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Have I Got News For You

From the Dean Spring/Summer 2009


Because of the size of USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the breadth of our expertise, our faculty and students are always in a position to shed light on important questions as they arise in society. It is no surprise that, as the global economic crisis deepened, our community turned to members of our faculty for reliable analyses. One panel discussion last fall, sponsored by our Department of Economics, attracted more than 300 students and faculty.

In this issue of USC College Magazine, you will hear more from our economics professors and also from members of our broader College alumni community who have offered to share their special expertise with all of us. You will also learn that other notable College alumni have been asked to share their expertise in another way: by joining the Obama administration.

The global economic crisis was not the only event this year that mobilized our faculty and students on campus. In the aftermath of our historic presidential election, and in the early months of President Obama’s administration, College faculty organized conferences and workshops to discuss and analyze the meaning of the election and the agenda of the new administration. Among the events was a two-day, election post-mortem at the Davidson Conference Center, sponsored by our Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, that attracted national media attention and top strategists from the Obama and McCain campaigns.

On other fronts, students and faculty continue to address vital social challenges relating to energy, the environment and human health. For more than 15 years, the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies has encouraged responsible and creative solutions to environmental challenges, and this past year faculty from across the disciplines worked to expand and enrich the College’s path-breaking academic programs in environmental studies. 

Overall, it has been a year of remarkable accomplishments for the College. When an anonymous donor challenged College faculty and staff to reach unprecedented levels of participation in the university’s Good Neighbors Campaign, we worked together to meet that challenge, and the result was a $1 million gift to our Joint Educational Project. 

In other news: This past year saw the election of Nobel Laureate George Olah to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Arieh Warshel to the National Academy of Sciences. Distinguished Professor of English T.C. Boyle was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Karen Halttunen, professor of history, received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support her book about 19th-century New Englanders. Our Korean Studies Institute, directed by Professor of International Relations and Business David Kang, received a five-year $600,000 grant from the Strategic Initiative for Korean Studies at the Academy of Korean Studies. USC College’s Shoah Foundation Institute was featured in an HBO documentary following the network’s showing of Schindler’s List

…And my problem is that, because of the size of the College, and the breadth of our expertise I have much more good news to share with you than I have space in this column.

The magazine will elaborate, but even then, there is more to say.

And so: Have I got news for you!

The College has just completed a redesign of its Web site — and I encourage you to explore it at You will find many engaging stories and compelling videos. I hope you agree that the site captures the dynamic nature of the College and the amazing work being done by our faculty, students and alumni.

Remember: Find out even more about what’s going on in USC College. I think you will be pleased and proud with what you see. We hope you will come back often.

Howard Gillman
Dean of USC College
Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair

USC College Magazine Staff

Susan Andrews

Managing Editor & Designer
Emily Cavalcanti

Senior Writer
Pamela J. Johnson

Web Editor & Writer
Laurie Hartzell

New Media Producer
Mira Zimet

Letitia Franklin

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