USD Named Private University of the Year for 2009

The University of San Diego added another accolade to its list of distinguished achievements last week by being named the 2009 Private University of the Year by the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.

The Washington Center — an independent, nonprofit organization that provides students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. for academic credit — presented USD with the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 19.

Political science and international relations professor Michael Williams traveled to D.C. to accept the award. Williams is USD’s faculty advisor for the Washington Center Program; the university has been partners with the Washington Center for the past 11 years. In that time, more than 300 USD students have participated in internships and seminars at the center and USD’s political science and international relations department has encouraged many USD undergraduate students to study in D.C.

Unique to USD’s affiliation is faculty participation: Professors Michael Williams, Del Dickson, Casey Dominguez and Noelle Norton have all taken students to D.C. to learn during intersession. This past January, Dickson and Dominguez capped off a two-week course on politics in D.C. by accompanying students to President Obama’s inauguration.

It was this level of involvement that contributed to the selection of USD for the award. At the presentation, a representative told Williams that the faculty’s presence in D.C. was “important to making the experience worthy of academic credit.” The Washington Center also noted that USD’s “exceptional commitment to the academic quality of students” set it apart from other institutions.