Announcing The Knauss School of Business

Knauss School of Business, University of San Diego logoUniversity of San Diego is proud to announce that Don Knauss, chair of USD’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Ellie, have generously agreed to increase their philanthropic giving to the university to $50 million as their investment in educating ethical and compassionate business leaders. In honor of their remarkable gift, our business school will be known as The Knauss School of Business.

A New Home on the Horizon

An aerial rendering of the Knauss Center for Business Education

Just off the Paseo de Colachis, the new 120,000-square-foot building — together with the renovated Olin Hall — will create the amazing Knauss Center for Business Education, which will more than triple the size of the Knauss School of Business.

Our business school has been growing both in terms of our offerings and the breadth and depth of our programs, as well as in popularity and in the number of students who wanted to major in business at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Olin Hall was quite literally bursting at the seams, with our faculty members spilling out into numerous other buildings across campus.

This gift could not have come at a better time for us to take bold action and to do something that will impact students for generations to come.

We look forward to bringing all business students, faculty, staff and alumni together in the incredible Knauss Business School complex that will serve as a true collaboration an innovation ecosystem. Through Don and Ellie Knauss’ investment, the new facility will serve as a campus model for the latest in pedagogy, technology and sustainability where students, faculty and business professionals can come together to confront the most vexing challenges facing society.

Many business schools across the nation promise to build leaders of some aspirational ilk or another. In the past decade, there have been more than 350,000 books or articles written with the word “leader” or “leadership” in the title. That’s about 100 a day.

The Knauss School of Business will be different and reflect Don’s approach to leadership.

Video: Why Don and Ellie Knauss Invested in Educating Future Leaders at USD’s Knauss School of Business

An Inspiring Legacy

Don and Ellie Knauss

Don Knauss is the living example of what a true leader in life should be. Students will appreciate Don’s achievements at the highest levels in his career as a retired chairman and CEO of The Clorox Company. They will be grateful for Don’s military service as an artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps. They’ll also be inspired by his professional journey — starting his business career as a brand manager in the paper products division at Proctor & Gamble, moving on to the Frito Lay and Tropicana divisions of PepsiCo, Inc., working his way up to president of Coca-Cola of Southern Africa and then chief executive officer of The Minute Maid Company. He later became president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola North America, before reaching the pinnacle at The Clorox Company.

Our students will appreciate Don and Ellie’s long-standing commitment to those in most need. Don and Ellie established the Knauss Scholars Program for the children of Clorox employees. They also support student veterans through the Don and Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource and Support Center at Texas A&M. They have established hundreds of scholarships nationwide to support students in need at multiple universities.

Begin quote “This is our investment in educating ethical and compassionate business leaders. Leaders that enable a free enterprise system that creates wealth on a fair and equitable playing field. Without the creation of wealth, no society can take care of its most vulnerable, lift the standard of living of its citizens or make the investments needed to preserve the planet for future generations.” – Donald R. and Ellie Knauss

The Future of Global Stewardship

Stewardship through values-driven free enterprise will be the legacy of the Knauss School of Business and will inform everything.

Interior rendering of the Knauss Center for Business EducationIt will inform the way our professors teach; it will inform the way our students learn; it will inform the way we prepare students to be future entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders; and it will inform the value that prospective employers will place on having graduates from the Knauss School of Business on their teams.

When the Knauss Center for Business Education opens in Fall 2022, it will be an innovation and collaboration ecosystem that supports the vision of the Knauss School of Business. Examples of the amazing spaces being created include:

  • The Free Enterprise Suite, a space with state-of-the-art technology to help seed student startups from across the university;
  • The Student Success Center, which unifies advising, career development,
    mentoring and all other student services under one roof;
  • The Busch Family Torero production studio, named through the first gift to the building project from Kim and Andy Busch, will be a state-of-the-art production studio for creating mock interviews, videos, podcasts and other tools to help students develop their personal brand;
  • The Dennis Zocco and Dan Rivetti Finance Lab, supported through the generous gift from the Kokua Na Lani Foundation, will help students develop advanced financial analysis skills through training on the most impactful software tools being used by thought leaders in the financial services industry;
  • The Nexus Theatre will be perfect for small gatherings or large events.

The newly renovated Olin Hall will be a space where faculty can partner with industry thought leaders to enable our students to integrate multiple business toolbox skills, expediting their career success in whatever field they choose.

In keeping with our new and bold approach, we’re also enhancing programs and networking opportunities.

Members of our military community will be supported in their transition to civilian life through a new USD program committed to our veterans.

A new Executive in Residence program will bring in CEOs from various industries to teach courses and participate in a Speakers series.

We will provide unique opportunities for students to conduct research alongside faculty members.

Don and Ellie’s vision and philosophy of business stewardship through values-driven free enterprise aligns so well with the University of San Diego’s mission.

Our deserving students, distinguished faculty and the entire Torero family now look forward to the Fall 2022 opening of the Knauss Center for Business Education — home of the Knauss School of Business, which soon will be known as one of the most student-centered and innovative schools of business in the nation! 

About the Knauss School of Business

At the Knauss School of Business, we cannot think of a more impactful purpose than teaching business as a force for good. It is our calling and the reason why we are student-centric in all we do. We keep our classes small and engaging, so you can learn alongside like-minded peers, build working relationships with our esteemed faculty and advance your career. And when you are ready, you will experience the business world firsthand by consulting with companies in the San Diego community and beyond. You will connect with industry experts (like some of your professors), share a toast in Madrid (while studying abroad) and become a savvy business leader.


Our vision is to be a model of outstanding global business education, a leader in high-quality business research and a magnet for the most dedicated and innovative faculty and staff.


The Knauss School of Business is committed to developing socially responsible leaders with a global mindset through academically rigorous, relevant and values-based education and research.

Knauss Center for Business Education

The University of San Diego has begun construction on a 120,000-sq.-ft. complex to unify all School of Business programs, centers and staff under one roof. Coming Fall 2022.

Explore the Knauss Center

Academically Rigorous

Our degree programs have achieved the highest level of international recognition by being fully accredited by AACSB International for over 30 years. The Knauss School of Business has also been ranked among the top graduate and undergraduate business schools in the United States and the world.


Numerous degree specializations and co-curricular activities, from professional development workshops to industry association conferences, enable you to tailor your studies to your career interests in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors.

Globally Focused and Values-Based

The Knauss School of Business was one of the original signees to participate in the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). Initially convened by the United Nations Global Compact and business school accrediting organizations, PRME serves to embed issues of social responsibility and sustainability in the mainstream of business education.

The University of San Diego has been a values-based institution since its inception, and the Knauss School of Business views the core PRME principles as an extension of its own mission.

The Result

Knauss School of Business students and alumni hold professional positions in established and entrepreneurial organizations across the world. See their many successes and get inspired by their stories at our Alumni Hall of Honor.

If you are passionate about leading and transforming organizations in the global economy of the 21st century, we would like to hear from you.



Students learning in a business course

Proof that we are not always surfing.

The Financial Times ranked our MBA Program No.1 in San Diego, 50th in the United States and 97th in the world.

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