A Decade of Distinction

USD Campus USD Campus

Ten years ago, the University of San Diego celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. Academically on the rise, USD made its inaugural appearance in Princeton Review’s student guide to the nation’s top U.S. colleges and had just been granted a charter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. In 2003, the Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology opened its doors and Joan B. Kroc bequeathed $50 million to establish the Kroc School of Peace Studies.

That was the same year Mary E. Lyons, PhD, was named the third president of USD. She took her post in July and was inaugurated in November, following a weeklong celebration with the entire USD community, during which she shared breakfast with alumni, talked with local business representatives over lunch, hung out with students before a basketball game, read a Dr. Seuss book with children at a local elementary school and received the key symbolizing USD’s membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Since then, USD has been recognized as a leader both in and out of the classroom. It is one of the nation’s top 100 universities and is ranked No. 3 for the number of undergraduate students who study abroad. It is also one of only 19 campuses nationwide that’s known, near and far, as a Changemaker campus.

President Mary E. Lyons



The pomp and circumstance of the installation ceremony inaugurating President Mary E. Lyons, PhD, at the Jenny Craig Pavilion included prayers from Bishop Robert H.Brom and Monsignor Daniel Dillabough while members of USD’s ROTC program led the national anthem. Dr. Lyons offered her future vision of USD, which she said should be “private in its mission and public in its purpose.”

Antonin Scalia



U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia serves as chief justice for the School of Law’s second annual Paul A. McLennon Sr. Honors Moot Court Competition, which gives students the opportunity to develop their written and oral advocacy skills — and to test them in competition. Justice Scalia reminds students that many decisions are on “the razor’s edge” and that the oral argument can help judges cement their decisions.

Three new centers of excellence are established including the Lindsay J. Cropper Center for Creative Writing in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate in the School of Business Administration and the School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ Center for Nonprofit Research, now known as the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research.

wind turbines



The Energy Policy Initiative Center (EPIC) is established at the School of Law.
In addition to being a place where law students learn about energy-related legal matters, the center is a clearinghouse for research, public education and legal advocacy on behalf of energy consumers. The aim is to find permanent solutions to the region’s dwindling natural resources.

usd student planting



The University of San Diego is recognized as one of 141 colleges and universities honored for Distinguished Community Service in the nation’s first-ever “President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,” a distinction that would become fundamental to USD’s earning the designation of an official Changemaker campus five years later.

Martin Sheen



The campus celebrates the inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, home of the Institute for Peace & Justice, the Trans-Border Institute and the Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies. The celebration welcomes Founding Dean Father William R. Headley, CSSp keynote speaker Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, and noted actor and peace advocate Martin Sheen.

usd student community service



The Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science introduces a new Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) program, complementing an expansive curriculum designed especially for nurse educators and practitioners.

usd founders gala


The University of San Diego hosts myriad campus celebrations throughout its 60th Anniversary year. The yearlong celebration culminates with the black-tie Founders’ Gala honoring the university’s six decades of unparalleled success in the advancement of education, student development and service to the community.

diego torero solar panels



USD flipped the switch during its “Running on Sunshine” event celebrating the installation of 5,000 photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of 11 buildings throughout the campus to generate 1.23-megawatts of renewable energy. The installation makes USD the second largest solar energy producer of any private U.S. college and the 10th largest solar facility on a university campus in the nation. It becomes the latest component to President Lyons’ strategic initiative to make the campus one of the most sustainable in the country.

usd students


USD is ranked No. 1 among doctoral universities in the percent of undergraduates studying abroad. Students in USD’s graduate programs are also part of groundbreaking work and research around the world. Examples include the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science’s work in Uganda, the School of Leadership and Education Science’s work in Ghana, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies’ work spanning the globe and the international consulting projects, practicums and internships in the School of Business Administration’s International MBA program.


The Office of Undergraduate Research is established to ensure that students from all disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Business Administration have the opportunity to engage in research and creative activities. It offers programs, including the annual Undergraduate Research Conference, and encourages faculty to integrate research projects and scholarly presentations into their courses.


USD is designated an official Ashoka U Changemaker campus and joins a select group of colleges and universities that have established themselves as hubs of social innovation throughout the world.

dalai lama



His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the spiritual leader of Tibet, visits the University of San Diego as part of a joint symposium with UCSD and SDSU entitled, “Compassion Without Borders: Science, Peace and Ethics.”


The University of San Diego captures the 2011-12 West Coast Conference (WCC) Commissioner’s Cup for the fifth consecutive year, a Conference first. The Commissioner’s Cup is awarded to the WCC member institution garnering the most success during conference play.

fowler park and shiley-marcos school of engineering



In mid-February, delighted fans celebrated the opening of USD’s new 1,700-seat baseball complex, Fowler Park and Cunningham Field, which was made possible by a generous lead gift from Ron and Alexis Fowler. The $13.8 million facility-opening game was a festive affair, with the Toreros facing off against cross-town rival San Diego State.


An affiliation was announced between the university and the Franciscan School of Theology. The partnership will provide opportunities to enhance the capabilities of graduate students to serve in stewardship roles in the Church and other mission-oriented institutions.


USD inaugurates the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering and welcomes Founding Dean Chell A. Roberts. The $20 million gift from USD Trustee and former Chair of the Board, Darlene Marcos Shiley, honors her family’s dedication to education and pays tribute to her late husband and renowned engineer, Donald P. Shiley. “My husband was, first and foremost, an engineer,” she says.