Los Angeles is the most vibrant and diverse city in America, bringing together more people from more places than any city in the world. The city is a pulsating nerve center of entertainment, commerce, culture, and ideas. The University of Southern California reads the pulse of its vibrant host city and, in many ways, is a microcosm of the urban giant. Like Los Angeles, USC offers incredible variation, not only bringing together students of diverse backgrounds, but also nurturing a strong community that encourages innovation and debate. USC offers more majors and minors than any university in the country. Disciplines intersect across campus, giving birth to many interdisciplinary programs. Each contributes to the culture of the school, making USC a melting pot of theories and principles. Coupled with low student-to-faculty ratios, small class sizes, hundreds of student organizations, and cuttingedge research facilities, USC offers the international presence that is expected of a top-tier, private research university.
Los Angeles is perhaps best known as the entertainment capital of the world, and USC contributes to that reputation. USC has a long-running commitment to nurturing growth in culture and the arts. USC offers nationally renowned cinema, theater, and music programs. These schools have trained Academy Award-winning directors, Broadway performers, and award-winning writers. USC has the only college band to have ever recorded a platinum selling album.
While often recognized for its programs in the arts, the arts programs are simply one of many outstanding offerings of the university. USC has a strong scientific research community, one of the top in the country in terms of research dollars awarded each year. Moreover, USC has forged innovative programs, encouraging undergraduate research through faculty-student collaborations. The business programs are equally well known, and USC has developed a national reputation for encouraging entrepreneurship. Likewise, USC has developed programs that combine new technology with new forms of communication, and is a national leader in multimedia and video gaming.
Despite the great academic opportunities offered by the university, USC is not just about classroom life. USC was named Time Magazine’s “College of the Year” in 2000, because more than half of the student body participate in volunteer programs that help the surrounding Los Angeles community. The city and the school have developed a mutually beneficial give-andtake relationship.
And, of course, let’s not forget sports. Like the rest of Los Angeles, known for its many sports teams with strong fan bases, USC has a strong athletic tradition. USC has produced more Olympic athletes than any other university in the country, and USC consistently has nationally ranked sports teams. The cardinal-and-gold-colored blood runs thick in the veins of proud alumni who frequent the campus to cheer on their Trojan athletes. USC is a university that is innovative and forward-looking, bringing its students the best resources to help them become tomorrow’s leaders. Yet, as the university has developed and expanded since its founding in 1880, its foundation has remained untouched. At the core of USC stands a united family—the Trojan Family.
The extended family of USC is a global network made up of thousands of alumni, students, faculty, and staff, as well as the parents of students, children, and grandchildren of alumni, the Board of Trustees, the boards of councilors, donors, athletic fans, and neighborhood partners. Indeed, no university is better known for the vastness of support that its alumni and affiliates provide far beyond the campus gates. The uniqueness of the Trojan Family isn’t due to its large numbers. Rather, it’s the extraordinary closeness and solidarity that is found in this genuinely supportive community. To its members, the term “Trojan Family” is more than a phrase—It represents a promise, a commitment to support that is lifelong and worldwide.
Perhaps it is a cliché, but the four years that constitute an undergraduate education are often the most transformative in a person’s life. College is time for learning, growing, changing, and reaching.
When I went to college, I was sure I wanted to be a doctor. Once there, I found USC’s premedical training programs to be superb, and my science classes taught me much of what I would need to know in order to pursue my goal. Yet, the classes were just the beginning. Through a hospital and clinical internship program, I got to experience what it would be like to be a doctor, spending time in the hospital, working with patients, and observing surgeries. Then, through another program, I had the opportunity to do original research in a world-class biomedical research lab. While I very much enjoyed the experiences in these programs, ironically it was precisely these programs that helped me to realize that I did not want to be a doctor. Since I was a child I had imagined myself in medicine, however, when I experienced it up close, I realized it was not for me. Yet, I was only able to learn this about myself, by having such rich and complete experiences in medicine, the kinds of experiences that few places offer undergraduates. Most students have to wait until medical school to find out if they really will enjoy medicine or not.
The change in my perspective largely came from exposure to the abundance of other opportunities available at USC. Things suddenly became interesting to me that I could never have imagined as a high school senior, simply because I did not know that such opportunities were available and viable. Classes in leadership and entrepreneurship opened a whole new perspective of the world to me. Meeting and actually talking to such leaders as former Massachesetts governor Michael Dukakis, former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan, businessman Eli Broad, and director Robert Zemeckis helped me gain a perspective on how I myself thought about leadership. Working with professors in business classes who were not simply theorists, but practitioners, helped bring the business world alive.
When I think about the transformations I went through at USC, those transformations were not just intellectual, but personal and social as well. When I think of the close friendships I developed at USC, I marvel at their diversity. My close friends included a video-game journalist who was syndicated in many languages, an all-American volleyball player, a keyboard player in the jazz band, a first-generation Indian immigrant, an aspiring orthodox rabbi, a cinema student who had traveled the world, and others who, like me, had grown up in several different countries. Our backgrounds were incredibly diverse, as were our interests. USC fostered an environment where we could learn from each other and enjoy each other, where we came to see our very diversity as a gift in itself.
Each student’s journey through USC is different. Some students come to USC and find that the goals they had in high school are the goals they do pursue, with USC providing a rich and complex background for them to do it. Others, like me, discover that our goals change in response to the abundant intellectual and social opportunities USC affords. USC offers many paths, all of them potentially rewarding.
At USC, I learned that I could make a difference. USC’s emphasis on community service motivated me to volunteer to organize youth sports leagues in disadvantaged neighborhoods. It was amazing to watch. First, there were a few kids who turned up, then more came. Finally, parents and neighbors came to cheer on the teams. It was wonderful to see people coming together, supporting the kids in their communities, and working to build something special.
USC gives its students the world. The university offers a broad selection of highly regarded academic programs taught by world-renowned faculty dedicated to undergraduate education. The student body is one of the most active in the country, with thriving on-campus organizations, a strong involvement in community service, and a broad array of social events. The sports programs are second to none—all in the most vibrant city in the world. Most importantly, once you enter USC you become part of the USC family, a network of friends and support that extend across the world, shaping you and supporting you not only in your college years, but for the rest of your life. The Trojan Family extends its arms to you. Fight On!