The campus name, Alcalá Park, is a nod to Alcalá de Henares, a town near Madrid, Spain, founded by the Greeks. The Moslems renamed the town Al Kala, “the castle,” and it later became the site of San Ildefonso university. Like its namesake, USD is on a prominent hilltop where it attains landmark status in the city. The
USD campus is at the western end of Kearny Mesa and features commanding views of the Pacific Ocean, Mission Bay, San Diego Bay and the surrounding mountains. The campus is in America’s seventh largest urban area, ideally close to the business, research, cultural, residential and recreational centers of California’s birthplace its and second largest city.
Appropriate to its classical origins, the academic and administrative buildings are situated on the highest mesa within the campus.
On May 1, 1948, local dignitaries joined Bishop Buddy and Mother Hill for a groundbreaking ceremony atop the mesa overlooking the burgeoning San Diego cityscape. It was on that day that Bishop Buddy declared, “Let the world know that here will be a university where truth will be fearlessly taught.”
Just weeks later, on Dec. 16, 1949, the first bulldozers arrived. Under the watchful eye of the founders, the San Diego College for Women complex emerged. The Founders wing, which was home to Founders Chapel, was completed first. It was followed by its architectural twin, the Camino wing, which featured what is now known as Shiley Theatre. Finally, Sacred Heart Hall, which connects the two, was completed.
Next came: the Author E. and Marjorie A. Hughes Administration Center; Maher Hall; Warren Hall (home to the School of Law); the Immaculata parish church; the Katherine M. and George M. Pardee, Jr. Legal Research Center; and Saints Tekakwitha and Serra Hall.
Other key buildings include: the original nursing building and the Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice, and Simulation (home to the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science); the Helen K. and James S. Copley Library; Loma Hall and the Belanich Engineering Center (home to the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering); the Manchester Executive Conference Center; Olin Hall (home to the School of Business); the Ernest and Jean Hahn University Center; the Student Life Pavilion; the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (home to the Kroc School of Peace Studies); the Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology; the Degheri Alumni Center; and Mother Rosalie Hill Hall (home to the School of Leadership and Education Sciences). The Learning Commons, USD’s newest academic building, is expected to open in Fall 2020.
Located near the east end of campus are the Alcalá Vista Apartments; Mission Housing Complex; University Terrace Apartments; Presidio Terrace Apartments; Manchester Village; the Manchester Family Child Development Center; the Jenny Craig Pavilion; and the university Student Sports Center. Located near the west end of campus are the Avila, Barcelona, Coronado and Durango buildings.
Here in Southern California, students find a truly fascinating variety of leisure-time activities, including visits to the city’s outstanding zoo, the museums, the old Spanish mission, the theatre, swimming, boating, surfing, tennis, golf and much more. Proximity to Mexico provides an excellent opportunity for gaining a firsthand insight into Mexican culture. The University of San Diego is constantly thinking about what lies ahead, just beyond the horizon — because from the horizon, USD’s vision has no limit.
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The University of San Diego is a California nonprofit corporation. Subject to any limitations contained in the general nonprofit corporation law of the State of California, the powers of the USD corporation are exercised, its property controlled and its affairs conducted by a Board of Trustees