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The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign: A Clash Between Reality and Fantasy

April 14, 2010

Commanding, evocative and unmistakable. With nine white steel and concrete letters standing 30 feet wide and 45 feet tall, the Hollywood Sign is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. The sign is also the subject of…

Associate Professor of English Aimee Bender. Photo credit Philip Channing.

A Conversation with Aimee Bender

March 24, 2010

Professor, mentor, magician with words -- Aimee Bender is all of these. She's also a friend; not just to me, her undergraduate student for more than a year, but to all of her students, to whom she is staggeringly devoted. The…

David St. John, poet and professor of English in USC College. Photo credit Roger Snider.

Versed in Matters of the Heart

March 9, 2010

David St. John exudes the grace and aplomb of a holy man, perhaps a monk or sage. He actually does resemble a bit of bespectacled, bearded spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle — especially in his quiet gaze and half…

Holly Payne ’97 today, fully healed 15 years after surviving a drunk driving accident. Photo credit Cindi Kinney.

Writing to Forgive

February 23, 2010

"If I am alive, I am going to write." Holly Payne '97 spoke these words as she lay on the edge of a road beside a cemetery. Seconds earlier, she stopped to assist two stranded cyclists. A passing pickup truck struck all…

Auteur Rockstar Strikes A Chord

Auteur Rock Star Strikes a Chord

February 11, 2010

Listening to a brooding cello concerto, the writer strikes the keyboard as he begins his short story or book. He begins, yet does not know where it will end until he arrives there. "You know, it's hard for me to do this -- to…

USC College Magazine's Latest Issue Now Online

USC College Magazine's Latest Issue Now Online

February 5, 2010

View USC College Magazine's Fall 2009/Winter 2010 issue online.   From the Dean Fall 2009/Winter 2010 A new year brings a new edition of our award-winning USC College Magazine. I must confess to a special…

Embedded with a highly clandestine black operations team, Brad Thor ’92 sits with two Afghans in a small village near Kabul. Researching his book, The Apostle, Thor visited scenes of horrific bombings and ambushes. Photo courtesy of Brad Thor.

The Thrill of Writing in the Trenches

January 29, 2010

Walk into any bookstore, make a beeline to The New York Times best-seller section and you will find a political thriller by Brad Thor. The 40-year-old author produces one book a year. To date, he has written eight novels…

Historian & Author Extraordinaire

Historian and Author Extraordinaire

January 27, 2010

Back in Widener Library at Harvard University during the late ’60s, an American historiographer was born. University Professor and Professor of History in USC College, Kevin Starr researched and wrote five chapters for…

From Barbies to Rockets

From Barbies to Rockets

January 27, 2010

No longer do we live in a world divided into two cultures. The literary artist, like the scientist, must embrace science and technology. Telling science stories is an excellent way to do this, though many writers balk at the…

Crime novelist, trained psychologist and USC College Ph.D. graduate Jonathan Kellerman. Photo credit Blake Little Photography.

Reading the Mind

January 27, 2010

Many budding writers would give anything to get inside the heads of best-selling authors to learn their secrets to success. Crime novelist Jonathan Kellerman ’74 can spare them the trouble. As a trained psychologist,…