San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since its founding in 1897, the university has grown to become a leading public research university. Each year, SDSU provides more than 35,000 students with the opportunity to participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. In the Beginning Serving the San Diego region has always been a core part of SDSU's mission. Founded March 13, 1897, San Diego State University began as the San Diego Normal School, a training facility for elementary school teachers. Seven faculty and 91 students met in temporary quarters over a downtown drugstore before moving to a newly constructed 17-acre campus on Park Boulevard. The curriculum was limited at first to English, history and mathematics. Course offerings broadened rapidly under the leadership of Samuel T. Black, who left his position as state superintendent of public instruction to become the new school's first president. Black served from 1898 to 1910. From 1910 to 1935, President Edward L. Hardy headed a vigorous administration that oversaw major changes to the fledgling institution. In 1921, the Normal School became San Diego State Teachers College, a four-year public institution controlled by the state Board of Education. In that same year, the two-year San Diego Junior College, forerunner of today's local community colleges, became a branch of San Diego State. That union lasted until 1946.