SDSU and the New Deal

The campus of San Diego State University would not be the prestigious establishment it is today without the funding provided by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. During a time of economic chaos and severe depression in the United States, President Roosevelt drafted a series of economic programs that would provide jobs for the jobless and flood the economy with money in hopes of its recovery. Among these economic programs was the Works Progress Administration that retained mostly unskilled men to carry out public works projects such as the construction of public buildings, roads, parks, bridges, and the preservation of historical sites throughout the states.  For San Diego the WPA provided funding to finish the new campus for SDSU that could accommodate the increase of applicants. This funding provided numerous things including new classrooms, a lecture hall, a basement, finished walls, roadways, paved walkways lined with over 50 benches, a music building, the sports arena known as Aztec bowl which contained a press box, bathrooms, a turf field, and a flood lighting system. WPA funding provided extensions to the science buildings, the library, a Greek-style Open Air Theater, an evacuation plan and route, a sewage disposal system, gutters, drainage facilities, bathrooms throughout campus, landscaping, and a upgrades to the power plant building to provide enough power for the new campus. It was this funding and the developments made with it that allowed SDSU to open its doors to over 34,000 students with over 78 undergraduate degree possibilities making it largest and oldest university in San Diego. 


SDSU circa 1930




SDSU current day


About caitlineichlin

History major at California State University San Marcos and aspiring high school history teacher.
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