Changing the World with Progress and Community
It was a weekend of community and celebration unlike any other on the Hilltop at the University of San Francisco. CelebrateUSF, the largest event in institutional history, publicly launched Changing the World from Here: Campaign for the University of San Francisco. The three-day event served to bring the entire USF community together to celebrate its Jesuit mission, influence, future, and opportunities ahead.
A crowd of nearly 2,000 made up of students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university gathered to show their support and celebrate progress.
The weekend’s events highlighted many parts of the university, including both graduate and undergraduate student research, faculty presentations, alumni-owned and USF-connected businesses, reunions and opportunities to reconnect with one another, and activities to engage all ages.
The festival portion featured live performances by A-list artists Sheila E. and Pete Escovedo, the voice of the San Francisco Giants, Renel Brooks-Moon, as the emcee, and over a dozen local Bay Area restaurants, wineries, and breweries.
“The festival has great food, drinks, and performances, but really it is about community-building. The more community-building we do, the more that our alumni and community members will see that there is a lot here to contribute to,” said Bobby Lee ‘07, president-elect for the USF Alumni Board.
Networking and connecting with members of the university community was the core of the weekend.
“It is very heartwarming to see people of all ages comfortable together here and enjoying their time together,” said Trinite Byrd ’23. “I was talking with some alumni and it’s so nice to see them come back and support USF and students even many years after they’ve graduated. It makes me feel confident in my decision to come here too.”
Progress and Change
Between musical acts, USF President Fr. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. announced the progress to date in Changing the World From Here, the university’s comprehensive campaign, and gifts that will raise the total to $215 million of the $300 million fundraising goal.
Nearly 24,000 contributors have supported the university’s efforts to fund $100 million for scholarships, $100 million in support of academic and co-curricular programs, and $100 million in facilities improvements.
“I think it’s essential that we do this. It is extremely welcome every time we have someone invested in the university,” said, Marcelo Camperi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The campaign is coming at the right time and I think we are all being energized every time there is a new gift or something new in the campaign.”
To date, more than 17,000 students have benefited from scholarships and financial aid during the campaign.
“The fact that USF has taken this very strong stance on building its campus, creating new programs, and strengthening reputation is very comforting for me as a parent, and especially for my son,” said Luis Salaveria, co-chair of USF’s Parent’s Leadership Council. “You want to be able to have pride in the school you came from. To continue to see that USF is always raising the bar is encouraging.”
“We support USF because we see the gains, we see the progress, and we would like to continue to help with that,” added Naomi Salaveria, wife to Luis, and co-chair of the Parent’s Leadership Council.
The celebratory weekend fell just a few days after the university’s 164th founding anniversary. USF began in a one-room schoolhouse with three Jesuits and three students. Today, 10,636 are enrolled and USF is ranked among the top 100 universities in the nation.
“I think it’s great that the university is providing more diverse programs, newer facilities, and making it more attractive and inviting for students,” said Valerie Nicora MAEd ’99 “The progress that has occurred is great.”
The goal of the campaign, which will conclude in 2022, is to strengthen investment in financial aid, programs, faculty, and new spaces to support learning and innovation, and grow the university's endowment which provides a continuous, strong, and permanent source of financial support for the future of USF.
“It is so important to support students. Scholarships are a crucial way to do that, as well as academic programming, and beautifying and modernizing the buildings,” said Susan Freiwald, Dean of the School of Law. “It’s exciting to be at this stage of the campaign and go public with the progress we’ve made. It's a great feeling to know how much our donors support us and want to be contributing.”