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Glimpses of History

  • 1880:

    USC College is founded along with the University by a Protestant horticulturist; an Irish-Catholic pharmacist; and a German-Jewish banker. USC opens with 53 students and 10 teachers.

  • 1884:

    The first USC magazine is published, called The College Review.

  • 1885:

    The first chair at USC, The John R. Tansey Chair in Christian Ethics, is established.

  • 1901:

    USC hires its first marine biologist, Albert Ulrey. Today more than 35 faculty study marine biology in the College.

  • 1914:

    A group of international students creates the Cosmopolitan Club to "promote friendship" among students from Asia, Latin America and Europe.

  • 1918:

    Mrs. Amy Winship, girlhood friend of Abraham Lincoln, attends the College (at age 87) and is fondly nicknamed "the oldest co-ed in the world."

  • 1920:

    Construction of the George Finley Bovard Auditorium and Administration Building is complete. It houses 27 classrooms.

  • 1924:

    The Los Angeles University of International Relations is founded to train statesman for consular and diplomatic service. (Today international relations is a department in the College.)

  • 1930:

    The Trojan Shrine is unveiled in celebration of USC's 50th anniversary. With more than 700 foreign students (10 percent of the student body), USC ranks third in the United States in international enrollment.

  • 1938

    The Allan Hancock Foundation for Scientific Research erects a building for study in the allied fields of zoology and botany.

  • 1943:

    One third of the campus enrollment is wearing World War II uniforms. College curriculum is adjusted to a wartime emphasis on fields studied in the College today, such as international relations, history, geography and language.

  • 1950:

    English Professor Frank Baxter is named one of the eight most outstanding College professors in the U.S. by Life magazine. His show "Shakespeare on T.V." receives two Emmy awards.

  • 1964:

    The Ahmanson Center for Biological Research is founded and includes research projects in bacteriology, biology, chemistry, pharmacy and psychology.

  • 1965:

    USC creates a marine lab on Catalina Island, now known as the Wrigley Marine Science Center.

  • 1969:

    USC is elected to the Association of American Universities. Member universities are considered to be preeminent in the fields of graduate and professional research and study.

  • 1969:

    Alumnus Neil Armstrong is the first man on the moon.

  • 1972:

    USC College's Joint Academic Project (JEP) - one of the oldest service-learning programs in the United States is launched.

  • 1972:

    College scientists develop a photometer that collects atmospheric data that is transmitted back to earth via radio signal. It is the first direct study of Jupiter's atmosphere.

  • 1975:

    The undergraduate honors program Thematic Option begins after USC receives a $750,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Twenty years later, the program is listed in the Yale Guide as one of the best honors programs in the nation.

  • 1986:

    The 100,000 volume Korean Heritage Library opens with help from the East Asian Studies Center.

  • 1987:

    A program in neural informatics and behavioral sciences begins in the College and includes 22 departments and 90 faculty members.

  • 1994:

    Chemistry Professor George Olah is the sole winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research in the field of hydrocarbons - which has practical applications in producing cleaner burning fuels.

  • 1996:

    A grant by the James Irvine Foundation establishes The Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC). Today, CRCC is a leader in studying the civic role of religion in Southern California.

  • 1997:

    USC collaborates with UCLA, UC Berkeley and Caltech to establish the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). From its modest beginnings, the group has grown into a consortium of 36 leading universities from 16 economies around the Pacific Rim, contributing to the economic, scientific and cultural advancement of Pacific Rim economies.

  • 2000:

    USC is named College of the Year by Time magazine.

  • 2003:

    The College breaks ground on a Molecular and Computational Biology Building. The 125,000 square foot structure will bring powerful technologies to three highly successful life sciences programs, including bioinformatics, molecular and computational biology and experimental genomics.

  • 2003:

    The USC Center of Excellence in Genomic Science is formed with $18.7 million in grants from NIH. Housed in the College, the center will play a leading role in studying human genetic variation data that can help identify the causes of diseases and explain differences in the way people respond to treatments.

  • 2004:

    The College celebrated the opening of the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center on Sept. 7. The center enables scientists to capture images of the human brain and its activity in remarkable detail.

  • 2005:

    USC College launched the Tradition & Innovation initiative that aimed to meet intensified competition for the best students and faculty and generate $400 million in new funding.
  • 2006:

    The Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation became part of USC College, and the foundation's name was changed to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

  • 2007:

    USC College announced the creation of the USC Norman Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, made possible by a gift from Norman Levan, USC alumnus and professor emeritus and former chief of dermatology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

  • 2009:

    USC College partnered with the Los Angeles Times to create the University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll project, a series of six statewide public opinion polls that began Nov. 8, 2009, and continued throughout California’s 2010 elections for governor and U.S. Senate.

  • 2010:

    Katrina J. Edwards, professor of biological sciences and earth sciences in the College, was awarded a $25 million NSF grant to establish a new science and technology center: the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI).

  • 2011:

    Dana and David Dornsife gave $200 million to USC and name USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. On March 23, 2011, the heart of the university was named the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

  • 2013:

    Distinguished Professor Arieh Warshel receives the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry as part of a three-person research team for developing computer models to understand and predict chemical processes.

Glimpses of History