With the goal of advancing its academic vision and priorities, USC will launch on Sept. 15 the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of higher education.
The Campaign for the University of Southern California seeks to raise $6 billion, half to augment its endowment in support of faculty and students and half to provide immediate support for academic priorities, capital projects and infrastructure. To date, the university has raised more than $1 billion toward the $6 billion goal and anticipates reaching or exceeding its goal within seven years.
“Only a campaign of this scale and scope, at this moment in our history, will allow our university community to realize its fullest potential,” said USC president C. L. Max Nikias. “This will enable USC to take the lead in addressing the world’s most pressing needs and challenges, educating the leaders of tomorrow and producing research, scholarship, health care and creative and artistic work of consequence to society.”
At his inauguration last October, Nikias declared that USC would move quickly along many of the key intellectual frontiers of the 21st century. The university laid the groundwork for the campaign in conjunction with a comprehensive strategic planning process that began last year and has engaged all USC constituencies.
Investing in Excellence
At the heart of the campaign are the initiatives of USC’s college, schools and units. Led by the university’s deans and academic leaders, each school and unit is developing a strategic vision and funding priorities that dramatically will advance its contributions to the world. A hallmark of the campaign will be the rollout of these initiatives over the coming years, with each school and unit taking its turn in the spotlight to celebrate its academic strengths and announce fundraising goals and priorities.
Enriching the undergraduate experience: In addition to generating more scholarships for undergraduate students, for example, the campaign will fund the creation of new residential colleges to assure an environment that fosters students’ intellectual, emotional and professional growth. New programs will offer research experience for undergraduates and deep engagement with global perspectives, cultures and faiths, as well as provide rich opportunities for service learning.
Strengthening graduate programs: The campaign will endow fellowships for USC’s Ph.D. and leading professional degree programs and provide endowment to support outstanding postdoctoral fellows, as well as programmatic enhancements to support faculty and graduate students’ continued professional development. Gifts to endow graduate fellowships in the arts will attract distinguished artists and performers from the Pacific Rim and India who are interested in immersive educational experiences at USC and opportunities to collaborate with other artists in the region and the nation. The campaign also will provide the funds to build graduate student housing on the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.
Discovering solutions through the social sciences: A new building for translational social science on the University Park campus will provide a fertile intellectual environment to support interdisciplinary work on today’s most urgent problems such as energy and the environment, affordable health care, national security, world hunger and social inequity.
Transforming human health: To recruit stellar new health science faculty and mobilize such emerging technologies as remote consultations and surgery, regenerative technologies and medicine personalized by genotype, the campaign will fund state-of-the-art laboratories and clinics for leading researchers and clinicians to carry out their work, where they can generate extraordinary advances in understanding, treating and curing diseases.
Fostering the arts and humanities: Home to five of America’s strongest arts schools, as well as the outstanding humanities programs at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the university is seeking funding to strengthen these academic units and generate support for programs such as Visions and Voices, a series of performances, lectures and cultural events designed to help students understand the timeless values at the core of humanity.
Exploring the intersections of technology and communication: With broad expertise in technology and communication, USC has the potential to revolutionize the way students are educated; spark a new era of creativity, ideas and innovation; and dramatically impact the ways in which knowledge and information are created and shared with the world. The campaign will provide vital funding to intensify USC’s focus on the intersection of technology and communication to shape new digital media technologies and environments, and the application of these technologies in entertainment, government, law, health care and more.
Engaging with the local community: The largest private employer in Los Angeles, USC is renowned for innovative partnerships that are blurring the boundaries between campus and community. The university has worked with its neighbors to develop some 400 community engagement programs, encompassing everything from health promotion, business assistance and job creation to tutoring, educational enrichment and neighborhood safety. Through the campaign, USC will seek the resources to continue these alliances, creating an enduring cycle of engagement and opportunity.
Extending global connections and impact: Building on USC’s history of enrolling more international students than any other university, the campaign will help USC emerge as the leading laboratory for “East-West” ideas in scholarship, the arts, media and culture. It will provide the resources to attract stellar students from all areas of the world, as well as all 50 states, and create physical and virtual spaces to help international students form a community and achieve their academic, personal and professional goals.
Creating the environment for excellence: To vitalize both the physical character and the quality of campus life at USC, the campaign will provide the resources to construct new and renovated buildings that take advantage of the latest approaches to teaching and learning, foster creative expression, and deliver the best possible health treatments and care. It will yield gathering spaces configured to enhance interactions among faculty, students and staff that can spark interdisciplinary collaboration. Other key priorities include strengthening the USC Libraries and investing in facilities for basic and translational research on the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.
“Our goals are grand, and they are important,” Nikias said. “The Campaign for USC will transform our bold ideas into life-changing realities for the university and everyone we serve.”
Recognizing both the challenge and the opportunity that the campaign presents, a number of USC trustees and friends have committed significant early leadership gifts, including:
• $50 million from USC trustee Ming Hsieh ’84 to establish the Ming Hsieh Institute for Research on Engineering-Medicine for Cancer, an interdisciplinary effort bringing together engineers, scientists and physicians;
• $50 million from the Annenberg Foundation to finance a new building for the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism;
• $200 million in unrestricted endowment (the largest single gift in USC’s history) from USC trustee David Dornsife ’65 and his wife, Dana, to name the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences;
• $15 million from USC trustee Michele Dedeaux Engemann ’68 and her husband, Roger, to support the construction of a new student health center on the University Park campus;
• $110 million in endowment from USC trustee John Mork ’70 and his wife, Julie, to fund the Mork Family Scholars program for undergraduate merit scholarships and stipends; and
• $150 million in endowment from the W. M. Keck Foundation to accelerate groundbreaking medical, clinical, and translational research and education and to rename USC’s medical enterprise Keck Medicine of USC.
“USC has ambitious goals and incredible momentum, and the entire USC community realizes the power of what can be achieved when we work together,” said Al Checcio, USC’s senior vice president for university advancement. “The Campaign for the University of Southern California is an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate the progress of one of the world’s great research universities, not by small steps but by leaps and bounds. We are deeply grateful and inspired by the outpouring of support we have already received from our donors.”
An Enduring Impact
As the largest philanthropic effort in USC’s history, the Campaign for the University of Southern California promises to touch and transform every aspect of the university – every college, school and unit.
“Time and again, the Trojan Family has answered the call to advance this university, driving us to new heights and enabling us to surpass all expectations,” Nikias said. “We fervently believe that now is the time for an effort that will once again accelerate our academic ascent. The path is steep, but we have the vision, we have the momentum, and we have the determination. Our success will not only shape our future but will enrich our region, state, nation and world.”
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