Welcome to the Water

Congratulations! You chose wisely, selecting USD for your liberal arts education. Now that you're here, it's time to dive in...

"This Is Water" – by David Foster Wallace

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?" 

— David Foster Wallace 

The phrase liberal arts stems from the Latin liber and it originally defined the education that was deemed fit for a "free person." David Foster Wallace mentions in his commencement address to Kenyon College, "The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in a myriad of unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.

David Foster Wallace succinctly says: “This, I submit, is the freedom of real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted: You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.”

We strongly encourage you to read a copy of This Is Water and think about how the liberal arts will enhance your life in years to come. 

Welcome to USD. We know you’ll enjoy the water!

This Is Water book cover

Why Liberal Arts?

Hear from Noelle Norton, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, about USD's liberal arts tradition and how it enhances our students' academic journeys.

More about the Artes Liberales

...because it sounds cooler in Latin. 

So, what's liberal arts again? 

You’ll hear that term a lot, along with words like holistic and well-rounded. That’s because at USD we’re committed to developing not just your mind, but also your whole being. We want you to think critically across disciplines, make connections across different topics and leave USD with knowledge that goes beyond your major.

Starting now, you are part of USD’s liberal arts tradition.

You’ll embody the liberal arts each day as an undergrad. And the liberals arts will come to mean something unique to you as you progress in your education. Consider it as you begin this first year of college. It means different things to different people. But, no matter what, it will prepare you to lead an extraordinary life.

What will liberal arts mean to you?

Get Connected!

Stay informed about upcoming events and happenings and stay even more connected with your undergrad peers by following USD's Instagram accounts: 

USD College of Arts and Sciences | @usdcas

USD School of Business | @usd_business

USD Humanities Center | @usdhumanities 

USD main account | @uofsandiego


Welcome to the Water graphic