University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear USD Campus Community:

As you may recall, last year, Congress voted to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday. The date refers to June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, and announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people there were emancipated by executive decree. Even though their freedom had been declared by President Abraham Lincoln two-and-one-half years earlier, the dehumanizing practice of slavery had continued. Juneteenth represents the official ending of slavery in the United States.

After Congress established the day as a holiday last year just hours prior to June 19, we added a floating holiday to our campus calendar in honor of Juneteenth. Benefit-eligible employees were able to use that floating holiday at their discretion. This year, we are delighted to formally add the day to our calendar of university holidays. Since the 19th falls on a Sunday, we will observe the holiday on Monday, June 20.

As we commemorate Juneteenth, I encourage us all to learn more about the history of the day and reflect on its significance. To assist with that process, we have created this video featuring members of the USD community.

On Juneteenth and every day, may each one of us seek and find ways to honor, respect and protect the freedom and human dignity of Black people everywhere.


James T. Harris III

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492