The Tremendous Faculty of USC

USC has a tremendous faculty—industry leaders and innovative thinkers who model, mentor, and shape our future generations by providing a rigorous and relevant curriculum.

The University of Southern California is defined by talented and diverse educators who offer multiple learning pathways that reflect, support, and shape the culture of our times. I am honored to be at this top research university serving alongside such brilliant faculty members.

From the day our university opened its doors in 1880 to now, the achievements of our esteemed faculty are many, which brings me to USC’s Faculty Hall.

The space is a virtual “who’s who” of our USC faculty located inside the Doheny Memorial Library. Each photo, display case, and video monitor in the museum honors the amazing accomplishments of our esteemed colleagues.  These achievements should fill us with a sense of pride, but more importantly, they should inspire us as an academic community to continue the groundbreaking work and developments in the arts, humanities, science, mathematics, or engineering.

I encourage everyone to take a long look around Faculty Hall and reflect on the rich history of our educators. There are four displays in particular that I wanted to share with you.

Near the entrance is a display case. Inside, there is the first-of-its-kind retina implant that is strapped to the side of a glass replica of an eye. Also, in the display case is a pair of glasses and a power pack; items connected to the revolutionary invention.

This display is the work of Mark S. Humayun MD, Ph.D., an American ophthalmologist, engineer, scientist and inventor. He is the only ophthalmologist ever to be elected a member of both U.S. National Academies of Medicine and Engineering. Dr. Humayun is a university professor with joint appointments at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Humayun co-invented the Argus Series retina implants, which are manufactured by Second Sight, and are intended to restore sight to the blind. The Argus Series implants were named by Time Magazine among the top 10 inventions of 2013. He has more than 100 patents and patent applications.

Another display towards the back of the hall features a robot. The robot is the creation of our interim vice president of research Maja Mataric, founding director of the USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center, and co-director of the USC Robotics Research Lab.

Prof. Mataric’s research is aimed at endowing robots with the ability to help people. She created the Bandit robots to interact with autistic children and motivate the elderly to exercise.

In addition, there is a ceramic vase located next to the robot display. The artwork is by Ken Price, distinguished alum and faculty member of the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Price was a pioneer in the field of ceramics who created groundbreaking work with clay.

For nearly 15 years, Professor Price taught at USC Roski School of Art and Design. He achieved the rank of tenured professor in 1994 and was honored as professor emeritus in 2005. In 2011, he received the USC Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also, mounted on one of the walls is a Nobel Prize medal.

It belongs to Arieh Warshel, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing the key principles behind computer simulations that are necessary and fundamental in the study of chemical reaction.

In addition, the hall is not only for our faculty–it is by our faculty.

Davina Wolter, assistant professor of practice in design at USC Iovine and Young Academy, worked with Vice Provost Marty Levine to design the exhibits in the room and manage vendors to ensure the most engaging and informative experience for visitors.

So next time you pass by the Doheny Memorial Library, please stop by our Faculty Hall. Let’s celebrate the academic excellence of our faculty–past, present, and future.