Tribute, USC Center for the Political Future
Dr. Berg joined the University of Southern California’s Department of Political Science in 1969 and co-founded the USC Institute of Politics and Government in 1978, now known as the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.
Dr. Berg’s commitment to students and learning was widely admired. His leadership laid the foundation for the political internships, conferences and panel discussions that make up the Unruh Institute today.
Over the years, Dr. Berg’s foresight benefited thousands of students, many of whom have gone on to careers in politics, government, and public service. During his time at USC, Dr. Berg was known as an expert on California’s initiative process as well as for publishing numerous works on the financing of judicial political campaigns in California.
His tenure in politics includes a variety of influential roles: he served as a Board member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), as a Robert F. Kennedy delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and as an advisor to Senator Edmund S. Muskie (D – ME), the author of the Federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
In 2014, the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC began offering an annual award for a student or students who have demonstrated a strong interest in public service through their academic work, political involvement, and civic engagement.
The Dr. Larry Berg Award for Political Leadership provides students with financial support to work for an elected official or cause of their choice. The Award continues Dr. Berg’s legacy of engaging students in public service.