USC and Los Angeles are forged of the same Promethean fire. As USC evolved, it served as a vital public stage upon which many of the city’s historic events and cultural trends would play out, often in dramatic fashion: the combination of Mexican roots with European and Asian influences; the interplay of science, entrepreneurship, and the public good; the movements of progressive politics challenging established centers of power; the realities of industrialization; episodes of racial tension and civil unrest; the flux of the arts and new technologies drawing alternate visions of society; migrations of peoples from the eastern United States, the Pacific Rim, and beyond; and the pressures of a city growing in size, diversity, complexity, and texture. Throughout their histories, USC and Los Angeles found ways to turn moments of crisis and contradiction into new pathways to human happiness: to turn paradox into progress.
USC was born at one of the many crossroads where the original streets of Los Angeles’ Old Pueblo, tracking at an angle, intersect those formed by U.S. surveyors, running north and south. Today those intersections are visible markers of a past inviting cultural curiosity and exchange, new experiences, and reflection. Our opportunity, in this brief hiatus between past and future, is to contribute a verse – our best, most unselfish, and harmonious.
Those verses become part of the intergenerational Trojan Family. A family committed to serving the public good, and every member of the communities it touches. A family with many houses: students of every circumstance and their families, alumni, neighbors, faculty, and staff. Medical workers and patients. Invaluable donors and benefactors who believe in the promise of the future. The thousands of local schoolchildren and their families who participate in USC outreach programs and the talented staff, faculty, and volunteers who serve them; and a collection of extraordinary collegiate athletes and Olympians who bring great renown to USC.
The Trojan Family represents a way of being and acting in the world – through contributions to serving the common good, to giving back, to helping others, and to making the world a better place. A family that extends across the U.S. and the globe, and reaches back generations. A family unmatched by any other university.
The Ancient Greeks said of its citizens, “wherever you go, you will be a polis,” emphasizing the constancy and durability of their values and civic ethos no matter the uncertainties of their journey. Likewise, wherever members of the Trojan Family go, their commitment to serving the public good attends.
In that spirit and in all that we do and will do, USC is transforming itself into tomorrow’s research university – today. Our mission is urgent, our energy boundless, our vision sweeping, and our Trojan spirit indefatigable. The 21st century calls us to action, to lead now and long into the future. The University of Southern California is answering that call.