University of San Francisco President Stephen
A. Privett, S.J. kicked off the 2011-12 school year with his annual convocation
by welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to a changed university – the
most prominent signs being the closure of Harney Plaza for construction of a
state-of-the-art science center, the purchase of the historic Folger Building
in downtown San Francisco, and the adoption of a new university logo and
Fr. Privett told a packed house at
Presentation Theater on Aug. 18 that USF is broadening its appeal to students
and parents and building a long-term financial foundation in response to the ongoing
challenges facing higher education that include fewer students heading to
college nationwide, tuition costs outstripping families’ ability to pay, and
decreased state and federal funding.
To view a video of Fr. Privett delivering the 2011 convocation, click here.
The strategies highlighted in the convocation respond to USF’s Strategic Plan 2028 and focus on seven priorities, including better communication, a distributed campus, and more.
“We are writing the current chapter in the
long story of the University of San Francisco rising to overcome daunting
The construction of the John Lo Schiavo, S.J. Center for Science and Innovation is more than
much-needed teaching and laboratory space, it is also a strategic link with San
Francisco’s digital technology, sustainable energy, and biotech industries, Fr.
The purchase of the Folger Building,
in addition to expanding USF’s classroom space, which is near capacity on the
Hilltop, is intended to raise the university’s profile and strengthen its ties
to San Francisco’s legal, financial, and high tech communities. As part of
USF’s distributed-campus model, the Folger Building will house
revenue-generating graduate programs.
USF’s new logo and tagline, Change the World From Here, are designed to capture the campus community and public’s imagination and
improve the university’s name recognition in San Francisco with a call to action that is
contemporary, urgent, and personal, Fr. Privett said.
“Our new tagline retains the emphasis on
social engagement and underscores more sharply and crisply that ‘change’ is now
and multivalent,” Fr. Privett said. “‘Change
the World From Here’ highlights the quality and character of much of our
faculties’ research and our students’ engagement across the globe. ‘Here,’
simultaneously references this trend-setting city, the university, and/or the
minds and hearts of our students, faculty, and staff.”
Fr. Privett highlighted other initiatives USF
has taken to develop strategies to meet USF’s long-term demographic, financial,
and political challenges, including the establishment of the Center of Teaching Excellence,
a new one-stop office for contracts and grants to support faculty efforts to
secure outside funding for scholarly work, a new Arrupe Justice Immersions
program to offer every USF undergraduate an international and mission-driven
immersion experience, and more.
In spite of so many changes and challenges,
Fr. Privett encouraged USFers to hold true to what remain the constants in
USF’s story. “The city of San Francisco remains our classroom and our campus,”
he said. “Our Jesuit Catholic higher standard of education locates academic
excellence in the larger context of the full, integral, human development of
our students; and our long-standing passion for justice does not hesitate to
engage with, learn from, and speak for the poor and the disenfranchised.”