The University of San Francisco began in 1855 as a one-room schoolhouse named St. Ignatius Academy. Its founding is interwoven with the establishment of the Jesuit Order in California, European immigration to the western United States, and the population growth of California and San Francisco as a result of the California Gold Rush. For 159 years, the University of San Francisco has enriched the lives of thousands of people. The institution has graduated students who went on to become leaders in government, education, business, journalism, sports, the sciences, and the legal and medical professions. Among its alumni, the university counts three San Francisco mayors, a US senator, four California Supreme Court justices, a California lieutenant goverr, two Pulitzer Prize winners, three Olympic medalists, several professional athletes, and the former president of Peru.