Toreros Together Changemakers Confronting Humanity’s Urgent Challenges

14alisha Le's Pizza Deliveries Copy

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented. The University of San Diego is proud of how Toreros from around the world have come together in innovative and inspiring ways to do what they do best – confront humanity’s urgent challenges as only Toreros can.
It is why they call students, faculty, staff and alumni at USD Changemakers.
While the world reeled in the days, weeks and months since the pandemic hit, the Torero community dug deep and got to work. They manufactured ventilators. They supported essential workers, produced much-needed personal protective equipment. They wrote editorials cited in the Congressional Record of the U.S. Congress. They came together in song. They advocated for children. They prayed together. They volunteered to serve on the front lines at the pandemic’s epicenter.
The Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering printed 2,300 face shields on its 3D printers. Dean Chell Roberts reached out to Steve Saxer, PE, manager of the school’s Mechanical Lab with plans for a face shield and soon the whirring of 3D printers graced the silenced hallways with the sound of hope. “We are now trying to run all four 3D printers day and night,” explains Saxer. “We will keep printing them until there is no more need.”

Patricio Keegan ’18 (MBA) is the global director of marketing at Tecme, an Argentina-based company that manufactures and sells mechanical ventilators used in ICUs in more than 55 countries, including the United States. Now, while Argentina is in quarantine, Tecme is fulfilling orders at home so it can begin exporting internationally again – especially to the United States. “We have doubled our production and want to do even more,” says Keegan.

Alumna Alisha Le ’16 (BA), director of marketing for Everyday Hospitality, sent 500 pizzas a day to hospital, fire and police personnel throughout New York City.

Corey Johnston, MFA, an adjunct assistant professor and faculty costume supervisor in USD’s Department of Theatre, sewed 725 masks for the campus community and community partners. “It was the perfect storm of opportunity and responsibility,” Johnston says.

Doctor of Nursing Practice student Elena Johns, from USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, volunteered at an NYC-area hospital to help the overwhelmed system handle COVID-19 patients. Johns worked as an ICU nurse before returning to USD to earn her DNP with a concentration in palliative and end-of-life care, visit After volunteering to help patients who were unable to be with family, she remains committed to caring for those at the end of their lives.

University Ministry created an online prayer board for the community. “For the many other unsung heroes: the cashiers, the mailmen, the bank tellers, the grocery store clerks, the pharmacist, the janitors, the subway operators, as well as the nurses, doctors and city and state leaders, whom all show up to work in these times of uncertainty to provide service for others despite the fear of what may come, and especially to my mother, we pray for health and strength,” reads one contribution posted to the board.

These Toreros inspire others to rise above their fears and be part of the solution. To read other stories, go to

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Esteban Villanueva