San Diego, California - San Diego State University students are welcomed back this fall with new leadership, changing buildings, accomplished returning and 54 new faculty and a multitude of new majors and classes, which will enhance the student experience.

New and returning students will step foot on a transforming Mesa, one that is characterized by remarkable students, exceptional and dedicated faculty and staff, and innovative programs.

Guided by the strategic plan, the university is moving forward with initiatives to enhance student success, research and creative endeavors, and community and communication.

SDSU is not only inspiring leadership, but nurturing tomorrow’s leaders.

Here are some of the top new changes, updates and experiences happening on campus this fall:

1) 8,000 New Undergraduates: Nearly 78,000 freshmen and undergraduate transfer students applied for fall 2014 admission to SDSU ― an all-time high for the university. On Aug. 25, SDSU will welcome a total of 8,000 new undergraduates. Of those, the class of 5,000 first-time freshmen is academically impressive, with an average 3.69 high school GPA and SAT score of 1114. Another 3,000 new transfer students and 2,300 graduate and post-baccalaureate students will also join the Aztec family.

2) Entrepreneurship Starts Here: SDSU's commitment to entrepreneurship was recently recognized by FORBES, which ranked the university No. 18 on its list of "America's Most Entrepreneurial Universities" alongside top universities, including Stanford, Yale, Dartmouth and Princeton. The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center within SDSU's College of Business Administration and the Zahn Innovation Center, SDSU's own business incubator, offer students the chance to cultivate their entrepreneurial spirit. This fall, SDSU is also launching a Music Entrepreneurship and Business Program that is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Open to students in all music disciplines, the program is a professional bachelor of music degree with a specialization in entrepreneurship.

3) Arts Alive: Since the launch of its Arts Visibility Initiative, SDSU continues to work to increase awareness of arts events and opportunities at the university. You may have already noticed benches designed and painted by students across campus. The university community can look forward to fully-produced events from the arts schools in traditional venues as well as pop-up performances. Keep an eye out at Love Library, the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, the Farmer’s Market and the Performing Arts Plaza. The arts will be alive throughout the year at SDSU – sometimes where you least expect it!

4) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies: Students can now enroll in a new graduate certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies, one of only a handful of like programs in the nation. The certificate is intended to advance knowledge in sexual and gender identity, and increase understanding of the diverse cultural, historical, ethnic, racial and contemporary experiences of people across sexualities. The certificate program joins SDSU’s LGBT studies minor, which began in 2009, and the major, which launched in 2011.

5) College of Business Administration Page Pavilion: SDSU's College of Business Administration broke ground in May on a $3.1 million renovation that will expand student, faculty and staff collaboration and meeting areas, add a research lab and observation room, establish a first floor lobby area and provide new administrative office space. All of the funding for the new construction came in the form of numerous gifts, including the lead gift which came from College of Business Administration advisory board member, Tom Page, for whom the Page Pavilion on the third floor of the Student Services East building will be named. The renovation is set to be completed in December 2014.

6) Zura Residence Hall Facelift: SDSU's Zura residence hall is undergoing a $53 million renovation which will include 600 available beds for students and the addition of community space for academic achievement and socialization. Other upgrades to the nearly 141,000-square-foot building will include an enhanced main entrance; the enclosure of selected balconies to increase resident room sizes; restroom updates; upgraded finishes; new HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems; as well as replacement of windows and seismic upgrades. The project is expected to be completed in summer 2015.

7) Construction of South Campus Plaza: Construction has begun on a new mixed-use student housing and retail project located immediately south of the SDSU Transit Center, between Hardy Avenue and Montezuma Road. South Campus Plaza will include housing for more than 600 students, along with retail outlets designed to serve both the campus and its surrounding neighborhoods, creating a pedestrian-friendly destination for shopping, dining and living. Preliminary work on the site, which is currently home to temporary classrooms, is underway though major project work will start in September. The project will be constructed in two phases and is estimated to be complete by fall 2016.

8) Associated Students Programming: Just days before the fall semester begins, the annual Templo del Sol celebration will take place, welcoming new students to the Aztec family. Set for Aug. 22, current Aztecs will lead new students on a ceremonial walk through the Hepner Hall arches, where they’ll be greeted by continuing students, alumni, faculty and staff. Associated Students have also prepared several new social events for students as part of Aztec Nights, including a campus carnival, movie and snack nights and a red and black inspired 5K.

9) SDSU Bookstore and Aztec Dining: SDSU Bookstore continues to offer its Price Match Pledge to students ― the store will match textbook prices from KB Books, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com. The bookstore encourages Aztecs to consider the not-for-profit campus partner whose net proceeds support students. Originally sponsored by a U.S. Department of Education grant, the store also offers a Rent to Save program which allows students to rent books for a lower price than if they purchased them. Aztec Dining offers more than 20 restaurants and markets to choose from across campus from The University Towers Kitchen, which offers naturally prepared fresh food, comfort food choices and trend-setting culinary creations, to chain restaurants such as The Habit Burger Grill, Chipotle and Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company, located in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. Meal plans are available for students living on and off-campus.

10) Parking and Traffic: SDSU Parking Services will post electronic signs and staff will direct traffic with the intention of expediting vehicles toward the nearest available spaces. Areas to avoid include the W Lot near Storm and Nasatir Hall Building Complex which will still be under construction. Visit SDSU Police's Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on locations for parking.

About San Diego State University: San Diego State University is a major public research institution offering bachelor's degrees in 91 areas, master's degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 22 areas. The university provides transformative experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom, for its 35,000 students. Students participate in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities. The university’s rich campus life features opportunities for students to participate in, and engage with, the creative and performing arts, a Division I athletics program and the vibrant cultural life of the San Diego region. For more information, visit www.sdsu.edu.