State University joins the City of San Diego in celebrating Darlene Shiley Month and recognizing Shiley’s steadfast support of local institutions, including San Diego’s three major universities.  

Shiley recently increased her giving to KPBS — the university’s public broadcast station — with a $1 million contribution to be divided equally between the local affiliate and PBS,the nonprofit corporation whose members are America’s public broadcast stations. The PBS gift will support the MASTERPIECE Trust, created to secure the future of the popular television series MASTERPIECE.


Mark Sussman in a labLeaders in Healing

SDSU Professor Mark Sussman and fellow researchers at the SDSU Heart Institute are using cardiac stem cells to repair hearts. Sussman and his fellow researchers at the SDSU Heart Institute have discovered that heart cells do regenerate, but at a much slower rate than the rest of the body. And as you age, that reparative capacity slows down even further.

 “Now, we know that heart cells do in fact regenerate,  how they do it, and what we can do to help them regenerate faster and stronger,” said Sussman.  “This is a huge shift in the way that medicine is done,” said Sussman, currently the chair of the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences for the American Heart Association. “We essentially want to retrain transplant surgeons from replacing the entire heart and show them how to repair a heart with stem cells.”


CEO of Qualcomm Mark Jacobs speaking on stageLeaders in Innovation

With 450 million smartphones sold last year, it’s becoming more and more evident that mobile technology is changing the world, said Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs during SDSU's inaugural President’s Lecture Series.

The President’s Lecture Series shows Aztecs and the wider community how “Leadership starts here” at San Diego State University. Introduced by President Elliot Hirshman, the new series aims to invite leaders from a variety of disciplines to speak about their expertise and their passion. 


Innovation Starts Here

Bill Tong helped develop laser technologies that identify chemicals in extremely small concentrations, allowing earlier detection of AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease.  Tong has patented the same technology to detect Improvised Explosive Devices in the battlefield.

Superhuman Starts Here

The field of bionics is no longer merely science fiction fantasy as robotics are replacing traditional artificial limbs — thanks in large part to San Diego State engineers.

President's Lecture Series

“People at the bottom of the economic pyramid are going to have their first access to the Internet over a smartphone,” said Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said.