The University of Southern California has been named “College of the Year” by the 2000 edition of the Time/Princeton Review College Guide.
Editors of the annual guide, a co-publication of Time magazine and the Princeton Review, said they chose USC because of the remarkable bonds the university has forged with local schools, community residents, police, businesses and community organizations around both the Health Sciences Campus and the University Park Campus.
“In the last decade or so, as the university has been building a larger presence here in East Los Angeles, we have done a great deal to take an active role in our local community,” said John Hisserich, associate vice president of health affairs.
Hisserich has seen a welter of community outreach efforts blossom over the past 15 years, including such programs as the Health Professional Preparation (HePP) and Medical Counseling, Organizing and Recruitment Program (Med-COR).
“The HePP program, under assistant dean of minority student affairs Althea Alexander, and the Med-COR program, under the guidance of Dr. John Davis, are excellent examples of the efforts made to stimulate local students’ interest in attending college and ultimately gaining entry into a health profession career,” said Hisserich. “Above all, we recognize the value of being good neighbors, and programs such as these do a great deal in terms of building relationships with the younger people in our community.”
“More institutions might do well to emulate USC’s enlightened self-interest,” according to the guidebook editors. The Time/Princeton editors cited the university’s model of service learning – the practice of applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service – as their main reason for choosing USC as college of the year.
The guide’s recognition validates the great work done by residents living near the university, as well as thousands of neighborhood institutions, USC students, faculty and staff members, said USC President Steven B. Sample.
“At the heart of USC’s community outreach is a respectful partnership between the university and the people, organizations and institutions around us,” Sample said.
“All have been working hard to achieve common goals – great public schools, a safe and attractive environment, and economic and academic opportunity.”
“USC’s employees and students have taken up the challenge to give of both their time and money to causes in the community,” Sample added. “Together they have volunteered hundreds of thousands of hours in the neighborhoods closest to USC’s University Park Campus near downtown Los Angeles and its Health Sciences Campus in East Los Angeles. Since 1994, faculty and staff have given more than $1.5 million to the Good Neighbors Campaign, our annual fund-raising drive for the university’s outreach programs.”
USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation, according to a six-page article penned by Time national correspondent Margot Hornblower and included in the Time/Princeton guide. “The intense focus, with one program layering on another, has woven a safety net around the children, their families and their teachers,” she wrote.
Hornblower investigated about a dozen of the more than 200 community programs with which USC is affiliated.
“As the backlash against affirmative action gathers force, universities promote ‘outreach’ to continue attracting black and Hispanic students,” Hornblower wrote. “But USC’s effort goes far beyond mailing brochures to inner-city high school counselors and hoping that qualified applicants will materialize.”
The Time/Princeton Review College Guide, published Aug. 23, is available on newsstands and in bookstores now.