History and Facts

Historical photo of USD students

SOLES, in its past and present states, is the second oldest academic unit at the University of San Diego. Founded in 1962 as an academic department of Education within the College for Women, then in 1972 as the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences has greatly broadened its academic programs as well as capacity for enrollment over the past forty years.

Our Present

Our Past

SOLES, in its past and present states, is the second oldest academic unit at the University of San Diego.

1949 Charters granted for the San Diego College for Women (SDCW) and San Diego University, which was comprised of the San Diego College for Men (SDCM) and the Law School.
1951 Construction of SDCW completed (now Founders and Camino Halls)
1952 Mother Margaret Guest appointed department chair of SDCW. Mother Rosalie Hill is named honorary president of the university.
1960 First Masters of Education degree from SDCW
1963 SDCM adds Single-subject Teaching Credential
1972 SDCW and SDCM merge to become the School of Education (SOE). 
Monsignor Dr. William Elliott is appointed dean of SOE.
1979 Drs. Joseph Rost and Phil Hwang establish first doctoral program in leadership studies in the United States. Dr. Edward DeRoche is appointed dean of SOE.
1989 DeForest Strunk Chair in special education is endowed creating the first SOE Chair at USD.
1998 Dr. Paula Cordeiro is appointed dean of SOE.
2005 The School of Education becomes the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES).
2007 Construction of Mother Rosalie Hill Hall is completed. SOLES moves to its new home.
2008 SOLES is ranked among the top 100 national universities in graduate education programs.
2009 USD celebrates its 60th birthday and the doctoral program in leadership studies turns 30. 
SOLES is ranked among the top 100 universities in graduate education programs for the second year in a row.
2009 SOLES becomes the new home of the university's renowned AROTC and NROTC programs and the Naval Science minor for undergraduates.
2012 SOLES celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Our Home

Before moving to its current location, SOLES/SOE resided in several other locations on campus, including Harmon Hall (current site of Degheri Alumni Center) and the west campus buildings of Coronado and Barcelona. SOLES now resides in the Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, a state-of-the art facility that incorporates cutting edge technology in its classrooms. Hill Hall sits on a picturesque mesa in the northwest corner of campus. SOLES celebrated its new home with a dedication ceremony on October 20th, 2007.

Mother Rosalie Hill Hall

Our Namesake

In 1945, Mother Rosalie Hill, superior vicar of the Society of the Sacred Heart, stood on a hilltop in San Diego with Reverend Charles F. Buddy, first bishop of the Diocese of San Diego. The two religious leaders envisioned building two institutions that would provide the best in sacred and secular learning. A few years later those colleges were founded.

Mother Hill was a gifted educator and administrator and served as principal of the Sacred Heart School in Boston during the 1920s. In 1929, Mother Hill was named Vicar of the Sacred Heart Western Province and served as the supervisor for the San Francisco College for Women in the 1930s. It was in San Francisco that Mother Hill met Bishop Buddy and the two made plans to establish a university in San Diego. Mother Hill was the founding president of the San Diego College for Women and served as an honorary president until her death on December 12th, 1964. Mother Hill embodied the compassionate service and dedication to educational equity that is foundational to the mission and vision of SOLES.

Bishop Charles Buddy is also honored as an educational pioneer in Hill Hall. The building's Sala (Spanish for living room) and main lobby has been named the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Sala. In addition to honoring Bishop Buddy's vision, the Sala also recognizes 15 pioneers in education whose work and accomplishments mirror the vision of SOLES. These individuals are: Mary McLeod Bethune, Don Bosco, Confucius, John Dewey, W.E.B. Dubois, Paulo Freire, Fredrich Froebel, Horace Mann, Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, Tomas Rivera, Carl Rogers, Janet Erskine Stuart, Lev Vygotsky, and Booker T. Washington.