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The University of San Diego is well known for its Spanish architecture and immaculate landscaping. The church of the Immaculata is located at the heart of the USD campus. Walker Chuppe/The USD Vista


The Princeton Review has ranked the University of San Diego as the No. 1 Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation in their 2018 edition of The Best 382 Colleges.  According to the  publication’s College Ranking Methodology page, the rankings are based on “surveys of 137,000 students at the 382 schools in the book.”

The survey asked how students rate the beauty of their  campus and claimed that “schools that make it onto any of [their] 62 top 20 lists are those at which the surveyed students (as a group) indicated a very high consensus of opinion about that topic.”

Students that are exposed to USD see the beauty of the campus around every corner they turn. Senior Kaitlin Girtin shared her experience being on the USD campus.

“When I tell people that I attend the University of San Diego, most people associate its beauty with the nearby beaches and the city itself,” Girtin said. “Don’t get me wrong, the view of the bay from my freshmen dorm was unreal, but what is even more beautiful is the building that I lived in and its surroundings.”

She explained how people can discover something new at USD every day.

“Walking to class isn’t just walking from one building to the next,” Girtin said. “If you stop and look around, this walk becomes a stroll through the Spanish Renaissance decorated in vibrant flowers and palm trees. From the elegant buildings to the eye-catching blossoms to the beautiful people throughout campus, I’m happy to have called this place my home.”

It is no accident that USD has blossomed into the beautiful campus it is today. When the university was first opened in 1949, co-founder Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill wanted the campus to be beautiful, as stated on the USD History webpage.

“Beauty will attract them; goodness will lead them; but the truth will hold them,” Mother Rosalie said.

She knew that beauty was not all that a campus has to offer, but it was one of the key elements.  Beauty is an initial attraction when deciding on a college, and students do take it into consideration when choosing their potential future campus. Mother Rosalie knew that beauty was not enough to keep students.

“When [students] are here, they will encounter people in whom they find a certain goodness,” the USD History webpage stated. “This, in turn, will lead them to the truth, which will hold them. For Mother Rosalie Hill, the search for truth was the purpose of the university.”

The USD community has a duty to help keep the campus beautiful as well as represent the purpose for which the university was built.  James T. Harris III, President of USD, commented on USD’s recent recognition of No. 1 Most Beautiful Campus in the nation.

“USD’s founders inspired us to beauty, truth, and goodness,” Harris said. “We are grateful that the Princeton Review named USD the No. 1 Most Beautiful College Campus in the country.  Mother Rosalie Hill and Bishop Buddy, our founders, would be very pleased to learn that USD has earned this recognition but I would guess they would remind us that goodness and truth are equally as important. Let us savor this moment but never forget our responsibility to continue their vision for this remarkable university.”

Today the university continues to expand and add to the beauty of the campus.  Paseo de Colachis, a project that has been under construction since January 9, 2017, will take down its final fencing after Labor Day weekend to add to the campus aesthetics.

A lot has changed for USD since its founding in 1949.  Many more changes will be made in order to improve the beauty of the campus for future years to come. The goal of these improvements is to make USD a good place to learn and an even better place to grow.

1949 USD photo: In 1949, the University of San Diego was merely empty land and has quickly grown into the beautiful campus that stands today. Photo courtesy of USD History Webpage

By Lilyana Espinoza | News Editor | The USD Vista