University of Southern California

University of Southern California
Motto Latin: Palmam qui meruit ferat
Motto in English
Let whoever earns the palm bear it
Type Private
Established October 6, 1880 (1880-10-06)
Endowment $4.6 billion (2016)[1]
Budget $4.4 billion (2016)[1]
President C. L. Max Nikias
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 42,469[3]
Undergraduates 18,740[3]
Postgraduates 23,729[3]
Location Los Angeles, California
Campus Urban
308 acres (1.25 km2)[4]
Colors Cardinal and gold[5]
Athletics NCAA Division I FBSPac-12
ACHA (ice hockey), MPSF
Nickname Trojans
Men/Women of Troy
Mascot Traveler[6]
Affiliations AAU
APRU Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs

The University of Southern California (USC[a] or SC) is a private research university founded in 1880 with its main campus in Los Angeles, California. As California's oldest private research university,[8] USC has historically educated a large number of the region's business leaders and professionals. In recent decades, the university has also leveraged its location in Los Angeles to establish relationships with research and cultural institutions throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. An engine for economic activity, USC contributes approximately $5 billion annually to the economy of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.[9]

For the 2014–15 academic year, there were 18,740 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs.[3] USC also has 23,729 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, and medicine.[3] The university is one of the top fundraising institutions in the world, consistently ranking among the top 3 in external contributions and alumni giving rates.[10][11][12] Multiple academic rankings list the University of Southern California as being among the top 25 universities in the United States.[13][14][15][16][17][18] With an acceptance rate of 16 percent, USC is also among the most selective academic institutions in the nation.[19]

USC maintains a strong tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship, with alumni having founded companies such as Lucasfilm, Myspace,, Intuit, Qualcomm, Box, Tinder, and Riot Games.[20] As of 2014, the university has produced the fourth largest number of billionaire alumni out of all undergraduate institutions in the world.[21]

USC is home to the world’s most powerful quantum computer, which is presently housed in a super-cooled, magnetically shielded facility at the USC Information Sciences Institute.[22][23] The only other commercially available quantum computing system is operated jointly by NASA and Google. USC was also one of the earliest nodes on ARPANET and is the birthplace of the Domain Name System.[24] Other technologies invented at USC include DNA computing, dynamic programming, image compression, VoIP, and antivirus software.[25][26][27][28][29]

USC sponsors a variety of intercollegiate sports and competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Members of the sports teams, the Trojans, have won 102 NCAA team championships, ranking them third in the nation, and 378 NCAA individual championships, ranking them second in the nation.[30] Trojan athletes have won 288 medals at the Olympic games (135 golds, 88 silvers and 65 bronzes), more than any other university in the United States.[31][32] If USC were a country, its athletes would have collectively received the 12th-most Olympic gold medals in history.[31] In 1969, it joined the Association of American Universities.[33]


The Widney Alumni House, the campus's first building

The University of Southern California was founded following the efforts of Judge Robert M. Widney, who helped secure donations from several key figures in early Los Angeles history: a Protestant nurseryman, Ozro Childs, an Irish Catholic former-Governor, John Gately Downey, and a German Jewish banker, Isaias W. Hellman. The three donated 308 lots of land to establish the campus and provided the necessary seed money for the construction of the first buildings. Originally operated in affiliation with the Methodist Church, the school mandated from the start that "no student would be denied admission because of race." The university is no longer affiliated with any church, having severed formal ties in 1952.

When USC opened in 1880, tuition was $15.00 per term and students were not allowed to leave town without the knowledge and consent of the university president. The school had an enrollment of 53 students and a faculty of 10. The city lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones, and a reliable fire alarm system. Its first graduating class in 1884 was a class of three—two males and female valedictorian Minnie C. Miltimore.

The colors of USC are cardinal and gold, which were approved by USC's third president, the Reverend George W. White, in 1896. In 1958 the shade of gold, which was originally more of an orange color, was changed to a more yellow shade. The letterman's awards were the first to make the change.[d]

"Tommy Trojan" is a major symbol of the university, though he is not the mascot.

USC students and athletes are known as Trojans, epitomized by the Trojan Shrine, nicknamed "Tommy Trojan", near the center of campus. Until 1912, USC students (especially athletes) were known as Fighting Methodists or Wesleyans, though neither name was approved by the university. During a fateful track and field meet with Stanford University, the USC team was beaten early and seemingly conclusively. After only the first few events, it seemed implausible that USC would ever win; however, the team fought back, winning many of the later events, to lose only by a slight margin. After this contest, Los Angeles Times sportswriter Owen Bird reported that the USC athletes "fought on like the Trojans of antiquity", and the president of the university at the time, George F. Bovard, approved the name officially.

During World War II, USC was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[34]

USC is responsible for $5 billion in economic output in Los Angeles County; USC students spend $503 million yearly in the local economy and visitors to the campus add another $12 million.[35]

On May 1, 2014, USC was named as one of many higher education institutions under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights for potential Title IX violations by Barack Obama's White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.[36]


The University Park campus is in the University Park district of Los Angeles, 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of Downtown Los Angeles. The campus's boundaries are Jefferson Boulevard on the north and northeast, Figueroa Street on the southeast, Exposition Boulevard on the south, and Vermont Avenue on the west. Since the 1960s, through campus vehicle traffic has been either severely restricted or entirely prohibited on some thoroughfares. The University Park campus is within walking distance to Los Angeles landmarks such as the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, and Los Angeles Coliseum. Most buildings are in the Romanesque Revival style, although some dormitories, engineering buildings, and physical sciences labs are of various Modernist styles (especially two large Brutalist dormitories at the campus's northern edge) that sharply contrast with the predominantly red-brick campus. Widney Alumni House, built in 1880, is the oldest university building in Southern California. In recent years the campus has been renovated to remove the vestiges of old roads and replace them with traditional university quads and gardens. The historic portion of the main campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Zumberge Hall, one of the original buildings on the University Park Campus

Besides its main campus at University Park, USC also operates the Health Sciences Campus about 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast of downtown. In addition, the Children's Hospital Los Angeles is staffed by USC faculty from the Keck School of Medicine and is often referred to as USC's third campus. USC also operates an Orange County center in Irvine for business, pharmacy, social work and education; and the Information Sciences Institute, with centers in Arlington, Virginia and Marina del Rey. For its science students, USC operates the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies located on Catalina Island just 20 miles (32 km) off the coast of Los Angeles and home to the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center.

The School of Policy, Planning, and Development also runs a satellite campus in Sacramento. In 2005, USC established a federal relations office in Washington, D.C. A Health Sciences Alhambra campus holds The Primary Care Physician Assistant Program, the Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research (IPR), and the Masters in Public Health Program.

USC was developed under two master plans drafted and implemented some 40 years apart. The first was prepared by the Parkinsons in 1920, which guided much of the campus's early construction and established its Romanesque style and 45-degree building orientation.

The Von KleinSmid Center of International and Public Affairs, topped by a 5,500 lb (2,500 kg) globe, is the tallest structure on campus.[37] Built under the second master plan, reflected a trend towards modernism.

The second and largest master plan was prepared in 1961 under the supervision of President Norman Topping, campus development director Anthony Lazzaro, and architect William Pereira. This plan annexed a great deal of the surrounding city and many of the older non-university structures within the new boundaries were leveled. Most of the Pereira buildings were constructed in the 1970s. Pereira maintained a predominantly red-brick architecture for the new buildings, but infused them with his trademark techno-modernism stylings. More recently under President C. L. Max Nikias, the architectural orientation of the campus has moved towards a Gothic Revival style, taking cues from the inculative and scholastic styles of Oxford University and Harvard University, while underpinning USC's own historic identity that is present in the red-brick construction.

USC's role in making visible and sustained improvements in the neighborhoods surrounding both the University Park and Health Sciences campuses earned it the distinction of College of the Year 2000 by the Time/Princeton Review College Guide.

Roughly half of the university's students volunteer in community-service programs in neighborhoods around campus and throughout Los Angeles. These outreach programs, as well as previous administrations' commitment to remaining in South Los Angeles amid widespread calls to move the campus following the 1965 Watts Riots, are credited for the safety of the university during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. (That the university emerged from the riots completely unscathed is all the more remarkable in light of the complete destruction of several strip malls in the area, including one just across Vermont Avenue from the campus's western security fence.) The ZIP code for USC is 90089 and the surrounding University Park community is 90007.

The Leavey Library, completed in the mid-1990s, reflected a shift to designs closer to earlier, Romanesque architecture.
Video of Traveler horse statue at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA

USC has an endowment of $5.6 billion and also is allocated $430 million per year in sponsored research. USC became the only university to receive eight separate nine-figure gifts.[38] $120 million from Ambassador Walter Annenberg to create the Annenberg Center for Communication and a later additional gift of $100 million for the USC Annenberg School for Communication; $112.5 million from Alfred Mann to establish the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering; $110 million from the W. M. Keck Foundation for USC's School of Medicine; $150 million from the W. M. Keck Foundation for USC's School of Medicine; $175 million from George Lucas to the USC School of Cinema-Television, now renamed USC School of Cinematic Arts, $200 million from Dana and David Dornsife for USC's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences to support undergraduate and Ph.D. programs and $110 million from John and Julie Mork for undergraduate scholarships.

These and other donations funded numerous new construction projects including:

Major new facilities that are being developed or are under construction include:

University Village

In September 2014, the University began construction on USC Village a 1.25 million square foot residential and retail center directly adjacent to USC’s University Park Campus on 15 acres of land owned by the university.[48] The USC Village will have over 148,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, with student housing located on the four floors above. The $650 million project is the biggest development in the history of USC and is also one of the largest in the history of South Los Angeles. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the USC Village will include a market, drugstore, a fitness center, a Trojan Town USC store, restaurants and outdoor dining, parking, a community room, and housing for 2,700 students.[49]

Public transit

Metro Expo Line light-rail service from Downtown Los Angeles began in 2012 and runs to Santa Monica. The Expo Line has three stations in the vicinity of the USC main campus: Jefferson/USC Station, Expo Park/USC Station, and Vermont/Expo Station.[50] In addition, the USC main campus is served by several Metro bus routes as well as LADOT DASH Route F.[51]

Health Sciences campus

The original Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center

Located three miles (5 km) from downtown Los Angeles and seven miles (11 km) from the University Park campus, USC's Health Sciences campus is a major center for basic and clinical biomedical research in the fields of cancer, gene therapy, the neurosciences, and transplantation biology, among others. The 50-acre (20 ha) campus is home to the region's first and oldest medical and pharmacy schools, as well as acclaimed programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy (which are respectively ranked No. 1 and No. 3 by U.S. News & World Report) and pharmacy. As well, USC physicians serve more than one million patients each year.

In addition to the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, which is one of the nation's largest teaching hospitals, the campus includes three patient care facilities: USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, USC University Hospital, and the USC Eye Institute. USC faculty staffs these and many other hospitals in Southern California, including the internationally acclaimed Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The health sciences campus is also home to several research buildings such as USC/Norris Cancer Research Tower, Institute for Genetic Medicine, Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower and Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.

In July 2013, the University expanded its medical services into the foothill communities of northern Los Angeles when it acquired the 185 bed Verdugo Hills Hospital located in Glendale, California. USC planned on making at least $30 million in capital improvements to the facility, which was officially renamed USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. This 40-year-old hospital provides the community a 24-hour emergency department, primary stroke center, maternity/labor and delivery, cardiac rehabilitation, and imaging and diagnostic services.[52]

Former agricultural college campus

Chaffey College was founded in 1883 in the city of Ontario, California, as an agricultural college branch campus of USC under the name of Chaffey College of Agriculture of the University of Southern California. USC ran the Chaffey College of Agriculture until financial troubles closed the school in 1901. In 1906, the school was reopened by municipal and regional government and officially separated from USC. Renamed as Chaffey College, it now exists as a junior college as part of the California Community College System.

Organization and administration

Bovard Hall, home of USC's central administration, shortly after completion in 1921; the streets later became pedestrian-only

USC is a private corporation controlled by a Board of Trustees composed of 50 voting members and several life trustees, honorary trustees, and trustees emeriti who do not vote. Voting members of the Board of Trustees are elected for five-year terms. One fifth of the Trustees stand for re-election each year, and votes are cast only by the trustees not standing for election. Trustees tend to be high-ranking executives of large corporations (both domestic and international), successful alumni, members of the upper echelons of university administration, or some combination of the three.

The university administration consists of a president, a provost, several vice-presidents of various departments, a treasurer, a chief information officer, and an athletic director. The current president is C. L. Max Nikias. In 2008, Nikias' predecessor, Steven Sample, was one of the highest paid university presidents in the United States with a salary of $1.9 million.[53]

The USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, the Graduate School, and the 17 professional schools are each led by an academic dean. USC occasionally awards emeritus titles to former administrators. There are currently six administrators emeriti.

The University of Southern California's 17 professional schools include the USC Leventhal School of Accounting, USC School of Architecture, USC Marshall School of Business, USC School of Cinematic Arts, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, USC Rossier School of Education, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, USC Roski School of Fine Arts and Design, USC Davis School of Gerontology, USC Gould School of Law, Keck School of Medicine of USC, USC Thornton School of Music, USC School of Pharmacy, USC Price School of Public Policy, USC School of Social Work, and USC School of Theatre.

Student government

USC Gwynn Wilson Student Union

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) makes decisions representing the undergraduate students of the university. It consists of an appointed executive leadership board, popularly elected legislative branch, and judicial oversight, along with a programming board (commonly referred to as "Program Board"). All USG activities are funded by the student activity fee, which the Treasurer has control over setting and that the Senate approves. In addition to USG, residents within university housing are represented and governed by the Residential Student Government (RSG), which is divided by residence hall. The Graduate Student Government (GSG) consists of senators elected by the students of each school proportional to its enrollment and its activities are funded by a graduate and professional student activity fee.

List of university presidents

  1. Marion M. Bovard (1880–1891)
  2. Joseph P. Widney (1892–1895)
  3. George W. White (1895–1899)
  4. George F. Bovard (1903–1921)
  5. Rufus B. von KleinSmid (1921–1947)
  6. Fred D. Fagg, Jr. (1947–1957)
  7. Norman Topping (1958–1970)
  8. John R. Hubbard (1970–1980)
  9. James H. Zumberge (1980–1991)
  10. Steven B. Sample (1991–2010)
  11. C. L. Max Nikias (2010–present)

Department of Public Safety

The USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) is one of the largest campus public safety departments in the United States employing 306 full-time personnel and 30 part-time student workers. DPS’s patrol and response area includes a 2.5 mile radius around USC's main campus.[54] The Department of Public Safety headquarters is located on the University Park campus, and there is a substation on the Health Sciences campus. The department operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Department has a working relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). A special joint USC/LAPD crime task force composed of USC DPS personnel and approximately 40 selected Los Angeles police officers is assigned exclusively to the USC campus community to address crime and quality of life issues. The University Park Task Force (UPTF) utilizes crime-related intelligence and data and crime analysis to more effectively deal with crime impacting the USC Community.

There are a total of 116 armed officers who provide services to the two campuses. The Department’s Public Safety Officers (PSOs) are police academy graduates who must pass an extensive screening process and background check before they are hired.

DPS also has 151 un-armed Community Service Officers (CSOs) who complement the services provided by the Public Safety Officers.

The Department’s 24-hour communications center coordinates and supports the activities of field personnel. Nineteen Public Safety Communication Operators coordinate communication among the campus community and the officers who are providing services in the field. The communications center also provides dispatch services for USC’s Transportation Services and monitors several other radio frequencies, including the LAPD officers assigned to the area.

DPS employs part-time student workers in its Trojan Student Officer Program. They are responsible for promoting bicycle safety, enforcing campus bicycle regulations, and deterring bicycle theft. They also supplement bookstore security, perform administrative duties, and offer an added security presence by patrolling parking lots and university residential complexes.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the LAPD, the DPS Officers have limited arrest authority on and around the USC campuses. The primary responsibility of DPS is the protection of the University community. The statutory authority for the existence of the USC Department of Public Safety, patrol and response boundaries, authority to carry firearms, and powers of arrest are derived from the MOU, the California Penal and Educational Codes, and the Bureau of Investigation and Security Services section of the California Business and Profession Code. The MOU with LAPD allows the DPS Officers to exercise arrest powers described in Penal Code Section 830.7(b). All arrests must be conducted in accordance with guidelines outlined by the MOU, and all arrestees without unnecessary delay, must be delivered to LAPD.[55] In accordance with the MOU the LAPD explicitly recognize under section 801 of its operations procedures manual that USC's DPS is an outside agency and that "Officers of outside agencies are police officers while on‑duty and may make arrests, conduct investigations, and complete reports involving routine criminal matters as necessary to protect property designated as the concerned agency's responsibility."[56]


The Law School building is one of the handful of examples of Brutalist architecture on the main campus.

USC is a large, primarily residential research university.[57] The majority of the student body was undergraduate until 2007, when graduate student enrollment began to exceed undergraduate.[58] The four-year, full-time undergraduate instructional program is classified as "balanced arts & sciences/professions" with a high graduate coexistence. Admissions are characterized as "most selective, lower transfer in"; 95 undergraduate majors and 147 academic and professional minors are offered.[57][59] The graduate program is classified as "comprehensive" and offers 134 master's, doctoral, and professional degrees through 17 professional schools.[57][59] USC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[59] The university was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1969.[60] USC's academic departments fall either under the general liberal arts and sciences of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences for undergraduates, the Graduate School for graduates, or the university's 18 professional schools.[61]

USC presently has five Nobel Laureates on staff,[62] eight Rhodes Scholars,[63] three MacArthur Fellows,[64] 181 Fulbright Scholars,[65] one Turing Award winner,[66] three winners of the National Medal of Arts, one winner of the National Humanities Medal, three winners of the National Medal of Science, and three winners of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation among its alumni and faculty.[67] In addition to its academic awards, USC has produced the most Oscar winners out of any institution in the world by a significant margin.[68][69]

Mudd Hall of Philosophy

The USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, the oldest and largest of the USC schools, grants undergraduate degrees in more than 130 majors and minors across the humanities, social sciences, and natural/physical sciences, and offers doctoral and masters programs in more than 20 fields.[70] Dornsife College is responsible for the general education program for all USC undergraduates, and houses a full-time faculty of approximately 700, more than 6500 undergraduate majors (roughly half the total USC undergraduate population), and 1200 doctoral students. In addition to 30 academic departments, the College also houses dozens of research centers and institutes. In the 2008–2009 academic year, 4,400 undergraduate degrees and 5,500 advanced degrees were awarded. Formerly called "USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences", the College received a $200 million gift from USC trustees Dana and David Dornsife on March 23, 2011, after which the College was renamed in their honor, following the naming pattern of other professional schools and departments at the University.[71] All Ph.D. degrees awarded at USC and most master's degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School.[72] Professional degrees are awarded by each of the respective professional schools.

School of Cinematic Arts.

The School of Cinematic Arts, the oldest and largest film school in the country, confers degrees in six different programs.[73][74] As the university administration considered cinematic skills too valuable to be kept to film industry professionals, the school opened its classes to the university at large in 1998.[75] In 2001, the film school added an Interactive Media & Games Division studying stereoscopic cinema, panoramic cinema, immersive cinema, interactive cinema, video games, virtual reality, and mobile media. In September 2006, George Lucas donated $175 million to expand the film school, which at the time was the largest single donation to USC (and its fifth over $100 million). The donation will be used to build new structures and expand the faculty.[76] The acceptance rate to the School of Cinematic Arts has consistently remained between 4-6% for the past several years.

The USC School of Architecture was established in 1916, the first in Southern California. From at least 1972 to 1976, and likely for a number of years prior to 1972, it was called The School of Architecture and Fine Art. The School of Fine Art (known as SOFA for a number of years after Architecture and Fine Art separated) was eventually named the Roski School of Fine Arts in 2006 during a ceremony to open, the then, new Masters of Fine Art building occupying the previous and completely refurbished, Lucky Blue Jean factory. This small department grew rapidly with the help of the Allied Architects of Los Angeles. A separate School of Architecture was organized in September 1925. The school has been home to teachers such as Richard Neutra, Ralph Knowles, James Steele, A. Quincy Jones, William Pereira and Pierre Koenig. The school of architecture also claims notable alumni Frank Gehry, Jon Jerde, Thom Mayne, Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, and Pierre Koenig. Two of the alumni have become Pritzker Prize winners. In 2006, Qingyun Ma, a distinguished Shanghai-based architect, was named dean of the school.[77]

The USC Thornton School of Music is one of the most highly regarded music schools in the United States. The training at the Thornton School frequently draws graduate students from such institutions including Juilliard, Oberlin College, Rice, and the Eastman School of Music; and graduates of the Thornton School often go on to study at these and other institutions, such as the Colburn School, the Curtis Institute of Music, or the Manhattan School of Music. The most active source of live music in all of Los Angeles, the Thornton School offers everything from medieval music to current music. In addition to the departments of classical music, there is a department for popular music and even a department of early music, making USC's music school one of the few in the United States that offers specialized degrees in pre-classical music.

The Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering is headed by Dean Yannis Yortsos. Previously known as the USC School of Engineering, it was renamed on March 2, 2004, in honor of Qualcomm co-founder Andrew Viterbi and his wife Erna, who had donated $52 million to the school. Viterbi School of Engineering was ranked No. 9 in the United States in U.S. News & World Report's engineering rankings for 2013-14.

The Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

The Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, founded in 1971, is one of the two communication programs in the country endowed by Walter Annenberg (the other is at the University of Pennsylvania). The School of Journalism, which became part of the School for Communication in 1994,[78] features a core curriculum that requires students to devote themselves equally to print, broadcast and online media for the first year of study. The journalism school consistently ranks among the nation's top undergraduate journalism schools.[79] USC's Annenberg School's endowment rose from $7.5 million to $218 million between 1996 and 2007.[80] In 2015, the new building named for Wallis Annenberg started serving all faculty and students.

The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California was established in 1897 as The College of Dentistry, and today awards undergraduate and graduate degrees. Headed by Dean Avishai Sadan, D.M.D., the school traditionally has maintained five Divisions: Academic Affairs & Student Life, Clinical Affairs, Continuing Education, Research, and Community Health Programs and Hospital Affairs. In 2006, the USC Department of Physical Therapy and Biokinesiology, and the USC Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, which both had previously been organized as "Independent Health Professions" programs at USC's College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, were administratively aligned under the School of Dentistry and renamed "Divisions," bringing the total number of Divisions at the School of Dentistry to seven. In 2010, alumnus Herman Ostrow donated $35 million to name the school the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry. In 2013 the school introduced an eighth division, and in 2014 a $20 million gift endowed and named the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

USC collaborated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to offer the USC (Executive) EMBA program in Shanghai. USC also operates two international study centers in Paris and Madrid. The Marshall School of Business has satellite campuses in Orange County and San Diego.

In May 2006, USC's Board of Trustees and administration traveled to China. to announce the establishment of the USC U.S.-China Institute (USCI). USCI focuses on the multidimensional and evolving U.S–China relationship and trends in China. USCI has funded research into a variety of topics including the history of U.S.–China diplomatic exchanges, aging, property rights, environmental challenges, agricultural policy, new media, migration, and technology exchange. The Institute produced the highly regarded Assignment:China[81] documentary series on American media coverage of China from the 1940s to today. It also publishes two magazines, US-China Today' and Asia Pacific Arts.

In 2012, USC established the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, the university's first new school in 40 years,[82] which was a gift from philanthropist Glorya Kaufman.[82] The USC Kaufman School currently offers individual classes in technique, performance, choreography, production, theory and history that are open to all students at USC.[83] Beginning in the fall of 2015, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree to a select number of undergraduates who wish to pursue dance as their major.[83] This four-year professional degree will be housed in the state-of-the-art Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center, which is now under construction.[83]

University library system

The first true library was housed in the College of Liberal Arts Building ("Old College"), which opened in 1887 and was designed to hold the entire USC College student body—55 students. Two wings were added to the original building in 1905.

The USC Libraries are among the oldest private academic research libraries in California. For more than a century USC has been building collections in support of the university's teaching and research interests. Especially noteworthy collections include American literature, Cinema-Television including the Warner Bros. studio archives, European philosophy, gerontology, German exile literature, international relations, Korean studies, studies of Latin America, natural history, Southern California history, and the University Archives.[84]

The USC Warner Bros. Archives is the largest single studio collection in the world. Donated in 1977 to the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, by Warner Communications, the WBA houses departmental records that detail Warner Bros. activities from the studio's first major feature, My Four Years in Germany (1918), to its sale to Seven Arts in 1968.

Announced in June 2006, the testimonies of 52,000 survivors, rescuers and others involved in the Holocaust is housed in the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences as a part of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.[85]

In addition to the Shoah Foundation, the USC Libraries digital collection highlights include photographs from the California Historical Society, Korean American Archives Automobile Club of Southern California, and the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California. The USC Digital Library[86] provides a wealth of primary and original source material in a variety of formats.

In October 2010, the collections at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, the largest repository for documents from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the world, became a part of the USC Libraries system.[87] The collections at ONE include over two million archival items documenting LGBT history including periodicals; books; film, video and audio recordings; photographs; artworks; ephemera, such clothing, costumes, and buttons; organizational records; and personal paper.

USC's 22 libraries and other archives currently hold nearly 4 million printed volumes, 6 million items in microform, and 3 million photographs and subscribe to more than 30,000 current serial titles, nearly 44,000 feet (13,000 m) of manuscripts and archives, and subscribe to over 120 electronic databases and more than 14,000 journals in print and electronic formats. Annually, reference transactions number close to 50,000 and approximately 1,100 instructional presentations are made to 16,000 participants.[88] The University of Southern California Library system is among the top 35 largest university library systems in the United States.[89]

The Leavey Library is the undergraduate library and is open 24 hours a day. The newly open basement has many discussion tables for students to share thoughts and have group discussions. The Edward L. Doheny, Jr. Memorial Library is the main research library on campus


University rankings
ARWU[90] 31
Forbes[91] 65
U.S. News & World Report[92] 23
Washington Monthly[93] 46
ARWU[94] 49
QS[95] 136
Times[96] 60
U.S. News & World Report[97] 53

USC was ranked 23rd in U.S. News & World Report's 2017 annual ranking of national universities.[98] In the Niche Best Colleges rankings, USC ranked 10th overall for 2016 based on academics and quality of student life.[14] USC is ranked 31st among national universities in the U.S. and 49th in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 13th (tied with seven other universities) among national universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance.[15] In 2015, USA Today ranked USC 22nd overall for American universities based on data from College Factual.[16] Among top 25 universities, USC was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as having the 4th most economically diverse student body.[99] Reuters ranked USC as the 14th most innovative university in the world in 2015, as measured by the university's global commercial impact and patents granted.[100] USC was ranked 15th overall in the 2016 inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking of U.S. colleges.[101]

USC is ranked as a "Top 10 Dream College" for both parents and students according to The Princeton Review, as conferred from a survey of 10,000 respondents. Alongside Stanford University, Harvard College, Princeton University, NYU and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USC is one of few universities to appear in the top 10 list for both parents and students.[102]

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism was ranked 1st in 2014 by USA Today.[103] In its 2016 rankings, U.S. News & World Report rates USC's School of Law as 19th, the Marshall School of Business tied for 10th in undergraduate education with the USC Leventhal School of Accounting 6th, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies 3rd, and the MBA program tied for 25th; the Keck School of Medicine of USC was ranked tied for 31st in research and tied for 72nd in primary care.[98] U.S. News & World Report in 2016 further ranked the Viterbi School of Engineering tied for 10th, the Rossier School of Education 15th, the Roski School of Fine Arts graduate program 36th, the Sol Price School of Public Policy 4th, the USC School of Social Work 11th, and the USC School of Pharmacy tied for 9th.[98] USC's graduate programs in physical therapy and occupational therapy are ranked the nation's 1st and 3rd best programs, respectively, for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report.[98] The USC School of Architecture was ranked 5th in 2014.[104] The Philosophical Gourmet Report in 2015 ranked USC's graduate philosophy program as 8th nationally.[105]

The Hollywood Reporter ranked the School of Cinematic Arts the No. 1 film school in the United States for the third year in a row in 2014.[106] In addition, USA Today ranked the School of Cinematic Arts the No. 1 film school in the United States in 2014. The program's range of classes, facilities, and close proximity to the industry were the primary reasons for this ranking.[107]

USA Today ranked the USC Marshall School of Business as the No. 3 school to study undergraduate business in the nation, as of 2015.[108] In 2015, Forbes ranked the USC Marshall School of Business 3rd in the nation in producing graduates who are most satisfied with their jobs.[109]

The Princeton Review ranked USC video game design program as 1st out of 150 schools in North America.[110] The university's video game design programs are interdisciplinary, involving the Interactive Media & Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts and the CS Games program in the Department of Computer Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.[111]

The Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2015 ranked USC's combined departments of engineering and computer sciences as 10th in the world, social sciences 31st, and economics and business departments 29th.[112]

Student body

Ethnic composition of student body - Fall 2015[113]
Undergraduate[114] Overall U.S. Census[115]
Non-Hispanic White 40% 34% 63.0%
Black 7% 5% 13.1%
Asian 22% 18% 5.1%
Hispanic (of any race) 13% 13% 16.9%
Other races/ethnicities 2% 7% 1.2%
International 15% 24% (N/A)

USC has a total enrollment of roughly 43,000 students, of which 19,000 are at the undergraduate and 24,000 at the graduate and professional levels.[58] Approximately 53% of students are female and 47% are male. For the entering first-year class, 43% of incoming students are drawn from California, 42% from the rest of the United States, and 15% from abroad.[116] USC's student body encompasses 12,300 international students, the second most out of all universities in the United States.[117] Of the regularly enrolled international students, the most represented countries are China, India, South Korea, and Taiwan, in that order.

Like other private universities, the nominal cost of attendance is high, however the university's large endowment and significant revenue streams allow it to offer generous financial aid packages.[118] Additionally, USC is one of the highest ranked universities to offer half-tuition and full-tuition merit-based scholarships.[119] These factors have propelled USC into being the 4th most economically diverse university in the nation.[120]

Twenty percent of admitted and attending students are SCions, or students with familial ties to USC, while 14 percent are the first generation in their family to attend any form of college. Twenty-four percent of undergraduates at USC are Pell Grant-eligible, which is defined by having come from a family household income of less than $50,000.[121] There are approximately 375,000 living Trojan alumni.[122]


First-time first-year profile[123][124][125][126][127][128][129]
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
First-year applications 54,282 51,925 51,920 47,358 46,104 37,210
Admitted 9,023 9,181 9,358 9,395 9,187 8,566
% Admitted 16.6 17.7 17.8 19.8 19.9 23.0
Enrolled 3,068 2,949 3,098 2,922 3,021 2,931
Average GPA 3.88 3.82 3.82 3.81 3.80 3.72
Average SAT
(out of 2400)
2155 2090 2075 2075 2070 2075

More than 54,000 students applied for admission to the undergraduate class of 2020, with 9,023 being admitted (16.6%).[130] Among admitted students, the interquartile range for SAT composite scores was 2040 – 2270 and the average unweighted GPA was 3.88.[130] Thirty-one percent of the accepted students in 2016 had perfect GPAs of 4.0 and 41 percent scored in the 99 percentile on standardized tests.[131] There were also 211 National Merit Scholar winners in the enrolled class.[130] USC ranks among the top five schools in the nation in terms of its enrollment of National Merit Scholars.[132] USC was ranked the 10th most applied to university in the nation for fall 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.[133]

Faculty and research

The Eileen L. Norris Cinema Theatre, where the THX sound system was first developed and installed by Tomlinson Holman.[134]

The university has a "very high" level of research activity and received $687 million in sponsored research from 2014 to 2015.[135]

USC employs approximately 3,249 full-time faculty, 1,486 part-time faculty, and about 10,744 staff members.[2] 350 postdoctoral fellows are supported along with over 800 medical residents.[136] Among the USC faculty, 15 are members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 are members of the Institute of Medicine, 34 are members of the National Academy of Engineering, 92 are members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and 32 are members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[137][138] 6 to the American Philosophical Society,[139] and 9 to the National Academy of Public Administration.[139] 29 USC faculty are listed as among the "Highly Cited" in the Institute for Scientific Information database.[140] George Olah won the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry[141] and was the founding director of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute. Leonard Adleman won the Turing Award in 2003.[142] Arieh Warshel won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry[143]

The university also supports the Pacific Council on International Policy through joint programming, leadership collaboration, and facilitated connections among students, faculty, and Pacific Council members.[144]

The university has two National Science Foundation–funded Engineering Research Centers: the Integrated Media Systems Center and the Center for Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems. [145] The Department of Homeland Security selected USC as its first Homeland Security Center of Excellence. Since 1991, USC has been the headquarters of the NSF and USGS funded Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). The University of Southern California is a founding and charter member of CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, the nonprofit organization, which provides extremely high-performance Internet-based networking to California's K-20 research and education community. USC researcher Jonathan Postel was an editor of communications-protocol for the fledgling internet, also known as ARPANET.[146]

Notable USC faculty include or have included the following: Leonard Adleman, Richard Bellman, Aimee Bender, Barry Boehm, Warren Bennis, Todd Boyd, T.C. Boyle, Leo Buscaglia, Drew Casper, Manuel Castells, Erwin Chemerinsky, George V. Chilingar, Thomas Crow, António Damásio, Francis De Erdely, Percival Everett, Murray Gell-Mann, Seymour Ginsburg, G. Thomas Goodnight, Jane Goodall, Solomon Golomb, Midori Goto, Susan Estrich, Janet Fitch, Tomlinson Holman, Jascha Heifetz, Henry Jenkins, Thomas H. Jordan, Mark Kac, Pierre Koenig, Neil Leach, Leonard Maltin, Daniel L. McFadden, Viet Thanh Nguyen, George Olah, Scott Page, Simon Ramo, Claudia Rankine, Irving Reed, Michael Waterman, Frank Gehry, Arieh Warshel, Lloyd Welch, Jonathan Taplin and Diane Winston.


Main article: USC Trojans
The Galen Center, home of USC basketball and volleyball

The USC Trojans participate in Division I FBS of the NCAA as a member of the Pac-12 Conference and have won 123 total team national championships, 97 for men and 26 for women, including non-NCAA championships. Of this total, 80 and 14 are NCAA National Championships for men and women, respectively. The NCAA does not include college football championships in its calculation. Though there are multiple organizations that name national championships, USC claims 11 football championships. The men's 361 Individual Championships are the second-best in the nation and 53 ahead of third place, Texas Longhorns. USC's cross-town rival is the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), with whom there is fierce athletic and scholastic competition. USC's rivalry with University of Notre Dame predates the UCLA rivalry by three years. The Notre Dame rivalry stems mainly from the annual football game played between these two universities and is considered one of the greatest rivalries in college athletics.[147]

USC has won 102 NCAA team championships, 3rd behind cross-town rival UCLA (113) and Stanford (109).[148] The Trojans have also won at least one national team title in 26 consecutive years (1959–60 to 1984–85). USC won the National College All-Sports Championship, an annual ranking by USA Today of the country's top athletic programs, 6 times since its inception in 1971. Four Trojans have won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in America: diver Sammy Lee (1953), shot putter Parry O'Brien (1959), swimmer John Naber (1977) and swimmer Janet Evans (1989).

From the 1904 Summer Olympics through the 2014 Winter Olympics, 632 Trojan athletes have competed in the Games, taking home 135 gold medals, 88 silver and 65 bronze.[59] If it were an independent country, USC would be ranked 12th in the world in terms of medals.[31] Since 1912, USC is the only university in the world to have a gold medal-winning athlete in every summer Olympiad.[59]

Men's sports

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during a USC football game

In men's sports, USC has won 97 team national championships (84 NCAA titles) - more than any other school - and male athletes have won a record 303 individual NCAA titles. The Trojans have won 26 championships in track and field, 21 in tennis, 12 in baseball, 9 in swimming and diving, 9 in water polo, 6 in volleyball, 2 in indoor track and field, and 1 in gymnastics.[c] USC's men's basketball has appeared in the NCAA tournament 15 times, and made 2 NCAA Final Four appearances.

The USC football program has historically ranked among the best in Division I FBS. The Trojans football team has won 11 national championships.[149] Seven players have won the Heisman Trophy, although the school claims six, after alleged violations involving Reggie Bush. As of 2011, 472 Trojans have been taken in the NFL draft, more than any other university.[150]

For the 2015 season, USC football was ranked 1st overall in recruiting by, with 4 five-star commits, 17 four-star commits, and 5 three-star commits.

Women's sports

Women's teams have earned 26 national championships. The Women of Troy have brought home 64 individual NCAA crowns. Two Women of Troy athletes have won the Honda-Broderick Cup as the top collegiate woman athlete of the year: Cheryl Miller (1983–84) and Angela Williams (2001–02). And Trojan women have won 8 Honda Awards, as the top female athlete in their sport.

The Women of Troy have won 7 championships in tennis, 6 in volleyball, 4 in water polo, 3 in golf, 2 in basketball, 1 in swimming and diving, 1 in track and field, 1 in sand volleyball and 1 in soccer.

Traditions and student activities

USC mascot Traveler with Trojan Warrior and The Spirit of Troy

As one of the oldest universities in California, the University of Southern California has a number of traditions. USC's official fight song is "Fight On," which was composed in 1922 by USC dental student Milo Sweet with lyrics by Sweet and Glen Grant.[151]


During the week prior to the traditional USC-UCLA rivalry football game, the Tommy Trojan statue is covered to prevent UCLA vandalism.

USC has rivalries with multiple schools. Though generally limited to football, USC has a major rivalry with Notre Dame.[152] The annual game is played for the Jeweled Shillelagh. The rivalry has featured more national championship teams, Heisman trophy winners, All-Americans, and future NFL hall-of-famers than any other collegiate match-up. The two schools have kept the annual game on their schedules since 1926 (except 1942–44 because of World War II travel restrictions) and the game is often referred to as the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football.[153][154][155][156][157]

USC's most famous rival is UCLA, with whom there is fierce athletic and scholastic competition. Both universities are in Los Angeles and approximately 10 miles (16 km) apart. Until 1982 the two schools also shared the same football stadium, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The victor of the annual football game takes home the Victory Bell. The Trojans and Bruins also compete in a year-long all-sports competition for the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy. Pranks between UCLA and USC were commonplace several decades ago. Both universities have cracked down on pranks since a 1989 incident when USC students released hundreds of crickets into the main UCLA library during finals week.[158] Days before a clash between rivals UCLA and USC in 2009, the Bruins mascot was vandalized. It was splashed in cardinal and gold paint, USC's official colors sparking memories of pranks played in the years earlier.[159] The week preceding the annual football matchup with UCLA is known as "Troy Week" and features a number of traditions including CONQUEST! "The Ultimate Trojan Experience", Save Tommy Night, the CONQUEST! Bonfire, and all-night vigils by the Trojan Knights to protect the campus from UCLA Bruins.

In addition, USC has rivalries with other Pac-12 schools, particularly the Stanford Cardinal as they are the only two private universities in the Pac-12 Conference and are situated at opposing regions of California, as well as being the two oldest private research universities in California, 1880 and 1891 respectively. Recently, a rivalry has begun to exist between USC and the University of Oregon because of the two universities' dominant football programs, with each school often serving as the toughest match-up on the opponent's schedule.


Traveler, a white Andalusian horse, is currently the university's official mascot. It first appeared at a football game in 1961, was ridden by Richard Saukko, and was known as Traveler I. The current horse is known as Traveler VII.

Tommy Trojan, officially known as the Trojan Shrine, is a bronze statue in the model of a Trojan warrior at the center of campus. It is commonly mistaken as the school's official mascot. The statue was modeled after Trojan football players, and the statue is engraved with the ideal characteristics of a Trojan. It is a popular meeting point for students and a landmark for visitors.

In the 1940s, George Tirebiter, a car-chasing dog, was the most popular unofficial mascot. After it bit the mascot of the UCLA Bruins, it gained fame among students, and was kept by the Trojan Knights. The dog was known to chase down cars on Trousdale Parkway, which runs through campus. After the original dog died, three others succeeded it. A statue was built in 2006 to honor the unofficial mascot.

Marching band

The drum major of the Spirit of Troy wears a more elaborate uniform and conducts the band with a sword.

USC's marching band, known as The Spirit of Troy, has been featured in at least 10 major movies, and has performed in both the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.[160] They have also performed on television shows and with other musicians.

The band performed on the title track of the 1979 Fleetwood Mac album Tusk, which went on to be a multi-platinum record. The band performed during halftime at Super Bowl XXI in 1987 and Super Bowl XXII in 1988. In 1990, the band performed live on America's Funniest Home Videos. Additionally, the band later played on another multi-platinum Fleetwood Mac album, The Dance (1997).[161] The Spirit of Troy is the only collegiate band to have two platinum records.[162][163] In recent years, the band has appeared at the 2009 Grammy Awards, accompanying Radiohead; on the 2009 Academy Awards with Beyoncé and Hugh Jackman; and during the finale of American Idol 2008, backing Renaldo Lapuz in instrumentation of his original song "We're Brothers Forever."[164][165][166] In 2009, the band played on the show Dancing with the Stars.[167]

The USC band was only one of two American groups invited to march in the Hong Kong Chinese New Year parade in 2003 and 2004. The Trojan Marching Band performed at the 2005 World Expo in Nagoya, Japan. In May 2006, the Trojan Marching Band traveled to Italy, performing once in Florence, and twice in Rome (including in front of the Coliseum). The band has also, for many years, performed the 1812 Overture with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (or occasionally with other orchestras) each year at the Hollywood Bowl "Tchaikovsky Spectacular".[168]

Spirit groups

The Song Girls celebrating a USC Trojans football victory

Song Girls

For over 45 years, the USC Song Girls have been considered as the "Crown Jewels of USC Spirit."[169] Founded in 1967, the USC Song Girls appear at all football, basketball, and volleyball games as well as other sporting events, rallies, and university and alumni functions.[170] The squad also performs internationally. The squad has traveled to Italy, Austria, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Japan, China and Australia, most recently having traveled to Milan, Italy to perform at the 2015 World Expo on America's Independence Day. Unlike other college cheer teams, Song Girls are primarily a dance squad and do not perform gymnastics, stunts or lead cheers.[171] The Song Girls perform to the music of and often appear with The Spirit of Troy. Together with the Trojan Marching Band, they are a visible public face of the University and function as the ambassadors of spirit and goodwill for the Trojan Family.

The USC Song Girls follow the university's code in portraying an image of class, sophistication and advanced choreography. Their trademark white uniforms trimmed in Cardinal and Gold have become a recognizable and established part of the University's traditions. Three-dozen or more dances are choreographed and performed with each new year. The dedication, loyalty and quest for continual improvement are hallmarks of the USC Song Girl program. The USC Song Girls are dance athletes that are focused in continuing the university's "Tradition of Trojan Excellence".

Yell Leaders

Lindley Bothwell founded the USC Yell Leading Squad in 1919 in his first year as a student at USC. He felt that together, with a few friends, he could aid in "firing up" the crowd during football games.[172] The USC Yell Leaders worked closely with The Spirit of Troy and the Song Girls to lead cheers and perform stunts to rally Trojan fans at football, basketball, and volleyball games. The sweater-clad team consisted of all men for most of its existence, though the squad later opened itself up to applicants from both sexes and did feature one female Yell Leader in 1998.[173] They were disbanded by the University after the 2005–06 season and replaced by the co-ed Spirit Leaders.[174]

Spirit Leaders

The USC Spirit Leaders are responsible for leading stadium wide chants and increasing crowd participation at all Trojan athletic events, including football and basketball games. Working in proud partnership with the Trojan Marching Band and the USC Song Girls, the USC Spirit Leaders help to create a winning atmosphere for all Trojan athletes.[172]

Student media

The Daily Trojan has been the student newspaper of USC since 1912 and is a primary source of news and information for the campus. It secured the first interview of President Richard Nixon after his resignation. The publication does not receive financial aid from the university and instead runs entirely on advertisement revenue. Published from Monday to Friday during the fall and spring semesters, the newspaper turns into the Summer Trojan during the summer term and publishes once a week. It is the paper of record on campus.

Trojan Vision (often abbreviated as TV8) is the Student television station at USC. TV8 was established in 1997 by the Annenberg School for Communication, but is now a part of the School of Cinematic Arts. Trojan Vision broadcasts 24/7 from the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts to the University Park Campus on Channel 8.1 and online through their website. Programming is also made available to the greater Los Angeles community on local channel LA36. In addition to a selection of regularly airing shows of many genres, Trojan Vision also broadcasts the shows Platforum, a round-table debate show; Annenberg TV News, a news program; and CU@USC, an interview program, live every weeknight from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.[175]

El Rodeo is USC's student-run yearbook. One of the oldest student traditions at the university, the first edition was released in 1889 and was originally called The Sybil. The name was changed to El Rodeo in 1899 to reflect the cowboy-themed events students threw to advertise the yearbook as a "roundup" of the year's events. It was long packaged with the Student Activity Card, which gave students access to all home sports games. Since the card was dissolved in 2007, the yearbook has been sold as a stand-alone item.[176]

Neon Tommy is a news website and content aggregator in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. It is a web-only publication that was created in 2009. It does not cover campus news.

Greek life

The Greek Community, making up approximately a fifth of the student body, has had a long and influential history on the campus. Centered on a portion of West 28th Street known as "The Row", located between Figueroa Street and Hoover Street just north of campus, USC's Greek system began soon after the school's founding when Kappa Alpha Theta founded a chapter in 1887.

With 23 fraternities and 12 sororities in the Interfraternity Conference (IFC) and Panhellenic Conference (PHC), respectively, the USC Greek community has over 2,650 members and is one of the largest on the West Coast. It regularly participates in Homecoming and Songfest, and the community's philanthropic efforts and success in philanthropic leadership annually raise over $150,000.

Outside the Panhellenic and Interfraternity conferences, the Greek community at USC is very diverse, boasting the Multicultural, Asian, Inter-Fraternity (composed of professional fraternities), and the National Pan-Hellenic (historically black) Councils. Organizations governed by these councils include chapters of some of the oldest Latino and Black Greek organizations in the country and the oldest Asian fraternity in Southern California; while also including established professional business, engineering, and pre-law fraternities and other multiculturally based groups.

Popular media

Fountain outside of Doheny Library with the Von KleinSmid Center; both buildings were used in the film The Graduate as stand-ins for UC Berkeley.

Because of USC's proximity to Hollywood, close ties between the School of Cinematic Arts and entertainment industry, and the architecture on campus, the university has been used in numerous movies, television series, commercials, and music videos. USC is frequently used by filmmakers, standing in for numerous other universities. According to IMDB, USC's campus has been featured in at least 180 film and television titles.[177]

Movies filmed at USC include Forrest Gump, Legally Blonde, Road Trip, The Girl Next Door, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Love & Basketball, Blue Chips, Ghostbusters, Live Free or Die Hard, House Party 2, The Number 23, The Social Network and The Graduate.[178] Television series that have used the USC campus include How to Get Away With Murder, Cold Case, Entourage, 24, The O.C., Beverly Hills, 90210, Moesha, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, House M.D., CSI: NY, Undeclared, The West Wing, Alias, The Office, Monk, The United States of Tara, Gilmore Girls, Scrubs, and The Roommate.[179]


There are currently more than 365,000 alumni members.[180] Among the notable alumni of the University of Southern California have become prominent scientists, musicians, businessmen, engineers, architects, athletes, actors, politicians, and those that have gained both national and international fame. To keep alumni connected, the Trojan network consists of over 100 alumni groups on five continents. A common saying among those associated with the school is that one is a "Trojan for Life".[181][182][183] Among notable alumni are Neil Armstrong, the first human to step on the moon; O.J. Simpson, football star in the 1960s; George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars trilogy; Andrew Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm Inc. and inventor of the Viterbi Algorithm; Hollywood screen legend John Wayne (who also played in the USC football team); acclaimed actor and comedian Will Ferrell; Emmy Award winning actor John Ritter; world-renowned architect Frank Gehry; longtime Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss; recycling symbol designer Gary Anderson; former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of Pakistani democracy; and deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically-elected president in that country's history.[184]


a. ^ The alternate name "Southern Cal" frequently appears in sports-related news articles. USC discourages use of "Southern Cal" out of concern the name might suggest a foundational association to the University of California, Berkeley (commonly known as "Cal" in the athletics context), even though the two institutions have no affiliation other than their Pac-12 membership. For several years, USC's media guides contained the following request: "Note to the media: In editorial references to athletic teams of the University of Southern California, the following are preferred: USC, Southern California, So. California, Troy and Trojans for men's or women's teams, and Women of Troy for women's teams. PLEASE do not use Southern Cal (it's like calling San Francisco 'Frisco' or North Carolina 'North Car.'). The usage of 'Southern Cal' on licensed apparel and merchandise is limited in scope and necessary to protect federal trademark rights."[185]

b. ^ Specifically Seoul, South Korea; Hong Kong, China; Jakarta, Indonesia; Taipei, Taiwan; Mexico City; and Tokyo, Japan. USC International Offices

c. ^ The NCAA does not conduct a championship for Football Bowl Subdivision football. Instead, teams are awarded championships by various private organizations, currently the recognized championships are awarded by the Bowl Championship Series and titles by the Associated Press.

d. ^ The precise colors can be found on the USC Graphic Identity Program website: the correct Pantone color for USC Cardinal is PMS 201C and USC Gold is PMS 123C.


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