The University of San Diego Commemorates 75 Years, Gathers Thought Leaders at ‘Lighting the Way Forward’ National Conference

The University of San Diego Commemorates 75 Years, Gathers Thought Leaders at ‘Lighting the Way Forward’ National Conference

Immaculata Building

This year marks a major milestone for the University of San Diego (USD) – its 75th Anniversary. Since its founding by visionaries Mother Rosalie Hill and Bishop Charles Buddy, USD has grown to become a leader in Catholic education.

In light of this milestone, USD is kicking off the year-long celebration with the Lighting the Way Forward conference on Jan 11-13, where educators and thought leaders from across the country will convene to discuss the future and impact of Catholic Higher Education in this country.

During the conference, the University will present keynote speaker Cardinal Robert McElroy with the Laudato Si’ Award, recognizing his efforts in caring for our common home as outlined in  Pope Francis’ encyclical by the same name. 

At the three-day Lighting the Way Forward conference discussions will be focused on four pillars:

  • Care for our Common Home
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Integrating the Liberal Arts across curriculum
  • The emerging challenges, opportunities and needs of Generation Z

“As a Catholic liberal arts university, USD is uniquely positioned to train our future leaders, teaching them how to be successful, ethical stewards of their community,” said President James T. Harris III, DEd. “As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of our institution, we want to serve as a beacon in the world of higher education, and light the path ahead.”

The conference aims to explore what it means to be a Catholic university at this moment in history, deeply concerned about and engaged with the interrelated challenges of climate change, structural racism, lack of trust in institutions and breakdown of communities, polarizing political discourse, religious disaffiliation and more. After the conference, participants will be encouraged and supported in developing an action plan, an intentional strategy for implementing some aspect of the insights galvanized by the conference on their home campus.

Here's a video with b-roll and soundbites from President Harris, as well as a Spanish version with soundbites from professor Victor Carmona.

About the University of San Diego

Strengthened by the Catholic intellectual tradition, we confront humanity’s challenges by fostering peace, working for justice and leading with love. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the Knauss School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. In 2021, USD was named a “Laudato Si’ University” by the Vatican with a seven-year commitment to address humanity’s urgent challenges by working together to take care of our common home.


Steven Covella
(619) 260-7806