University of San Diego

University of San Diego
Motto Emitte Spiritum Tuum (Latin)
Motto in English
Send Forth Thy Spirit
Type Private
Established 1949
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Endowment $395.6 million (2013)[1]
President James T. Harris III [2]
Academic staff
Undergraduates 5,741
Postgraduates 1,773
Other students
Location San Diego, California, U.S.
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
Campus Urban
Colors Blue and white[3]
Athletics NCAA Division I - WCC, Pioneer Football League
Sports 17 varsity teams
Nickname Toreros
Mascot Diego Torero
Affiliations ACCU

The University of San Diego (USD) is a private Roman Catholic university in San Diego, California. The university offers 42 baccalaureate degrees, and several degrees in law, nursing, (masters, PhD, and DNP), and other doctorate programs. The university comprises seven different academic colleges.[4]


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. 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 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. Another significant donation to the college came in the form of multimillion-dollar gifts from weight-loss tycoon Jenny Craig, inventor Donald Shiley, 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.

As of Fall 2012, USD's total enrollment was 8,105 undergraduate, graduate, and law students.[5]

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into the university because it allegedly “failed to provide a prompt and equitable resolution to a sexual assault complaint".[6] The complaint was made by a female law student against two other male law students. The 29-year-old woman, whose name was not disclosed, said she was raped in a bathroom during an off-campus party in May 2013. The party was for students to celebrate the completion of their first year of law school. The woman also filed a civil suit against the alleged perpetrators and the school. In her suit, the student claims that University of San Diego officials also discouraged her from "pursuing any action against her rapists" and said that if she did, her name could become public.[7]

Environment and location

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 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.[8]

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 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 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's undergraduate programs have been recognized by multiple publications including PayScale, U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Forbes. In 2017, USD ranked 86th among "National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report[9] and 188th by Forbes and Washington Monthly.[10]

In 2012, Princeton Review includes USD in its annual guidebook of the 376 best universities. The Princeton Review ranked the school 2nd for Best Campus Environment[11] and 39th in Most Beautiful Campus.[12] Other publications like Travel & Leisure and Newsweek have also recognized USD's campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.[13]

QS Global 200 Business Schools Report ranked USD's MBA program 59th in North America.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]

According to the Institute of International Education, USD ranked first in undergraduate participation.[17]

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.[18] In July 2015, Financial Times ranked the University of San Diego’s School of Business MBA third in the world for entrepreneurship.[19][20] In August 2016, CEOWORLD Magazine Global Business Schools rankings for executives and entrepreneurs ranked San Diego’s School of Business 66th in the world.[21]

Schools and programs

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.

Founders Hall

School of Law

Founded in 1954, the School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The School of Law is one of 80 ABA-accredited law schools to hold a membership in the Order of the Coif,[22] a distinguished rank of American law schools. Legal educator Brian Leiter regards the School of Law as having a strong law faculty. In 2003–04, he ranked the school 22nd in the nation in terms of scholarly impact.[23] In 2007, Leiter ranked the school's faculty 27th in the nation based on mean scholarly impact.[24] U.S.News ranked the school #6 in tax law.[25]

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.

Aerial view of the campus, 2011

Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering

USD's engineering program offers bachelor's degrees in electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineering.[26] The program had an enrollment of 363 students in 2012, a number which has tripled since 2004. In September 2012, USD announced that philanthropist Darlene Shiley, wife of engineer Donald Shiley had pledged to donate $20 million to the engineering program. The gift is the second largest donation in the history of the university.[26] The newly named Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering is led by its inaugural dean, Chell A. Roberts, who began July 1, 2013.[27] The school was ranked #13 in 2017 for engineering schools without a doctoral program by U.S.News[25]

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science

The Philip Y. Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is among the top 10 percent of graduate-level nursing programs according to the U.S. News & World Report (#47). USD Nursing was the first PhD nursing program in California. Two important assets of the nursing school are its Simulation and Standardized Patient Nursing Laboratory[28] which opened in 2002, and the Master's Entry Program of Nursing (MEPN)[29] The MEPN program allows students who already possess a bachelor's degree in another field but want to get into nursing the opportunity to take an accelerated program to earn a master's degree in clinical nursing. Once the student graduates, they're eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nursing licensure. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader certificate exam. In 2010, the School of Nursing began offering a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. This specialty masters training program is just one of many master's specialties offered by the School of Nursing.

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. 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: PhD, 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. Undergraduate offerings include a minor in Education, minor in Leadership and Teacher Preparation Programs (single subject credential secondary, multiple subject credential elementary and special education).

Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research

The Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research was launched in 2004 with start-up grants provided by The Westreich Foundation and the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation. In 2007 the Center received a 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.

School of Business Administration

The School of Business Administration has 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.

The university also offers a specialized International MBA program. Students enrolled in the International MBA have the option to pursue a joint master's 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's degree programs. The Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) provides students with a solid foundation and helps them develop the decision-making, negotiating, communication and technology skills needed by real estate professionals. The MSRE degree prepares students for careers in mortgage lending, development, equity investment, brokerage and sales, valuation, consulting, property and asset management, and to become entrepreneurs.[30] The school also offers an undergraduate major in real estate, which launched in the fall of 2009. A Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree starting August 2015.[31]

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

The Kroc School of Peace Studies opened in fall 2007. 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 for a 12-month program. In August 2009, the master's program added a 17-month track and the first seven graduates completed their studies in December 2010.

Statue of Bishop Charles Buddy in front of the Immaculata Chapel.

USD is committed to addressing issues of social justice, ethics, and spirituality, and to the vital role of the humanities in education and in society. USD has a wide variety of programs, centers, and institutes that focus on these areas, including the Center for Community Service Learning, Center for Latino/a Catholicism, Center for Christian Spirituality, the Character Development Center, Ethnic Studies Program" (which offers major and minor study within College of Arts and Sciences), the Romero Center, the Social Issues Committee, the Trans-Border Institute, University Ministry and the Values Institute, and the Humanities Center, which houses the Digital Humanities Studio. The Center for Inclusion and Diversity opened on September 1, 2010. The Humanities Center opens in October 2016.[32]


In Fall 2012, there were 5,457 undergraduate students, 1,686 graduate students, and 962 law students enrolled in the university for a total of 8,105. Thirty-one percent of the entire student body are racial minorities with Hispanics being the largest minority group. Five percent of the student body are international. Fifty-eight percent of the student body are females, in the law school this number drops to 49 percent and in the graduate programs it rises to 64 percent. Between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, USD awarded 2,164 degrees. There were 845 faculty employed by the university in fall 2011, 435 men and 410 women, with 155 of these being minorities.[33]

The University of San Diego's average GPA of admitted freshmen for the Class of 2014 was 3.89. The average SAT I score was 1220 and the average ACT score was 28.[33] USD received 13,867 applications for admission for the Class of 2014, 6,590 were admitted (48 percent), and 1,143 enrolled (17 percent).[33]

Student life

The undergraduate student body is represented by official student government known as the Associated Students (AS). The AS Leadership Team serves USD undergraduates as official student representatives who promote opportunities for growth and expression, address student issues and enrich a diverse, inclusive and engaged community. AS works in areas of programming, student issues, marketing, finance, multicultural relations, academics and student organizations. Student fees make up AS's $1,000,000 yearly budget. AS 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 acquired an unofficial radio station in the Spring of 2009, which was funded, designed and run entirely by the students themselves. In Fall 2009 it became official ( The undergraduate student body is also represented by the official student newspaper, The Vista. The Vista is a weekly, student-run publication focused on university and local news as well as relevant national stories.

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 Adventures 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.[34]

Campus housing and residence life

Freshmen Housing:[35]

Upperclassmen Housing:[36]

Graduate and Law Student Housing:[37]

Greek life

The University of San Diego is currently the home to 18 Greek letter and professional organizations, built upon the five core values of social justice and selfless service, high social standards, leadership, academic excellence, and sisterhood/brotherhood.[38] In 2011, approximately a quarter of the undergraduate student body belonged to fraternities and sororities or coeducational Greek organizations. USD is a deferred recruitment campus, which means first semester freshman are not allowed to join Greek organizations, however transfers are.

NIC Fraternities

NPC Sororities

Multicultural sororities

Professional and coeducational Greek organizations


Main article: San Diego Toreros

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 in Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision) in the Pioneer Football League. The women's softball program competes in the West Coast Conference, and in 2004–05 the women's swimming and diving teams began to compete in the Western Athletic Conference but as of 2010–11 compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. 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, John Cunningham Stadium, Torero Softball Complex, USD Mission Bay Boathouse, and two intramural fields. The student spirit club, is called The Bullpit.[46]

The USD sports program has won the West Coast Conference's annual Commissioner's Cup the last five years (2007–08 through 2011–12), becoming the first WCC school to win the award five consecutive years and the first WCC member to win it five times. The Commissioner's Cup is given to the WCC institution with the best overall performances by all of its programs that compete in a WCC sport during the year, based on a points system.

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 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 taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Johnson, who was recruited to USD by former head coach Jim Harbaugh (USD football coach 2004–06), is the first USD football player to be drafted by an NFL team. In 2012, Johnson signed a free-agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers, the team led by Harbaugh at the time.

The 13th-seeded Toreros upset the University of Connecticut in the first round of the 2008 Men's 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 NCAA Basketball Tournament win for any San Diego-area university.

Bowl Games

Season Bowl Champion Runner-up
1973 College Division Bowl Wittenberg 21 San Diego 14
2006 Gridiron Classic San Diego 27 Monmouth 7

Notable people




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  22. COIF Members
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