A True Renaissance

Lounge area of community room in renovated Founders Hall


Inspiring surroundings date back to the first days of the University of San Diego. More than seven decades after its founding, USD is proud to have rededicated several spaces that foster campus beauty.

In the fall of 2021, the USD community watched as both the new Learning Commons and the renovated Helen K. and James S. Copley Library were officially opened.

The two-story Learning Commons, which houses the USD Writing Center and the Honors Program offices, is 36,000 square feet of classroom and collaborative spaces that provide students with places to study and connect throughout their college experience.

Copley Library now features two entrances and more than 20 study rooms. Even the all-too-familiar to students Camino Stacks area was renovated and now includes 10 new study spaces.

A celebration marking the renovation of Camino, Founders and Sacred Heart Halls was held to mark the occasion this past fall. “This marks the refurbishment of the center and the heart of the university,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Noelle Norton. She added, “We’re excited to celebrate our new space over the next academic year.”

After the ceremony, attendees explored the renovated buildings on self-guided tours. Major changes include dedicated space for theater and visual arts students in Sacred Heart Hall that will allow them to showcase their work. In addition, communication studies students now have a lab where they can conduct interviews or collaboratively work on digital projects. Cozy couches and chairs have also been added to the new liberal studies students office to create a welcoming space.

Above the classrooms, even more changes have been made. The first-year residence halls in Camino and Founders Halls feature new heating, lighting, windows, ceiling fans, custom closets and furnishings, all of which create a homey feeling for incoming students.

The Camino and Founders Lounge (pictured above) has also been updated, featuring appliances for light cooking as well as dining room tables for friends to gather and enjoy each other’s company. A newly added craft room is another space for residents to utilize.

“I’m sure there are hundreds of faculty and thousands of students who went before us who would be very proud of what we’re doing today,” said President Harris during his remarks at the celebration.

The completion of the renovation of Copley Library, Camino, Founders and Sacred Heart Halls and the new Learning Commons mark a major milestone in the university’s Renaissance Plan, a 10-year initiative to build, renovate and restore academic spaces by the university’s 75th anniversary in 2024.

The first phase of the Renaissance Plan is almost complete. The finish line will include the new three-story Knauss Center for Business Education plus the renovation of Olin Hall, scheduled to be completed by Fall 2022 and 2023, respectively. — Kelsey Grey

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