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138 years old, and still fighting on

From a modest start, the university marks its 138th birthday as one of the nation’s leading research institutions

Widney Alumni House
The university's first building is now known as the Widney Alumni House. (Photo/USC Digital Libraries)

USC — officially founded Oct. 6, 1880, when Los Angeles was little more than a frontier town — first opened its doors to 53 students and 10 teachers.

Back then, the “city” still lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones and a reliable fire alarm system.

Today, USC is home to more than 40,000 students and some 4,000 full-time faculty, and is located in the heart of one of the biggest metropolises in the world. The school’s first building lives on as Widney Alumni House.

Learn more about the history of what is now one of America’s leading research universities.

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138 years old, and still fighting on

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