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New Era Begins for USC’s Faculty Center

by Karen Newell Young

“It’s not just a place for lunch,” said Program Director Ed Kasky.

If you’ve seen the bright red banners, you already know that changes are afoot at the Faculty Center.

To coincide with USC’s 125th anniversary, the recently renamed USC University Club is celebrating a milestone of its own this year. Along with the new moniker and banners, a new strategic plan and other changes will mark the center’s next chapter, according to Program Director Ed Kasky.

The new name “was voted by the board of directors to more clearly reflect the direction in which we are heading,” he said. “The idea was to make the club more inclusive and to add a certain prestige to the name that reflected the new culture of the club.”

Enhanced programming is another area of improvement, Kasky said. With support from the Provost’s Office, the club now offers a Lunchtime Speaker Series, a “Who’d You Really Want to Meet for Lunch?” program that brings together faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds and free tickets for evening performances of the USC Thornton Symphony and USC Opera.

“It’s not just a place for lunch,” he said. “Over the last four years, we have grown into the kind of private university club that can fully realize the center’s mission, which is to create an environment ‘dedicated to promoting the intellectual, cultural and social interaction among the USC faculty and senior staff members.’ ”

Other recent enhancements are a revamped menu offering fresh and homemade dishes, along with a different style of service that includes more carefully trained and hired staff members, he said.

The University Club traces its roots to 1928 when the Men’s Faculty Club was established. In the late 1940s, the Women’s Faculty Club, born in the 1930s, merged with the men’s club to become The Faculty Club. At that time, the clubhouse was located on the fourth floor of the Student Union and was little more than a pool table and “one comfortable chair,” according to Kasky.

The Academic Senate wanted more. So in the late 1950s, it persuaded then- president Norman Topping to secure funding from the USC trustees to renovate an existing building. The Faculty Center opened at its current location in 1961.

For more information on the University Club, go to http://universityclub.usc.edu or call (213) 740-2030.

New Era Begins for USC’s Faculty Center

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