Established as the City of San Francisco`s first institution of higher education, the University of San Francisco began in October 1855.
The original college, St. Ignatius Academy, was located in a building 26 feet long by 16 feet wide on the south side of Market Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets. Under the guidance of Father Anthony Maraschi, S.J., founder, and first president, the academy opened its doors as a "Jesuit college for the youth of the city."
In April 1859, the State of California issued a charter under the title of "Saint Ignatius College," empowering the college to confer degrees "with such literary honors as are granted by any university in the United States."
In 1862, a new building for the college was constructed on the same site, on Market Street between Fourth and Fifth.
In 1880, the college moved to a new building on Van Ness Avenue near the site of the Civic Center. The location currently is the site of the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall.
Twenty-six years later, the 1906 San Francisco fire and earthquake destroyed all the institution`s facilities. The college relocated to temporary quarters at Hayes and Shrader streets within the year.
In 1930, on its Diamond Jubilee, St. Ignatius College became the University of San Francisco.
Since 1855, St.Ignatius/University of San Francisco has grown with the city. Today, the university, with its 55 acres, is San Francisco`s largest independent university campus, located on a hilltop near Golden Gate Park, and overlooking downtown San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.
The student body represents more than 80 countries, and although the University of San Francisco retains its rich Catholic heritage, its students and faculty are from all religious backgrounds.
Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in arts, sciences, business, and nursing. In 1925, the departments of arts, sciences, and philosophy officially became the College of Arts and Sciences.
In 1927, to accommodate the growing student population, Campion Hall was completed and dedicated, and the entire University moved to its present location.
In 1931, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science became major divisions. In 1982, the name changed to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The University of San Francisco School of Law was established in 1912. The law school facilities now count among the finest in the United States.
In 1925, the College of Commerce and Finance was established, and the first bachelor of commercial science degree was awarded in 1928. In 1999, the name was changed to the School of Business and Management, with the undergraduate program named the McLaren College of Business, and the graduate program named the Graduate School of Management.
In 2003, the Graduate School of Management was renamed the Masagung Graduate School of Management.
In 1948, the University established the Department of Education. From its inception, and through the 1950s and 1960s, the department offered a highly reputed teacher preparation program. The school offered several master`s degree programs.
In 1972, the Board of Trustees established the School of Education and in 1975, the first doctoral students were admitted to study for the newly approved Doctor of Education degree.
The University of San Francisco School of Nursing began in 1948, as a department within the College of Arts and Sciences. An independent school of nursing was formed in 1954, and accredited by the National League for Nursing.
The College of Professional Studies began as part of an ongoing university commitment to adult education.
In 1952, in response to the educational needs of World War II veterans and others, the university opened its doors further to adult learners by creating an Evening College to serve the needs of daytime working people. In 1981, the Board of Trustees approved a name change to the College of Professional Studies (CPS).