Hail Montezuma! The Hidden Treasures of San Diego State

Aztec Timeline: A Chronology of All Things San Diego State > 1930




The San Diego State Teachers’ College Aztecs and the San Diego Marine Corps Reserve Devildogs square off in the first night football game played in San Diego history.  This game, played at the foot of Broadway in an area that would be developed into Lane Field, was won by the Aztecs 39-0 in front of 4,000 fans; it ushered in the era of night sports in San Diego. (September 25, 1930)


San Diego's State Teachers' College moves to the present SDSU campus site at Montezuma Mesa.  The original campus consists of seven mission-style buildings. (February, 1931)

The first “S” is made on Cowles Mountain.  At 400’ by 100’, it is the largest collegiate symbol on the planet. (February 27, 1931)

SDSTC holds an academic dedication for the new buildings of the college in the Little Theatre.  Rabbi H. Cerf Straus opens the ceremony; Dr. William John Cooper, the U.S. Commissioner of Education, gives the main address. (May 1, 1931)

Aztec Shops, Incorporated is created and chartered under California law as a non-profit corporation with a board of trustees.


The San Diego State bookstore is removed from campus because the California attorney general rules that bookstores on state-owned campuses are illegal.  The legislature acts quickly to overturn this action and legalize college bookstores.


John Butler (class of 1935) is the first San Deigo State athlete to gain national recognition when he wins All-Conference honors for three consecutive years in football (1933-35) and is named a Little-American (an all-American at a small college) in 1935.


Jack Rand (class of 1935) brings San Diego State its first National Collegiate Association title by winning the pole vault.  He clears a collegiate-record 14’½”.


The California State Legislature removes the word "Teachers" from the name of the college, making the institution’s official title, “San Diego State College.”


Building on the success of the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition, Balboa Park hosts the California-Pacific International Exposition twenty years later; San Diego State is actively involved in many of its core events.  The exposition employs thousands of individuals—half are federal relief workers—attracts millions of visitors, and is a financial boon for the region.


San Diego State College hosts its first beauty pageant.

On the day that Aztec Bowl is formally dedicated, the San Diego State football team beats Occidental 7-0. (October 3, 1936)

Professor Lewis B. Lesley starts a winter tradition of publicly reading Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” to students; it will continue for decades. (December 1936)


Quetzal Hall becomes San Diego State College’s first dormitory.  It is privately owned.

Famed San Diego sculptor Donal Hord unveils his black diorite statue Aztec near the freshman quad. (May 1937)