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(ION San Diego) The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees named Adela de la Torre as the next president of San Diego State University. De la Torre currently serves as vice chancellor, student affairs and campus diversity at the University of California, Davis.

“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. It is an incredibly prestigious university and a wonderful point of pride for San Diego,” said de la Torre. “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 becomes the ninth permanent president of SDSU and the first woman to serve in that role. She will join the campus in late June 2018. Sally Roush currently serves as university president and was appointed to that role on an interim basis after former president Elliot Hirshman accepted the position of president at Stevenson University in Maryland.

“Adela is a skilled, student-success focused administrator, and most importantly is a visionary leader. She emerged from a deep pool of candidates as the perfect person to lead the university,” said Adam Day (’91), the chair of the SDSU search committee and the vice chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.


Eight SDSU-affiliated members of the 17-member search committee spent several months last year developing criteria for candidates selected as finalists for the position. They held more than a dozen “listening tours” seeking input from SDSU faculty, staff and others about the characteristics and qualities the new president should possess.

University Senate Chair Marcie Bober-Michel, Ph.D., a professor in SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media Studies served on the committee. She said her group heard from approximately 150 stakeholders who offered feedback on the list of presidential qualifications.

University Senate Chair and SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies Professor Marcie Bober-Michel, Ph.D. “We had very robust, honest discussions and I think we did a good job characterizing the university,” Bober-Michel said. “The goal was, of course, to make sure that San Diego State University was driving the process.”

In early January, the entire committee sent forward an unranked slate of candidates to the CSU trustees. “Any of them, we thought, would be a fine choice for the position of president and would align with our values, our culture, and our academic and research ambitions,” Bober-Michel said.


De la Torre will join SDSU from UC Davis where she has served in various leadership roles, culminating in her role as vice chancellor, student affairs and campus diversity. In that capacity, she oversees a division that encompasses 28 departments and units that provide programs, services and facilities to foster academic success, student development and campus community.

Her previous positions at UC Davis include interim vice chancellor, student affairs (2012-13), director for the Center for Transnational Health (2004-present), and chair of the Chicana/o Studies department (2009-11). She also served as the director of the Chicana/o Studies program beginning in 2002 and special assistant to the dean, humanities, arts and cultural studies (2003-04).

De la Torre’s additional experience in higher education includes service as director of the Mexican American Studies and Research Center at the University of Arizona (1996-2002).

SDSU’s new president is also familiar with the CSU, having served in the management fellows program at the CSU Office of the Chancellor (1995-96), as the chair of the Chicano/Latino studies department at Long Beach State University (LBSU) from 1991-95, and as a professor of health care administration (1988-96) also at LBSU.

De la Torre earned a B.S. in political economy of natural resources and an M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics all from the University of California, Berkeley.