University of San Diego: Wikis


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University of San Diego
SI seal.gif
Motto Emitte Spiritum Tuum
(Latin, Send Forth Thy Spirit)
Established 1949
Type Private
Endowment $267 million (2009)[1]
President Dr. Mary E. Lyons
Faculty 801
Students 7,832
Location San Diego, California, U.S.
Campus Urban
Campus name Alcalá Park
Colors Navy blue     , Columbia blue     , and white     
Mascot Toreros (Bullfighters)
USD master logo.png

The University of San Diego is a Roman Catholic university in San Diego, California. USD (an abbreviation also used by the University of South Dakota) offers more than sixty bachelor's, master’s, and doctoral programs. The university consists of six schools: the School of Business Administration, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the School of Law, the School of Nursing & Health Science, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.



Immaculata Parish Church at USD showing the architectural style of the campus.

Chartered in 1949, the University opened its doors to its first class of students in 1952 as the San Diego College for Women. Most Reverend Charles F. Buddy, D.D., then bishop of the Diocese of San Diego and Reverend Mother Rosalie Hill, RSCJ, a Superior Vicaress of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, chartered the institution from resources drawn from their respective organizations on a stretch of land known as "Alcalá Park," named for San Diego de Alcalá. In September 1954, the San Diego College for Men and the School of Law opened. These two schools originally occupied Bogue Hall on the same site of University High School, which would later become the home of the University of San Diego High School. Starting in 1954, Alcalá Park also served as the diocesan chancery office and housed the episcopal offices, until the diocese moved to a vacated Benedictine convent that was converted to a pastoral center. In 1957, Immaculate Heart Major Seminary and St. Francis Minor Seminary were moved into their newly completed facility, now known as Maher Hall. The Immaculata Chapel, now no longer affiliated with USD, also opened that year as part of the seminary facilities. For nearly two decades, these schools co-existed on Alcalá Park. Immaculate Heart closed at the end of 1968, when its building was renamed De Sales Hall; St. Francis remained open until 1970, when it was transferred to another location on campus, leaving all of the newly named Bishop Leo T. Maher Hall to the newly merged co-educational University of San Diego in 1972. Since then, the University has grown quickly and dramatically increased its assets and academic programs with the financial capital coming primarily from the student body. The community, including local patrons and businesses, has also been integral to the University's success.

The Universidad de Alcalá in Spain, inspiration for Mother Hill's USD

Arguably, the most dramatic growth since the 1972 merger has occurred since the mid-1980s. In 1998, Joan B. Kroc, philanthropist and wife of McDonald's financier Ray Kroc, and a strong advocate for world peace, endowed USD with a gift of $25 million for the construction of the Institute for Peace & Justice. USD further benefited from the general trend of yearly, unprecedented tuition increases among private universities, as well as multi-million dollar gifts from weight-loss tycoon Jenny Craig, inventor Donald Shiley, investment banker and alumnus Bert Degheri, and an addition $50 million Mrs. Kroc left the IPJ upon her passing. These gifts made possible, respectively, the Jenny Craig Pavilion (an athletic arena), the Donald P. Shiley Institute for Science and Technology, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, and the Degheri Alumni Center. Consequently, USD has been in the media spotlight hosting the West Coast Conference (WCC) basketball tournament in 2002 and 2003, and has been able to host prestigious functions such as the Kyoto Laureate Symposium at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. Shiley's gift has provided the University with some of the most state-of-the-art teaching laboratories in Southern California. In 2005 the university expanded the Colachis Plaza from the Immaculata along Marian Way to the east end of Hall, which effectively closed the east end of the campus to vehicular traffic. That same year, the student body approved plans for a renovation and expansion of the Hahn University Center made possible by a $30 million gift from an anonymous alumus, which began at the end of 2007.

Environment and location

The Alcalá Park campus overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Alcalá Park sits atop the edge of a mesa overlooking Mission Bay and other parts of San Diego, California. The philosophy of USD's founderess and her fellow religious, relied heavily on the belief that studying in beautiful surroundings could improve the educational experience of students. Thus, to complement the natural beauty of the area, the university's buildings are designed in 16th-century Spanish Renaissance architectural style, paying homage to both San Diego's Catholic heritage and the Universidad de Alcalá in Spain. Many students and faculty choose to live on campus and immerse themselves in this architectural atmosphere and setting.

The campus is located approximately two miles north of downtown San Diego, on the north crest of Mission Valley in the community of Linda Vista. From the westernmost edges of Alcalá Park the communities of Mission Hills, Old Town, Point Loma, Ocean Beach, Bay Park, Mission Beach, and Pacific Beach can be seen. Also, views of the Pacific Ocean, Mission Bay, San Diego Harbor, the Coronado Islands, and La Jolla are also prominent throughout the campus.


Though a Catholic university, the school is no longer governed directly by the Diocese of San Diego or any religious order. Today, a layboard of trustees governs the university's operations. However, the Bishop of San Diego, the Most Rev. Robert H. Brom, retains a seat as a permanent member and retains control of the school's designation of "Catholic."


USD Courtyard

The University of San Diego offers more than 60 degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. USD is divided into six schools and colleges. The College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Law are the oldest academic divisions at USD; the Kroc School of Peace Studies is the university's newest school. USD offers an honors program at the undergraduate level, with approximately 300 students enrolled annually.

U.S. News & World Report ranks USD 110nd among "National Universities" and the Princeton Review includes USD in its guidebook of the 351 best universities. In 2009, the Princeton Review ranked USD as the #6 Most Beautiful Campus.

University rankings

Forbes[2] 346
USNWR National[3] 110
USNWR Business[4] unranked
USNWR Education[5] 96
USNWR Law[6] 61
WM National[7] 72

For potential applicants, the average GPA of admitted freshmen for fall 2007 was 3.76. The average SAT I score was 1175 and the average ACT score was 26.1.[8]

The Institute of International Education said in their Open Doors 2009 Report on International Educational Exchange that The University of San Diego ranks second among national universities for its percentage of undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs. In the '08-'09 year USD had a 78.5 percent undergraduate student participation rate, up from the previous year’s 60 percent participation and No. 6 ranking. The current ranking, USD’s highest ever in the IIE report, continues a sharp increase for the university, which, as recently as 2006, was not ranked. In 2007, USD was ranked 26th among the top 40. [9]


College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. The university is also a member of Mortar Board national honors society for college seniors, and participates with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in recognizing the superior academic achievements of first and second year students. Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater and Strauss finalists and scholars have earned their undergraduate degrees at USD.

USD offers an MFA in Dramatic Arts in collaboration with the world renown Old Globe theater. This partnership makes one of the finest acting programs anywhere. Only seven students are chosen each year, and they are given full scholarships and stipends (worth more than $50,000/year). But most important, students are given the chance to perform at the Old Globe, one of America's finest regional theaters. Guest directors have included Jack O'Brien, Daniel Sullivan, Nicholas Martin, John Rando and Matthew August.

School of Law

Founded in 1954, the School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the American Association of Law Schools. University of San Diego School of Law is one of only 80 ABA-accredited law schools to hold a membership in the Order of the Coif, the most distinguished rank of American law schools. Well-respected, legal educator, Brian Leiter has often regarded the University of San Diego School of Law as having one of the strongest law faculties in the nation. In 2003-2004, Leiter ranked the school 22nd in the nation in terms of scholarly impact. [1]In 2007, Leiter ranked the school's faculty 27th in the nation based on mean scholarly impact.[2] The University of San Diego School of Law is also notable for attracting a strong student body, consistently placing amongst the top 40 US law schools. [3] In San Diego, one out of every four practicing lawyers is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. Among its several projects is the Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Management of which former United States Attorney General Edwin Meese was director from 1977 to 1981.

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science

The Philip Y. Hahn School of Nursing & Health Science is among the top ten percent of graduate-level nursing programs according to the U.S. News & World Report (#47). USD Nursing was the first Ph.D. nursing program in California.

School of Leadership and Education Sciences

The School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) has nearly 700 students at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. Coming from the United States as well as other nations, SOLES students and faculty are culturally and ethnically diverse. SOLES academic programs include Counseling, Leadership Studies, and Marital and Family Therapy, as well as the Department of Learning and Teaching. The school offers the following degrees: Ph.D., M.Ed., M.A.T., and M.A. Additionally, SOLES has certificate programs in American Humanics, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Character Development.

Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research

The Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research was launched in 2004 with generous start-up grants provided by The Westreich Foundation and the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation. In 2007 the Center received a generous naming contribution from the Caster family. Housed within the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) the work of the Center is co-directed and is supported by an active Advisory Committee. The Center is staffed by doctoral students.

The Mission of the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research is to study issues of strategic importance to the sector and to identify and advance best practices in nonprofit leadership and management. The Center's vision includes: (a) In the next five years USD's Center for Nonprofit Research will become recognized as a source of the highest quality research in the nonprofit sector; (b) The Center will serve as a convener of broad based community dialogues around topics of relevance to strategic operations and public policy; (c) The Center will help to define the full landscape of San Diego 's nonprofit sector so as to increase the community's understanding of the value and contribution of the sector.

School of Business Administration

The School of Business Administration is one of only a handful of schools with AACSB business program accreditation and ABET engineering degree accreditation. The School is also home to the Ahlers Center for International Business, one of the few private endowments for international business in the world.

USD's undergrad business school was ranked #29 in the country by BusinessWeek in March, 2009, and is one of the top five ranked programs on the west coast. The MBA program is ranked #36 in the world for social responsibility in the Beyond Grey Pinstripes Global 100 list, and is the highest ranking program on that measure in Southern California. The university also offers a specialized International MBA program. Students enrolled in the International MBA have the option to pursue a joint Masters degree abroad with EGADE Business School at Tec de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico or the WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar (near Koblenz), Germany.

The school has a number of specialized master degree programs. The Master of Science in Real Estate provides students with a solid foundation and helps them develop the specialized skills needed by real estate professionals. The real estate degree prepares students for careers in mortgage lending, development, equity investment, brokerage and sales, valuation, consulting, property and asset management, and other specialties.[10] The school as well offers one of the few bachelor's degrees in real estate offered in the US.

Dean David F. Pyke joined the school in July, 2008 after having previously served as associate dean at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business where he ran Tuck's highly ranked MBA program.

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

The Kroc School of Peace Studies has recently opened. The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice was established thanks to Mrs. Kroc's gift of $75 million in-all "to not only teach peace, but make peace". The first Master’s level graduate students entered the Kroc Institute in 2002.

Social justice, ethics, and spirituality related programs

The University of San Diego has a special commitment to issues of social justice, ethics, and spirituality. It has several programs, centers, and institutes that deal with a wide variety of these issues: Center for Community Service Learning, Center for Latino/a Catholicism, Center for Christian Spirituality, the Character Development Center, Ethnic Studies Program, the Romero Center, the Social Issues Committee, the Trans-Border Institute, and the Values Institute.


San Diego Toreros logo

USD athletes compete in the West Coast Conference at the Division I level of the NCAA. The football program does not offer scholarships, and competes at Division I-AA in the Pioneer Football League. The women's softball program competes in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference, and in 2004-05 the women's swimming and diving teams began to compete in the Western Athletic Conference. USD athletes and teams are known as the Toreros, which is Spanish for "Bullfighters". Team uniforms and jerseys are in university's colors: navy blue, columbia blue, and white. Facilities include the Jenny Craig Pavilion, McNamara Fitness Room, Varsity Weight Room, Erg Rowing Room, Golf Team Room Sports Center Gym and Pool, East and West Tennis Courts, Torero Stadium, Cunningham Stadium, Torero Softball Complex, USD Mission Bay Boathouse, and two intramural fields. The student spirit club, is called the The Frontline.

The Toreros lone national champion is Zuzana Lesenarova, who won the women's tennis singles championship in 2000 by defeating Stanford's Marissa Irvin 4-6, 6-3, 7-6.

In 2007, Toreros' quarterback Josh Johnson threw for 43 touchdown passes and just 1 interception, a school record. Johnson was later drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In 1992, the Toreros ran off a series of men's college soccer upsets, playing all the way to the finals of the College Cup. There they finally lost 2-0 to a heavily favored University of Virginia team in the midst of their four consecutive NCAA titles.

The 13th seeded Toreros upset the University of Connecticut in the first round of the 2008 Mens' NCAA Basketball Tournament on March 21, 2008. This marked the first time USD had advanced in the tournament, as well as the first time UConn was eliminated in the first round while coached by Jim Calhoun. It was the first ever NCAA Tournament win for any school in San Diego.

Student life

The undergraduate student body is represented by official student government known as the Associated Students (A.S.). Chris Liepman '10 is the current Associated Students President. The Associated Students' Leadership Team serves University of San Diego Undergraduates as official student representatives who promote opportunities for growth and expression, address student issues, and enrich a diverse, inclusive, and engaged community. A.S. works in areas of programming, student issues, marketing, finance, multicultural relations, academics, and student organizations. Student fees make up A.S.'s $1,00,000 yearly budget. A.S. also assists in the funding of different "centers" on campus including Center for Awareness, Service & Action (CASA), Torero Days/Orientation, Social Issues Committee, USDtv, United Front Multicultural Center (UFMC or simply, UF), and Women's Center. The University recently acquired an unofficial radio station in the Spring of 2009, which was funded, designed and run entirely by the students themselves. In the fall of 2009 it became official (

Student Affairs is the Universities division focused on creating an educational environment which motivates and inspires student learning and personal development, serves the University community, and challenges students to make a positive contribution to society. Within Student Affairs is the Wellness Division which includes the Counseling Center, Disability Services, and the Health Center. Another Division of Student Affairs is Student Life which includes Associated Students, Student Activities, Student Organizations, Greek Life, Outdoor Programs, and Campus Recreation. The last division of Student Affairs are all programs falling under the Dean of Students and these include Community Service Learning, Career Services, Parent Relations, International Center, University Ministry, United Front Multicultural Center, Summer Conferences, and the Women's Center.[11]

Campus housing and residence life

Freshman Housing[12]:

  • Maher - co-ed dorms
  • Camino - male dorms
  • Founders - female dorms
  • Missions A - suites
  • Missions B - co-ed dorms

Upperclassmen Housing[13]:

  • Alcala Vista Apartments
  • Manchester Village
  • San Antonio de Padua Apartments
  • San Buenaventura
  • University Terrace Apartments

Graduate and Law Student Housing[14]:

  • Presidio Terrace Apartments
  • Manchester Village


In Fall of 2007, there were 4932 undergraduate students, 1423 graduate students, and 1149 law students enrolled in the University for a total of 7504. Twenty-six percent of the entire student body are racial minorities with Hispanics being the largest minority group. Three percent of the student body are international. Fifty-nine percent of the student body are females, in the law school this number drops to 44% and in the graduate programs it rises to 63%. Between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2007, USD awarded 2124 degrees. There were 766 faculty employed by the University in Fall 2007, 388 men and 378 women with 117 of these being minorities.[15]

Notable alumni

Renowned faculty

  • Roy Brooks (Law)
  • Jericho Brown (English)
  • Frank Partnoy (Law)

Greek life

The University Of San Diego has been host to many Greek organizations. In 2000, nearly a quarter of the undergraduate student body belonged to a fraternity, sorority, or coeducational Greek house. First semester students are not allowed to join Greek organizations. The Interfraternal Council, Panhellenic Council and Greek system have their own websites that explain policies and much more in detail.

Fraternities and sororities that have been chartered at the University of San Diego:

University of San Diego Official Logo


Social Fraternities

Professional/Coeducational Fraternities

External links


  1. ^ U.S. News: University at a glance
  2. ^ "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  
  3. ^ "National Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2009. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  4. ^ "Best Business Schools". America's Best Graduate Schools. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  5. ^ "Best Education Programs". America's Best Graduate Schools. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  6. ^ "Best Law Schools". America's Best Graduate Schools. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  7. ^ "The Washington Monthly National University Rankings" (PDF). The Washington Monthly. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-23.  
  8. ^ USD Student Body Profile, Fall 2007
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ USD Student Affairs Organizational Chart (
  12. ^ Freshman Housing (
  13. ^ Upperclassmen Housing Areas (
  14. ^ Graduate and Law Student Housing (
  15. ^ USD Quick fact Fall 2007 (

'The First Forty Years: A History of the University of San Diego 1949-1989 (1990) by Iris Engstrand


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