Adela de la Torre Becomes First Chicana President of San Diego State University

Dr. Adela de la Torre, an expert in Chicano/Latino health issues, was appointed last week by the California State University Board of Trustees to serve as president of San Diego State University (SDSU). Dr. de la Torre holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She will be coming to SDSU from the University of California, Davis where she is currently the vice chancellor, student affairs and campus diversity. She will begin her appointment in June.

In a statement released last week, Dr. de la Torre said, “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. 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.”

Dr. de la Torre will be the first woman to serve as a permanent president of SDSU and will be the first Chicana. She has held a variety of positions in higher education, including a stint at as director of the Mexican American Studies and Research Center at the University of Arizona (1996-2002). Most recently at UC Davis, she has served as 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 has also worked in the CSU system previously.

SDSU does have the designation of being a Hispanic Serving Institution, which is something that colleges that have over a quarter Latino student population receive. As of 2016, SDSU’s Latino student population was nearly 30%.

Dr. de la Torre’s appointment is welcome news for our community. We need to see strong Chicana and Latina leaders at all levels of the education system.

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