I am thrilled to welcome each of you to the Trojan community. We are the place where you can achieve great things and lay the foundation for the way you will change the world as you move through life.
Today we welcome you, our newest students, into USC’s academic community! I hope you have already sensed that this is a unique and supportive community — one which extends far beyond our campuses. We are a community of scholars and researchers; artists and professionals; clinicians and practitioners; alumni and neighbors.
We are a community held together by a common belief that education and scholarly discourse give us the best chance to tackle society’s most challenging problems. We believe that higher education does not begin with an acceptance letter or end with a diploma. We believe that lifelong learning creates more fulfilling lives for ourselves and those around us. Your experiences here will prepare you for that life of learning.
Convocations are the launch pad. You will learn to navigate the campus and the classroom, the lab and the library. Our faculty and staff have created an environment for learning and growing with intent and purpose. The broad spectrum of ideas and opportunities you will encounter at USC will enrich your thinking. Our cutting-edge curriculum will teach you to engage the world with a curious mind and an open heart. These are the characteristics of your fellow Trojans who have used their knowledge and talents to change the world for the better.
The experiences you will gain are unique to USC – take full advantage of them.
Your experiences are as much about specific disciplinary knowledge as building your own network – developing into an engaged citizen – learning how to navigate as an independent thinker and doer. Pick areas of focus and then learn vicariously from friends and colleagues who are following different paths. It is these social and professional connections that build the network of friends and allies that form the Trojan Family.
As you move forward, we’ll celebrate your successes and encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. We also want to help you develop confidence to try again when your ideas do not turn out the way you imagined. This resilience is crucial to finding your place in our rapidly changing world.
As a community, we have an obligation to take care of each other. This is a major transition for all of you — one filled with promise and opportunity, but also many bends in the road. It’s important to recognize that your friends, your family, and everyone at USC will support you at every step of your journey.
A special part of the USC experience is the opportunity to develop breadth and depth across disciplines. Take informed risks, challenge your assumptions, and discover new paths. You will become adaptable and ingenious, and create positive solutions. And by collaborating with peers on a project or participating in one of our hundreds of student groups; by volunteering, doing an internship, or studying abroad — you will make connections and gain perspectives that will shape the course of your life for decades to come.
You have a passion for scholarly inquiry and creative expression that will drive you to explore the frontiers of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences; to express yourselves creatively; and to shape the future of your chosen professions.
Guided by your intellectual curiosity and the desire to improve your own lives as well as the lives of others, you will make your mark on our community and our world.
Students, I now bestow upon you all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges accorded with membership in the University of Southern California community of scholars and artists. I wish you great success in all of your academic pursuits. Welcome to USC!
–Charles F. Zukoski, January 28, 2022