An Exciting Time Full of New Beginnings and New Opportunities

Provost speaking at convocation

For me, nothing embodies the New Year and a time for new beginnings better than the Spring New Student Convocation.

It’s an exciting time full of new beginnings and new opportunities. Our new admits and transfer students bring a revitalized energy and dynamic to the campus that injects renewed excitement to the entire class.

Yesterday, I was walking back on Trousdale Parkway to my office and I saw students rushing every which way and I could hear the sound of the clickety-clack of skateboards zooming by—I tell you, there is nothing like this time of year when almost 850 new students fill our campus.

One of those new students is Karley Smith. She is a self-taught musician who plays, guitar, piano, drums and ukulele. She is majoring in Music Industry at USC Thornton School of Music.

Karley Smith
(Karley Smith, new spring admit)

“USC was at the top of my list, but I didn’t know if I was going to get in,” Karley said. “I just put in all my effort during the application process and I guess the admissions office recognized that.”

Karley is from a small town and an even smaller high school, but her ambitions are big for the New Year.

“I’m just excited to see the new opportunities I have and discover new things that I’m passionate about,” Karley said. “Here, anything is possible.”

Possible—because of our faculty who thrive on interacting with the new students as Paula Cannon, Associate Professor of Microbiology at the Keck School of Medicine, best summed it up in her speech at the Spring New Student Convocation.

“There is great joy in being a faculty member, because every year USC gets refreshed. We get to meet a new class and with it a new wave of inspiration and knowledge and diversity and challenges,” Cannon said. “We can’t wait to be challenged by you and to learn from you.”

Karley Smith’s parents, Eugene and Laurel, were at the convocation and appreciated the warm welcome from Paula Cannon and all of the other speakers.

Proud dad Eugene Smith said he kept it together until the end of the convocation when the new students were asked to stand up.

“That’s when I started to tear up,” Eugene said. “As we watched our daughter Karley stand to be recognized as one of the few, out of thousands of applications, to be accepted to USC—it was just a really proud moment.”

Eugene’s wife Laurel was emotional too, but she said she also felt something else: relieved.

“As a parent you’re always preparing them for the world, and though she’s going to be thousands of miles away, I am very confident she’s going to succeed here and she’s going to be happy here,” Laurel said. “I really wanted her to be here because it’s the only school that I felt like she would be safe, happy, and comfortable and this is where she was really supposed to be.”

Smith Family
(Eugene and Laurel Smith with daughter Karley)

A place that is now bigger, brighter, and better because of our new students. The 2023 class is officially complete. And as we start this New Year, I want you to know that it’s about all of our students who make up our school and each and every one of you brings something special and unique to this campus. We are so happy to have you here!

–Charles F. Zukoski, January 16, 2020