University of San Diego

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University of San Diego
University of San Diego seal.svg
MottoEmitte Spiritum Tuum (Latin)
Motto in English
Send Forth Thy Spirit
TypePrivate university
Established1949; 72 years ago (1949)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Academic affiliations
Endowment$545.6 million (2019)[1]
PresidentJames T. Harris III[2]
Academic staff
Other students
Location, ,
United States

32°46′16″N 117°11′15″W / 32.77111°N 117.18750°W / 32.77111; -117.18750Coordinates: 32°46′16″N 117°11′15″W / 32.77111°N 117.18750°W / 32.77111; -117.18750
Colors   Blue and White[3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IWCC, Pioneer Football League
MascotDiego Torero
University of San Diego logo.svg

The University of San Diego (USD) is a private Roman Catholic research university in San Diego, California. Founded in July 1949 as the San Diego College for Women and San Diego University, the academic institutions merged from the California school system into University of San Diego in 1972. Since then, the university has grown to comprise nine undergraduate and graduate schools, to include the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and School of Law. USD has 89 undergraduate and graduate programs, and enrolls approximately 9,073 undergraduate, paralegal, graduate and law students. It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[4]


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

Charters were granted in 1949 for the San Diego College for Women and San Diego University, which included the College for Men and School of Law.[5][6][7] The College for Women opened its doors to its first class of students in 1952. 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 1954, the College for Men and the School of Law opened.[8] 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 has been able to increase its assets and academic programs. The student body, the local community, patrons, alumni, and many organizations have been integral to the university's development.

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

Significant periods of expansion of the university, since the 1972 merger, occurred in the mid-1980s, as well as in 1998, when Joan B. Kroc, philanthropist and wife of McDonald's financier Ray Kroc, endowed USD with a gift of $25 million for the construction of the Institute for Peace & Justice. Other significant donations to the college came in the form of multimillion-dollar gifts from weight-loss tycoon Jenny Craig,[9] inventor Donald Shiley,[10] investment banker and alumnus Bert Degheri, and an additional gift of $50 million Mrs. Kroc left the School of Peace Studies upon her death. These gifts helped make possible, respectively, the Jenny Craig Pavilion (an athletic arena), the Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Degheri Alumni Center. As a result, USD has been able to host the West Coast Conference (WCC) basketball tournament in 2002, 2003 and 2008, and hosted international functions such as the Kyoto Laureate Symposium at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice and at USD's Shiley Theatre. Shiley's gift has provided the university with some additional, and more advanced, teaching laboratories than it had previously. 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 which began at the end of 2007. The new Student Life Pavilion (SLP) opened in 2009 and hosts the university's new student dining area(s), offices for student organizations and event spaces. The Hahn University Center is now home to administrative offices, meeting and event spaces, and a restaurant and wine bar, La Gran Terazza.

In the fall of 2018, USD's total enrollment was 8,905 undergraduate, graduate, and law students.[11]

Environment and location[edit]

View of Mission Bay and SeaWorld from campus

Alcalá Park sits atop the edge of a mesa overlooking Mission Bay and other parts of San Diego. The philosophy of USD's founder and her fellow religious relied on the belief that studying in beautiful surroundings could improve the educational experience of students. Thus, the university's buildings are designed in a 16th-century Plateresque architecture, a style of the Spanish Renaissance, paying homage to both San Diego's Catholic heritage[clarification needed] and the Universidad de Alcalá in Spain. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure named it as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.[12]

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, the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Harbor, the Coronado Islands and La Jolla are visible from the campus.


Though a Catholic university, the school is no longer governed directly by the Diocese of San Diego. Today, a lay board of trustees governs the university's operations. However, the Bishop of San Diego, Robert W. McElroy, retains a seat as a permanent member and retains control of the school's designation of "Catholic."


The Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology, opened in 2003

USD offers more than 80 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 Joan B. 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.

USD has a Carnegie Classification of R2- Doctoral University: High Research Activity. Carnegie gives this ranking to “institutions that awarded at least 20 research/scholarship doctoral degrees and had at least $5 million in total research expenditures (as reported through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Higher Education Research & Development Survey (HERD)).”


University rankings
Forbes[13] 142
THE/WSJ[14] 150
U.S. News & World Report[15] 91
Washington Monthly[16] 151
QS[17] 801–1000

In 2019, University of San Diego was ranked tied for 91st in the "National Universities" category by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report also ranked the University of San Diego's undergraduate Engineering program tied for 13th in the U.S. for engineering schools where doctorates are not offered.[18]

In 2013, QS Global 200 Business Schools Report ranked USD's MBA program 59th in North America.[19]

In 2014, University of San Diego was ranked the 482nd top college in the United States by Payscale and CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index college rankings.[20]

In 2019, The Princeton Review ranked the University of San Diego 6th in Most Beautiful Campus, 14th in Best Campus food), 17th in Most Popular Study Abroad Program, and 23rd in Green Colleges.[21]


The Toreros compete in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and are members of the West Coast Conference for most sports.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  2. ^ "President-Elect Dr. James T. Harris III Named Fourth President of the University of San Diego". University of San Diego. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  3. ^ "Color Palette - USD Brand". University of San Diego. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  4. ^ "Carnegie Classifications Institution Lookup". Center for Postsecondary Education. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "Congressional Record: Senate: Vol. 155 Part 5". United States Government Printing Office. 2009. p. 6066. Retrieved January 5, 2019. However, it was in 1949 that the Most Reverend Charles Francis Buddy, first Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, and Reverend Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill, Vicar Superior of the U.S. Western Vicariate of the Society of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, obtained charters from the State of California to establish San Diego University and the San Diego College for Women, respectively.
  6. ^ Ristine, Jeff (July 28, 1999). "University of San Diego at 50 Faith in Future". The San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B-1. Nov. 22, 1949 -- The State of California grants a charter for San Diego University (College for Men and School of Law) ... Dec. 2, 1949 -- The State of California grants a charter for San Diego College for Women.
  7. ^ Mellin, Maribeth; Onstott, Jane; Devlin, Judith (April 22, 2009). Insiders' Guide® to San Diego. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 307. ISBN 9780762755790. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  8. ^ "University of San Diego Buildings and Campus | City of San Diego Official Website". Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  9. ^ LLC, CurtCo/SDM (December 2006). San Diego Magazine. CurtCo/SDM LLC.
  10. ^ Robbins, Gary. "USD gets $20 million for engineering school". Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "University of San Diego Facts - University of San Diego". Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "America's Most Beautiful College Campuses", Travel+Leisure (September 2011)
  13. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  14. ^ "Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2021". Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  15. ^ "2021 Best National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  16. ^ "2020 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  17. ^ "QS World University Rankings® 2021". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  18. ^ "University of San Diego Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  19. ^ [1] Archived June 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Social Mobility Index". Social Mobility Index. CollegeNet and PayScale. 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  21. ^ "University of San Diego - The Princeton Review College Rankings & Reviews". Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  22. ^ [Dansby, Andrew (September 10, 2009), "Jim Parsons find smart comedy role", Houston Chronicle][verification needed]
  23. ^ Halperin, Ian (April 19, 2016). Kardashian Dynasty: The Controversial Rise of America's Royal Family. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781501128882 – via Google Books.[verification needed]
  24. ^ "Ex-Bonanza star improves his baseball stock as collegian". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 2, 2018.[verification needed]
  25. ^ Knufken, Kelly (2006). "Townsend: The Tough Cookie" (PDF). USD Magazine. San Diego, CA: University of San Diego (Summer)): 25.[verification needed]
  26. ^ English, Vogue. "Mario Testino".[verification needed]
  27. ^ "Whelan, Thomas J. | Federal Judicial Center". Retrieved December 2, 2018.[verification needed]
  28. ^ "USD Magazine / SUMMER 2013". UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO.
  29. ^ "New Tijuana mayor brings binational credentials Page 1 of 2". November 27, 2010. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  30. ^ "TROOP, CREW AND PACK 179". June 30, 2010. Archived from the original on June 30, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  31. ^ Cordileone, Salvatore. "Archbishop". Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  32. ^ " Eric Musselman". Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  33. ^ "Verizon communications inc". BusinessWeek.
  34. ^ "Lowell McAdam Wall Street Journal".
  35. ^ "Full Biography". Congressman Juan Vargas. December 11, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  36. ^ Real Time Ranking. "Lorenzo Fertitta". Forbes. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  37. ^ Sennhauser, Morgan (September 19, 2016). "What Happened to Andrew Firestone- News & Updates - Gazette Review".
  38. ^ "Monte Brem".
  39. ^ "Senate confirms Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary". Associated Press.
  40. ^ "Two USD Alumni Among NASA's 12 Newest Astronaut Candidates". Retrieved December 2, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boudoin. Burt J. (2001). Fortress on the Hill: Founding the University of San Diego and the San Diego College for Women, 1942-1963 Mission Hills, CA: Saint Francis Historical Society, ISBN 0967847737 OCLC 46882831
  • Engstrand, Iris H. Wilson; White, Clare (1989). The First Forty Years: A History of the University of San Diego 1949–1989. San Diego, CA: University of San Diego. p. 121. OCLC 22975773, 20464871

External links[edit]