On the morning of June 28, a small instrumental performance of the national anthem signaled new beginnings at San Diego State as Adela de la Torre began her first day as the university’s new president.
She is taking her position following a months-long presidential search that began with former president Elliot Hirshman’s resignation announcement in May 2017.
De la Torre’s selection was announced in January.
A former UC Davis administrator, she’s San Diego State’s first female permanent president.
“I am honored and humbled to join San Diego State University as its 9th president,” de la Torre said in a June 28 welcome email to students. “I am also excited to be part of this community as we continue building on the strong legacy that has made SDSU one of the most sought-after universities.”
A.S. President Chris Thomas had high praise for interim President Sally Roush, who held down the fort from Hirshman’s last day in office to de la Torre’s first day.
“Sally cleared a lot of things off her plate,” A.S. President Chris Thomas said. “She wasn’t just an interim president. She was a president.”
Thomas said Roush’s work set the stage for many of the changes he hopes to see from de la Torre, including increased efforts to create educational opportunities surrounding the Aztec mascot and the creation of a stronger sense of family and community around campus.
De la Torre only spoke briefly to thank attendees at her first public appearance as university president.
In an April interview with The Daily Aztec, she said she wanted to focus specifically on helping marginalized groups, such as undocumented students. She said she has vast experience in creating support centers for these kinds of student populations from her time as the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity at UC Davis.
“Every group that feels the need to have that kind of support and understanding is something that I am very clearly interested in learning about and learning from the student affairs staff,” de la Torre said at the time.
She told students in a video sent out with the welcome email that she looks forward to fostering a strong campus community that focuses on leadership and innovation.
“My personal commitment is to keep building on this strong legacy that has made San Diego State one of the most sought-after research universities and help build new binational and global bridges,” the new president said.
De la Torre first year in office will almost certainly not be a simple one. At the very least, she’ll deal with the SDSU West initiative in November and the prospective acquisition of the SDCCU Stadium site if it passes. And the controversy over the Aztec mascot and moniker is not likely to end with Roush’s decision to keep it around with minimal changes, including re-designating it as a “spirit leader.”
But the new president remained enthusiastic in her emailed statement.
“I want to us to work together to produce impressive global citizens, compassionate leaders and ethical innovators that benefit the San Diego community and the world at large,” she said.