Jesuit Mission USF history

USF History Books

Legacy and Promise: 150 Years of Jesuit Education at the University of San Francisco

Written by Alan Ziajka, University of San Francisco Historian

Legacy of Promise Book Cover ImageLegacy and Promise tells the story of the University of San Francisco in a series of 150 vignettes. The book illuminates the university’s long and varied history by highlighting many of the important individuals; key social, economic, political, and religious influences; and major national and international events with which the school’s growth and development are intertwined. The University of San Francisco cannot be understood without an appreciation for the Jesuit ideals first articulated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the sixteenth century, the wave of immigrants to the United States in the nineteenth century, the rapid development of San Francisco following the California Gold Rush of the late 1840s, the earthquake and fire of 1906, and the two world wars and major economic depression of the first half of the twentieth century. In ways that are both obvious and subtle, the students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and staff that have formed the nucleus of the university community have been connected to the external world since the institution’s founding. The choices these individuals made were both shaped by and helped to shape the local, national, and international events taking place around them. The complex interaction between individual choices, institutional development, and the history of the city, the nation, and the world is the basis for understanding the legacy and the promise of the University of San Francisco.

The University of San Francisco School of Law Century

Written by Alan Ziajka, University of San Francisco Historian
Edited by Angie Davis, USF School of Law Director of Communications

USF School of Law Century Book Cover ImageThe University of San Francisco School of Law Century tells the story of change and continuity at USF’s School of Law during its first 100 years. The changes have been dramatic. During the law school’s first academic year, beginning in September 1912, 49 young men, mostly first- and second-generation immigrants from Europe, began taking evening law classes at the University of St. Ignatius College of Law, located on the 6th floor of the Grant Building on Market Street, in downtown San Francisco. At the beginning of the fall semester of 2011, 734 men and women, of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, were enrolled in day and evening classes at the University of San Francisco School of Law, housed in the magnificent Koret Law Center, encompassing Kendrick Hall and the Zief Law Library, located a block from the edge of Golden Gate Park, in the geographical center of San Francisco. In 1912, evening classes were taught by less than a dozen part-time instructors and special lecturers who worked during the day as lawyers, judges, or government officials. By the 2011-2012 academic year, the USF School of Law employed 28 full-time and 48 adjunct and part-time faculty members.

Despite enormous changes, several features have remained constant at the University of San Francisco School of Law during the past century: a firm commitment to Jesuit ethical principles; a strong emphasis on service to the local, national, and international communities; a focus on the practical aspects of the law coupled with rigorous academic preparation; and an inextricable bond between the law school and the university as a whole. The University of San Francisco and its School of Law share a common mission that stresses academic excellence, service to others, global justice, the primacy of ethical considerations in professional life, and the education of men and women from diverse social, ethnic, and economic background to shape a multicultural world for the betterment of all. Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General of the United States, said it best during the dedication of Kendrick Hall and the celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary in September 1962, when he expressed his confidence that future graduates of the USF School of Law will be “dedicated to the highest ideals and richest tradition or their heritage….lawyers courageously dedicated to the broadest horizons of citizenship and service.” For 100 years, Kennedy’s confidence has been well placed.