George J. Sanchez, professor of American Studies & Ethnicity and History, was appointed Director of College Diversity in April 2008. He is responsible for ensuring that the USC College fundamental commitment to the benefits of a diverse College community is effectively translated into best practices in areas such as faculty recruitment and retention, graduate student programs, and undergraduate research experiences and advancement. He works with all College departments to address what the commitment to diversity means in various disciplinary settings. To ensure the College efforts have an impact beyond the immediate community, he works with a variety of national organizations and foundations on the development of special programs and research agendas. Given the importance of this work and the breadth of these responsibilities, he reports directly to the Dean of the College.
An award-winning scholar of Chicano history and immigration who joined the College faculty in 1997, Sanchez is director of the USC Center for Diversity and Democracy. He is the former director of American studies and ethnicity, a program he helped build into one of the top American and ethnic studies departments in the nation. Sanchez helped bring to USC a $3.6 million James Irvine Foundation grant supporting underrepresented doctoral students when he was director of the Irvine Fellowship Program. A renowned mentor, he has served on the advisory board for both the USC Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program and the McNair Scholars Program. He has placed thirteen former Ph.D. students in tenure-track positions throughout the United States. A former president of the American Studies Association, he now chairs its Committee on Graduate Education. Sanchez also serves on minority scholars committees of the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association.
Sanchez’s 1993 book, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945 (Oxford), earned six awards in fields such as immigration history and Western history. His article “ ‘What’s Good for Boyle Heights is Good for the Jews’: Creating Multiracialism on the Eastside During the 1950s” won the 2005 Constance Rourke Prize for best article appearing in American Quarterly. He is also series co-editor of American Crossroads: New Works in Ethnic Studies from University of California Press, which has published twenty-five works in that field over the past decade, many that have won major scholarly awards in a variety of disciplines. He is presently working on a book about the impact of Mexican migration upon late 20th century Los Angeles culture, and a historical study of multiethnic interaction in East Los Angeles. Sanchez received his bachelor’s from Harvard in 1981 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1989. Before USC he taught at UCLA and the University of Michigan.