Dr. Harris' remarks at the Torero Promise Press Conference

On Feb. 14, USD announced the Torero Promise, a new guaranteed admissions pathway for local diocesan high school students.

Torero Promise Press Conference and Luncheon
February 14, 2017
Warren Hospitality Suite – Jenny Craig Pavilion

Thank you, Stephen.

Not only do we have with us today Catholic school teachers, principals, and local pastors, but we are very fortunate to also have the Most Reverend Robert McElroy, Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego. Thank you for joining us, and welcome to the University of San Diego.

This amazing institution of higher learning owes its very existence to the generous support of the Catholic community of San Diego. 

I am in my second year as President of USD, and members of our campus community have shared with me wonderful reflections about the vision of USD’s founders. Many of you know that those founders were the Most Reverend Charles Francis Buddy—the first Bishop of San Diego—and Mother Rosalie Hill of the Religious of the Sacred Heart. They envisioned this university on the hill as a beacon of light for the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Some of you may not be aware that the University of San Diego is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States, and is one of only 37 universities in the world—and the first in California—to be designated by Ashoka U as a Changemaker Campus.

Many hear this mantra repeated throughout the campus and ask, what exactly does it mean to be a Changemaker Campus? The Changemaker designation and philosophy is strongly aligned with our Catholic identity and Catholic social teachings. Both reflect a deep conviction to develop ethical leaders and compassionate citizens committed to the common good. 

Students are empowered to conceive ideas and launch solutions that improve the human condition. Our students take what they learn in the classroom—combined with their God-given skills and talents—and apply it to our local communities and communities around the world.

The University of San Diego has a special charism—an authentic recognition of the sanctity of life, the dignity of the individual and the human imperative to care for our world and one another. 

Each year, more than 800 USD faculty, staff and students engage in partnerships that link the learning in the classroom to real-world experiences in the community.

This is one of many reasons I was attracted to USD. It has a great reputation for engaging outside of the classroom walls by creating reciprocal benefits for the university and the community.

In order to be a great global university, you first have to be a great local university by collaborating across many levels within your own neighborhoods. 

As a campus community, we have reflected on this principle over the past year and developed a bold new vision and strategic pathways that provide direction for our university over the next decade.

We call it Envisioning 2024, which is the year that marks our 75th anniversary. We are building upon the liberal arts and our rich Catholic intellectual tradition to advance skills in critical thinking, creative writing, independent thought, innovation, integrity and engaged citizenship. 

We are further developing our role as an anchor institution of scholarship, teaching, learning and service. Our vision is to set the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. 

And we want Catholic students from across San Diego to be major contributors to this vision.

Here to tell us more about just how we plan to accomplish this are Dr. Nick Ladany, Dean of our School of Leadership and Education Sciences, and John Galvan, Director for Schools at the Diocese of San Diego….

….These are very exciting initiatives that take us back to our roots working in close collaboration with the Diocese of San Diego. That is exactly what our founders envisioned, and we will continue to uncover new ways to further enhance the University of San Diego’s role at the center of Catholic life in San Diego.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Bishop McElroy, who will share his thoughts on the importance of collaboration in creating strong and vibrant Catholic education across our Diocese.


Read more about the Torero Promise on the USD News Center.