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San Diego State Appoints First Woman President In Interim Position

A campus map at San Diego State University, Sept. 24, 2016.

Longtime San Diego State University executive Sally Roush will become interim president on July 1, making her the first woman to head the school, it was announced today.

SDSU News Center
Sally Roush, interim president of San Diego State University, is shown in this undated photo.

Roush, appointed by California State University Chancellor Timothy White, is expected to hold the position for about one year, until a permanent replacement for Elliot Hirschman takes over.


Hirshman announced two months ago that he accepted a position as president of Stevenson College in Maryland, and would leave SDSU after six years at the helm.

The search for his replacement will be led by Adam Day, the vice chairman of the CSU Board of Trustees and son of former SDSU President Thomas Day. The board will make the final selection.

In a statement released by the CSU, White said Roush is the right person to lead the school in the interim.

"During a long and distinguished career of serving SDSU, including 19 years as a senior vice president, Sally always demonstrated passion and dedication for the university mission," White said. "She brings deep understanding of the academic excellence and administrative functions of the university, and I have full confidence in her ability to promote the standard of excellence SDSU has achieved under President Hirshman."

Roush held various positions at the school for 31 years before retiring in 2013 as senior vice president for business and financial affairs.


She later served as interim vice chancellor and chief financial officer for the CSU Office of the Chancellor, and has consulted for the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Sonoma State campuses.

"My time at SDSU was the highlight of my professional career," Roush said. "I am excited to re-engage with faculty, staff, students and all members of the campus community as we work together to serve the San Diego and Imperial Valley region."

SDSU has a satellite campus in Calexico.

Her responsibilities on Montezuma Mesa included budget and financial operations, intercollegiate athletics, real estate management and development, human resources, public safety and information technology.

That experience could prove crucial at a time when the future of the Qualcomm Stadium property — long eyed by SDSU officials for expansion — is in question.

A group of investors is pushing for a redevelopment of the site that would include some student housing and a smaller stadium for the Aztecs football program, and have turned in petition signatures in hopes of getting the project on the November ballot.

University leaders, who want classroom and research space in Mission Valley, plus a replacement stadium that would be economically viable to expand, have expressed reservations about the proposal. The Aztecs are expected to play in Qualcomm Stadium for two more seasons before moving to temporary digs at Petco Park.