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University of San Francisco
Latin: Universitas Sancti Francisci
Former names
St. Ignatius Academy (1855–1859)
St. Ignatius College (1859–1930)
MottoTraditional: Pro Urbe et Universitate (Latin)
Motto in English
Traditional: "For City and University"
Current motto: "Change the World from Here"
TypePrivate university
EstablishedOctober 15, 1855; 168 years ago (October 15, 1855)[1]
FounderAnthony Maraschi, S.J.
Religious affiliation
Catholic Church (Jesuit)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$478.4 million (2022)[2]
PresidentPaul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.
ProvostEileen Chia-Ching Fung
Academic staff
1,174 faculty (486 full-time, 688 part-time)[3]
Administrative staff
1,083 (fall 2016: 975 full-time, 108 part-time)[4]
United States

37°46′46″N 122°27′07″W / 37.77944°N 122.45194°W / 37.77944; -122.45194
CampusLarge city, 55 acres (22 ha)
NewspaperSan Francisco Foghorn
Colors  Green
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IWCC
MascotThe Don, a Spanish nobleman

The University of San Francisco (USF) is a private Jesuit university in San Francisco, California. The university's main campus is located on a 55-acre (22 ha) setting between the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. The main campus is nicknamed "The Hilltop" and is split into two sections within a block of each other. Part of the main campus is located on Lone Mountain, one of San Francisco's major geographical features. Its close historical ties with the City and County of San Francisco are reflected in the university's traditional motto, Pro Urbe et Universitate ('For the City and University').[6]


USF campus at sunset

Founded by the Jesuits in 1855 as St. Ignatius Academy, USF started as a one-room schoolhouse along Market Street in what later became downtown San Francisco. Father Anthony Maraschi was the college's founder and first president, a professor, the college's treasurer, and the first pastor of St. Ignatius Church. Under Maraschi, St. Ignatius Academy received its charter to issue college degrees on April 30, 1859, from the State of California, and signed by governor John B. Weller. In that year, the school changed its name to St. Ignatius College.[7]

The original curriculum included Greek, Spanish, Latin, English, French, Italian, algebra, arithmetic, history, geography, elocution, and bookkeeping.[8]

A new building was constructed in 1862 to replace the first frame building. In June 1863, the university awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 1880, the college moved from Market Street to a new site on the corner of Hayes Street and Van Ness Avenue (currently occupied by the Davies Symphony Hall).

The third St. Ignatius College received moderate damage in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but was completely destroyed in the ensuing fire. The campus moved west, to the corner of Hayes and Shrader Streets, close to Golden Gate Park. It occupied a hastily constructed structure known as the Shirt Factory (for its resemblance to similar manufacturing buildings of the era) for the next 21 years.

The college moved to its present site on Fulton Street in 1927, on the site of a former Masonic Cemetery.[1]

To celebrate its diamond jubilee in 1930, St. Ignatius College changed its name to the University of San Francisco. The change from college to university was sought by many alumni groups and by long-time San Francisco Mayor James Rolph Jr.[8]

A male-only school for most of its history, USF became fully coeducational in 1964, though women started attending the evening programs in business and law as early as 1927.

In 1969, the high school division, already wholly separate from the university, moved to the western part of San Francisco and became St. Ignatius College Preparatory.

In 1978, the university acquired Lone Mountain College.[8] October 15, 2005, marked the 150th anniversary of the university's founding.[9]


59 majors are offered are offered at USF within its one college and four schools:[10][11]


Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[13]103
Washington Monthly[14]146
WSJ/College Pulse[15]154

Global education

USF's Center for Global Education advises students on international programs sponsored by USF or external organizations and schools and facilitates the process. In sponsored study abroad programs, students pay USF's tuition and not the host program's tuition. USF has more than 89 sponsored study abroad programs in more than 40 countries. [20]


Path through USF's main campus

The University of San Francisco offers more than 65 undergraduate and 60 graduate programs across its campuses.[21][22]

The university's 55-acre main campus is known as "the Hilltop."[23] It's divided into Lone Mountain and lower campus, which are north and south of Turk Street respectively.[24]

The USF Downtown San Francisco Campus was founded in the Folger Coffee Company Building at 101 Howard Street in 2012. 15 graduate programs in the School of Management and College of Arts and Sciences are offered here.[25]

The Orange County Campus, founded in Orange in 1983, offers the Master of Science in Sport Management, the Master of Science in Nursing, and the Master of Public Health in Applied Epidemiology and Population Health Methods.[26]

The Sacramento Campus, founded in 1975, offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Master of Public Health, the Master in Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Master's in Teaching with the a Teaching Credential.[27]

USF also offers programs on the campuses of San Jose City College and Santa Rosa Junior College.[28][29]

Campus buildings

Organization and administration

The University of San Francisco is chartered as a non-profit organization and is governed by a privately appointed board of trustees, along with the university president, the university chancellor, the university provost and vice-presidents, and the deans. The board currently has 41 voting members who serve three, three-year terms.[31] The board of trustees elects a president to serve as the general manager and chief executive of the university. The university's current president is Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.[32] The president, according to USF bylaws, is specifically responsible for articulating and advancing the Jesuit Catholic character of the university.[33]

USF's faculty and librarians are unionized. The University of San Francisco Faculty Association, a local of the California Federation of Teachers, represents its members in all matters concerning wages, benefits, and enforcing the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The USFFA is consulted by the USF administration on matters affecting the working conditions of the faculty and librarians. Economics professor Michael Lehmann was the founding president of the Union in 1975.

Student clubs and organizations

USF is home to over 100 clubs and organizations.[34] The missions and goals of USF's student clubs and organizations are to provide programs and services that support students' leadership development and promote student engagement in co-curricular activities.

View from atop Lone Mountain to St. Ignatius Church on Main Campus.

The Associated Students of the University of San Francisco (ASUSF) Senate is the student body governance organization responsible for organizing major campus events, voicing student concern, and reviewing the ASUSF budget.[35]

Greek life

All social sororities and fraternities recognized by the university must participate in the Greek Council, which tends to the development of these organizations and their members.[36] Chapters have some common mixers and socials, Thanksgiving potluck, Christmas clothing drive, Homecoming, and Greek Games.[37]

Student-produced media

The San Francisco Foghorn is the official student weekly newspaper and is sponsored by ASUSF. The Foghorn was founded in 1903 and was first called The Ignatian. In the 1930s when the college name was changed, the newspaper became the San Francisco Foghorn. The Foghorn notable alumni including Pierre Salinger, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and Press Secretary for President John F. Kennedy; well-known author and historian Kevin Starr; and Leo T. McCarthy, former California Lieutenant Governor.

From 1977, USF radio station KUSF broadcast online until 2011 when its license was sold[40] to a Southern California-based classical radio station. KUSF had garnered international attention for its diverse musical programming, which varied from rock to hip hop to world music.[41] It received numerous awards,[42] including public service awards,[43] for its weekly community service series. USF's other radio station, KDNZ, is student-run.[44]

The University of San Francisco television station USFtv, founded in 2006[45] and entirely student-run, is broadcast on Channel 35 in the dormitories and around campus,[46] with news, sports, and cultural programming. In 2008, USFtv students collaborated with Wyclef Jean to create a music video for his song, "If I Was President".[47]

The Ignatian is USF's annual literary magazine published every spring, with a wide array of content from philosophical pieces to personal essays, short fiction, poetry, and photography.

Performing arts

USF has numerous student clubs for the performing arts, including a theater group (College Players), two-time Golden Gate Regional winning improvisational team (Awkward Silence), choir (ASUSF Voices), USF Don Marching Band, contemporary mass ensemble, and a dance program that focuses on social justice.

The College Players, founded in 1863, is considered one of the oldest student-run theater groups in the United States.[48] Their annual production of The Vagina Monologues gives all its proceeds to women's charities in the Bay Area.[49]

ASUSF Voices, in collaboration with the Performing Arts Department, contains a variety of choral ensembles, including jazz and popular.[50] The USF Contemporary Mass Ensemble (vocal and instrumental) are USF alumni who perform at Sunday Masses in St. Ignatius Church.[51] The USF dance program is affiliated with the Performing Arts and Social Justice Major. Students can enroll in traditional and modern dance classes and participate in the USF Dance Ensemble under professional choreographers.[52]

Student body

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Undergraduate demographics as of Fall 2020
Race and ethnicity[53] Total
Asian 26% 26
White 24% 24
Hispanic 21% 21
Foreign national 12% 12
Other[a] 11% 11
Black 6% 6
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 27% 27
Affluent[c] 73% 73

Notable students marked the early years of student diversity at the USF. Chan Chung Wing, whose parents had immigrated from near Canton, was in the first law class at then St. Ignatius College of Law. In 1929, the Filipino Ignatians was founded. In 1930, the African American Isaiah Fletcher was a starting tackle on the football team, years before most colleges became integrated. In 1936, Earl Booker, another African American, won the Intercollegiate Boxing Championship.[54]

International students made up 15.5% of the student body in the fall of 2017. International students have a special orientation period[55] and a variety of student groups like the International Student Association, Global Living Community,[56] an International Advisory Council, and an International Network Program.[57] USF sponsors an annual International Education Week with an international fair featuring consulates in the San Francisco area, storytelling opportunities, educational speakers, and a performance event called "Cultures cape".[58]

Undergraduate admissions

USF is categorized as more selective for undergraduates according to both College Factual[59] and U.S. News & World Report.[60]

In its 2024 rankings, U.S. News lists USF as having a 0.77 diversity index, tied with Andrews University as the most diverse "national university" in the United States.[61][62]

For freshman enrolling in the fall of 2022, the average high school grade point average (GPA) was 3.68. 77% of all applicants admitted to University of San Francisco have an SAT score of 1200 or higher, an ACT score of 27 or higher.[63]

Financial aid

According to USF, "97% of fall 2023 incoming students received financial aid, with an average aid package of $48,664."[64] USF provides a Net Price Calculator on its website.[65]

For the 2023–2024 year, tuition for full-time undergraduates is $57,670. The total estimated cost for one year, including fees, housing, and dining, is $83,662.[66]

Residence Halls

Each residence hall or dormitory at the University of San Francisco contains at least one lounge, a kitchen, and laundry facilities. Halls are secured with a 24-hour desk staff. Community programs and activities are planned by Resident Advisors, Resident Ministers, Residence Hall Council, and Residence Hall Association.[67][68]




Main article: San Francisco Dons

USF competes in NCAA Division I and is a charter member of the West Coast Conference, along with local rivals Santa Clara University and Saint Mary's College of California. Sports offered are men's and women's basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, as well as men's baseball and women's volleyball and sand volleyball. USF's mascot is the Don and its colors are green and gold.[69]


Athletics at USF dates back to its founding in 1855, when founder Anthony Maraschi, S.J., organized ball games as recreation for the first students. Intercollegiate competition dates back to 1907, when then St. Ignatius College began playing organized baseball, basketball, and rugby against other local colleges and high schools. Rivalries with neighboring Santa Clara University and Saint Mary's College of California have their origins in this early period.[8]

The university's Olympians have included Israeli long-distance runner Maor Tiyouri, American-born Marshallese runner Haley Nemra, Venezuelan-American basketball player John Cox, and synchronized swimmer Mariya Koroleva.[70]

1951 USF Dons football team

The 1951 USF football team

The 1951 University of San Francisco Dons football team, coached by Joe Kuharich, went undefeated with a record of 9–0, and produced nine future NFL players. Five became NFL Pro-Bowlers, and Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson, and Bob St. Clair later were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame – a record for one college team. Also the team's Burl Toler became the first African American official in the NFL.[71] Future NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle played a role as the Dons' Athletic Publicist. At the height of their success, due to the team having two African-American star players, Ollie Matson and Burl Toler, they were not invited to play in any of the college football bowl games hosted by the SEC (Southeastern Conference).[72] The team, less Toler and Matson, was invited to the Orange Bowl but declined. Guard Dick Columbini said, "'No, we're not going to leave ‘em at home’ ... ‘We're going to play with ‘em or we’re not going to play.’"[71] The USF Athletic Department was forced to drop its football program in 1952, due to a deficit in department funds.


The 1954-55 USF NCAA Championship basketball team

Main article: San Francisco Dons men's basketball

The men's basketball program won three national championships: the 1949 NIT Championship, with Don Lofgran as MVP, and the 1955 and 1956 NCAA National Championships, going undefeated in the 1956 season. Led by NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, the 1956 Dons became the first undefeated team to win a national championship, winning a then-record 60 games in a row from 1954 to 1956 before losing an exhibition game to the USA Men's Olympic Basketball team. Also of note, the 1954-1955 USF basketball teams became the first major college or university basketball team to win a national title with three African American starters (Russell, Jones, and Hal Perry).[8]


Main article: San Francisco Dons men's soccer

The soccer program began at USF in 1931, and they succeeded from the start, winning five titles from 1932 to 1936. The team captain was All-American Gus Donoghue, who returned to the university as head coach in 1946, winning several titles, including a co-championship with Penn State in 1949.

At Donoghue's retirement in 1960, Stephen Negoesco, All-American and Holocaust survivor took over, having played under Donoghue in the 50s. He coached the team from 1962 to 2000, and led them to 540 wins and four national championships (1966, 1975, 1976, and 1980). Negoesco was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003, having set a US record for games won in intercollegiate soccer competition.

Under Negoesco's successor, alumnus Erik Visser, the men's team earned the 2004, 2005, and 2008 WCC titles.[8]


Main article: List of University of San Francisco people

See also


  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


  1. ^ a b Ziajka, Alan. Lighting the City, Changing the World of the Science at the University of San Francisco. San Francisco: University of San Francisco, Association of Jesuit University Presses, 2014.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2022. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2022 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY21 to FY22 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d "Facts & Statistics". University of San Francisco. 4 May 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  4. ^ "USF Quick Facts" (PDF). University of San Francisco, Center for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "University of San Francisco Graphic Standards Manual" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2015-08-17.
  6. ^ "University of San Francisco".
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Further reading