In 1949, San Diego’s first Bishop Charles Buddy and Mother Rosalie Hill of the Religious of the Sacred Heart envisioned the University of San Diego (USD) as a beacon of light for the Catholic intellectual tradition. Today, USD is a nationally ranked Catholic institution with more than 800 faculty members and 7,800 undergraduate, graduate, and law students.

Community is at the core of USD. Significant portions of university-community partnerships are located in the surrounding community of Linda Vista, where over 24 languages are spoken within a four-mile area.

Community engagement and anchor mission work are realized through the Karen and Tom Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action. At the Mulvaney Center, course-based service-learning, co-curricular programs, and immersion experiences foster opportunities for the USD community to intentionally engage with their community partners and to link classroom learning to the wisdom of the community.

“As a former member of CUMU’s executive committee, it’s impressive to see the dynamic direction CUMU has taken in helping its membership address the unique issues facing our urban campuses. Now that the University of San Diego is a member of CUMU and the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, I am looking forward for our campus to use new resources to expand our work as an anchor institution in San Diego .” —James Harris, President, University of San Diego

USD is one of only 41 universities in the world to earn the Ashoka Changemaker Campus distinction, the leading designation for social innovation in higher education. In 2011, USD launched Changemaker HUB, which empowers and enables the entire campus to be changemakers. A main focus of the HUB is developing diverse opportunities—community engagement, service learning courses, undergraduate research, social venture design—for the USD community to learn about themselves, to be inspired, and to practice changemaking.

The University of San Diego is one of 33 CUMU members participating in the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative. Through USD’s strategic plan, Envisioning 2024, the campus seeks to strengthen and expand its anchor mission work and to enhance their role in the community.

Here are a few examples of how the University of San Diego is making a difference in the communities they serve.

  • Changemaker Hub: In 2011, USD launched the Changemaker HUB, a campus-wide manifestation of USD’s mission and values, with the purpose of empowering and enabling everyone to be a changemaker.
  • Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies: A global hub for peacebuilding and social innovation, the Kroc School prepares graduates to lead change locally, regionally, and internationally.
  • The Mulvaney Center: Founded in 1986, the center opened as a volunteer services office. USD’s dedicated space for community engagement has grown considerably and has been a widely-respected center for 30 years.
  • Romero Immersion Programs: Through University Ministry, students are immersed with vulnerable populations to form hearts that long for justice; to empower students to always be conscious of the poor; and to encourage students to live in solidarity with the lost, the least, and the leftout.
  • Trans-border Institute: Through research, outreach and teaching, the Trans-Border Institute empowers students and partners on both sides of the US-Mexico border to develop their own solutions to violence and corruption.