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Rolling Out the Red Carpet for the Newbies

New USC College Dean Howard Gillman introduces his administration and new faculty members as he starts his inaugural academic year.

By Pamela J. Johnson
September 1, 2007

Rolling Out the Red Carpet for the Newbies

At a red-carpet reception saluting the most recent newcomers to USC College’s faculty, Dean Howard Gillman dabbled in the informal as he welcomed an “extremely talented and exciting group of newbies.”

“I say ‘newbie’ with all affection because I’m a newbie as well,” said Gillman, a professor of political science and history who is in his first academic semester as dean.

To emphasize the inaugural point, Gillman put on a cardinal USC College cap; embroidered on the back in gold lettering: “Newbie Dean.”

“So it makes me very happy that one of my first public acts as the new dean of USC College is to say to our newest colleagues, we are so very glad you are here!”

The Sept. 10 event drew about 140 people, mostly faculty, to the ornate setting at Town and Gown, where a pianist played classical music, and refreshments and hors d’oeuvres were served.

During the event, Gillman personally welcomed each of the newcomers as Vice Dean Edwin McCann described the faculty member’s research focus from the podium. Gillman also introduced the five faculty members who serve in his Dean’s Cabinet and are his brain trust on academic issues.

They are: Michael Quick, executive vice dean; Elinor Accampo, vice dean responsible for graduate programs; Dani Byrd, vice dean overseeing research advancement; Steven Lamy, vice dean focusing on undergraduate programs; and McCann, who is responsible for faculty affairs.

To applause, Gillman also warmly thanked Peter Starr, who served until June as interim dean, and Wayne Raskind, former dean of faculty, for their roles in bringing to the College these two dozen exceptional professors.

“We want you to think big, be bold, be innovative,” Gillman told the newest members of the College faculty. “Make a difference — for your students, for your disciplines and for the world.”

Edwin Hill, assistant professor of French, who arrived from UCLA, said he was excited to be leading an advanced course on the literature, music and culture of the French-speaking West Indies.

“The seniors really push for in-depth discussions on the issues,” Hill said.

He added that the new faculty events at the College — such as Monday’s reception — were making him feel welcome.

“Anytime you start at a new place, it can be overwhelming,” Hill said. “These events make you feel like you’re a part of it.”