University of San Diego

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 79 undergraduate and graduate programs, and enrolls approximately 9,073 undergraduate, paralegal, graduate and law students.

University of San Diego
MottoEmitte Spiritum Tuum (Latin)
Motto in English
Send Forth Thy Spirit
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Academic affiliations
Endowment$530 million (2018)[1]
PresidentJames T. Harris III[2]
Academic staff
Other students
Location, ,
United States

32°46′16″N 117°11′15″W
Colors         Blue and White[3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IWCC, Pioneer Football League
MascotDiego Torero


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.[4][5][6] 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.[7] 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.

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,[8] inventor Donald Shiley,[9] 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.[10]

Environment and location

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 Spanish Renaissance architectural style, paying homage to both San Diego's Catholic heritage 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.[11]

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."


USD offers more than 79 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[12] 140
Times/WSJ[13] 164
U.S. News & World Report[14] 85
Washington Monthly[15] 126
QS[16] 801–1000
Times[17] 601–800

USD's undergraduate programs have been recognized by multiple publications including PayScale, U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Forbes.

In 2012, Princeton Review included USD in its annual guidebook of the 376 best universities. The Princeton Review ranked the school 2nd for Best Campus Environment[18] and 39th for Most Beautiful Campus.[19] Travel & Leisure and Newsweek have also recognized USD's campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.[20]

QS Global 200 Business Schools Report ranked USD's MBA program 59th in North America.[21] The MBA program is also ranked 39th 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.[22]

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.[23]

In July 2015, Financial Times ranked the University of San Diego's School of Business MBA third in the world for entrepreneurship.[24][25]

In 2016, the MBA program in the University of San Diego School of Business was ranked 28th in the United States (33rd in 2015) and 59th in the world (66th in 2015) in the 2016 Financial Times Top 100 MBA rankings.[26] In August 2016, CEOWORLD Magazine Global Business Schools rankings for executives and entrepreneurs ranked San Diego's School of Business 66th in the world.[27]

in 2017, the University of San Diego was ranked #86 in the 2017 Best College rankings by U.S. News & World Report[28] and 188th by Forbes and Washington Monthly.[29] University of San Diego's Undergraduate Business Program was ranked 1st in San Diego, 3rd in California, and 45th in the Nation by Poets & Quants.[30]

In 2018, the University of San Diego was ranked 90th for Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.[31] The Shiley-Marco's Engineering School was ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report only 5 years after the founding of the school.[31] The University of San Diego was ranked #1 as The Most Beautiful Campus by The Princeton Review. University of San Diego also received a perfect Green Rating score by The Princeton Review in 2017.[32]

In 2019, University of San Diego was ranked 85th for Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report also ranked the University of San Diego's undergraduate Engineering program #11 in the world for Best Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is Bachelor's or Master's.[33] The Princeton Review ranked the University of San Diego #6 in Most Beautiful Campus, #14 in Best Campus food (and the only California school in the top 16), #17 in Most Popular Study Abroad Program, and #23 in Green Colleges.[34] The University of San Diego was ranked 9th for Best College Food in America and 25th for Best Colleges for Accounting and Finance by Niche.[35]

According to the Institute of International Education, USD ranked first in undergraduate participation.[36]


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


  1. "Budget and Treasury". University of San Diego. University of San Diego. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  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. "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.
  5. 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.
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Further reading

  • 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
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