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Monday, September 01, 2003
New Freshman Class Boasts Highest Average GPA in University History

By Jason Foster

San Diego State University will welcome approximately 7,000 new undergraduates, including the best-prepared class of first-time freshmen in its 106-year history, when the fall semester begins on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

The approximately 3,770 first-time freshmen enrollees for fall 2003 have an estimated average GPA of 3.53 and estimated average SAT score of approximately 1073. The class is also expected to be one of SDSU’s most ethnically diverse classes ever.

SDSU President Stephen L. Weber said that there will be sufficient courses and services available to ensure the university’s 34,000 students can continue to move toward graduation in a timely manner.

“Without a doubt SDSU, along with all public colleges and universities in California, took a significant financial hit as a result of the state budget crisis,” Weber said. “We have fewer lecturers and larger class sections this semester. But our students still will receive a high-quality education. We have sound fiscal planning and enrollment management policies in place, we’re taking advantage of instructional technology to teach more effectively, and we have supplemental revenue thanks to the enterprising nature of our faculty and the philanthropic support of the community.”

SDSU’s levels of externally funded research and private support have risen significantly over the last few years, so much in fact that the combination of state general fund revenue and tuition and fees now represent only slightly more than half of SDSU's annual operating budget. During the 2002-03 academic year alone SDSU faculty attracted more than $130 million in grants and contracts for research and other projects, and private donors contributed another $43 million to the university. Over the last three years SDSU faculty have brought in more than $394 million in grants and contracts, and during Weber’s tenure the university has received more than $239 million in private gifts.

“These are significant additional resources that translate into more opportunities for our students,” Weber said. “They help start up new academic programs, sponsor additional faculty, and enable our students to learn by contributing to vital community projects or scientific discoveries.”

Other noteworthy topics as SDSU begins its 107th academic year include:

  • State-of-the-art “Smart Classroom” – SDSU has transformed part of a 70-year-old former gymnasium building into the university’s first 500-seat classroom, complete with state-of-the-art instructional technology. Features include a wireless “audience response system” installed at every seat, an interactive lectern that can record a synchronized version of the faculty member’s verbal comments and lecture notes, and customized video and audio projection systems.

  • Information and Communications Technology Partnership – SDSU and QUALCOMM are launching this partnership to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace. It will provide students from many different majors instruction on strategic use of information and communications technology (ICT). Starting this fall, 30 freshmen in SDSU’s honors program will begin a minor in ICT, receiving a $1,000 award upon successful completion of their academic course load each year. Over the next four years, ICT will become a certificate program and university-wide minor, and there are plans to implement a fifth year master’s degree. QUALCOMM has pledged $250,000 toward the start-up of this program.

  • Trolley Project Taking Shape – Most major construction on the SDSU Trolley station and tunnel, part of the Metropolitan Transit Development Board’s Mission Valley East extension of the San Diego Trolley system, is complete. The concrete foundation and structure of the underground Trolley station site near Aztec Center and the ¾-mile tunnel have been formed and covered over, and a new suspension-style pedestrian bridge over College Avenue will be open for the start of the semester. A comprehensive mitigation plan has allowed university classes and operations to continue with minimal disruption.

SDSUniverse, a news Web site for the faculty and staff of San Diego State University, is published by
Marketing & Communications, Division of University Advancement.