USD has been hailed as one of 20 national “up-and-coming schools” by U.S. News & World Report in their most recent rankings list. The university was listed ninth among the top 20 for making “promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities.” USD also jumped to 102 from 107 on the overall list of national university rankings; our engineering programs jumped to 21st from 25th in the nation for schools whose highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s.

Construction is underway on the 50,000-square-foot Student Life Pavilion, a facility designed to become the hub of campus life. The building will feature the outdoor Plaza Mayor, connected to new dining spaces as well as an expanded mercado, spaces for student government, student organizations, Greek life and student centers. Additionally, as the first LEED-certified building on campus, the SLP will have natural ventilation, a “green” roof and many other features that contribute to making a positive impact on its environment. The building’s completion is set for the fall of 2009. Go to Student Life Pavilion web page or call (619) 260-7514.

A flurry of media activity put the university in the national spotlight late in the summer, including an invitation to USD president Mary E. Lyons to appear on the Dr. Phil Show to discuss her views opposing the Amethyst Initiative, a proposal by university presidents urging legislators to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 years of age. The show was taped the last week of August, and is slotted to air later this fall. Additionally, in early September, USD was featured on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as part of a story about a nationwide 16 percent increase in financial aid applications this year over last year. Senior Rosibel Mancillas Lopez and Director of Financial Aid Services Judith Lewis Logue were prominently featured in the piece.

The Athletics Department announced that the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) has ranked the Toreros 44th for all NCAA Division I universities and colleges in the 6th Annual NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings, and 92nd overall for all NCAA four-year programs. NCSA’s 2008 Collegiate Power Rankings rate colleges and universities comprehensively based on student-athlete graduation rates, academic strength and athletic prowess of the university. The institutions posted in the 2008 Power Rankings are in an elite group of less than six percent of colleges and universities across the nation.

Former USD All-American pitcher Brian Matusz and the Baltimore Orioles agreed to terms on a Major League Baseball contract on Aug. 15, more than two months after the left-hander was the team’s fourth overall pick in the draft. Matusz, USD’s highest first-round selection ever, received a $3.2 million bonus — payable through 2009 — and a four-year major-league deal with the Orioles. Matusz, who is on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, will go to spring training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in February.

The USD Symphony will be embarking on its second international tour this spring. This time around, the destination is Quito, the capital of Ecuador. A limited number of non-USD symphony students, including community members, are invited to accompany the group on this tour. To learn more, please contact Angela Yeung at