Early faculty notables
James Brown Scott, founding dean of the law school in 1896, was one of America's most noted international law experts. President of the Institute of International Law, he was secretary general of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for 35 years, as well as solicitor of the State Department and longtime editor of the American Journal of International Law. He was delegate to the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 and the Paris Peace Conference after World War I.
Emory Bogardus formulated the Bogardus Ethnic Distance Scale and directed a singular 40-year, 25-site, longitudinal study. He studied race relations and the theory of social distance, edited Sociology and Social Research for 45 years, and was president of the American Sociological Association. A faculty member from 1911 through 1953, Bogardus founded the sociology department and the social work school and was second graduate school dean. The Bogardus Courtyard in front of the Social Science Building, next to the Von Kleinsmid Center, honors his work and has a plaque noting his achievements.
Irene McCulloch, appointed to the zoology faculty in 1924, spent more than 45 years doing teaching and research at USC. She led USC's marine studies program, studying problems of marine resources, conservation and pollution. She said, "our primary thrust was: What's in the ocean?" It was because of her that Captain Hancock brought his natural history collection to USC and established the Hancock Foundation for Marine Research in 1940. At age 94 she published her book on the single-celled ocean organism Foraminifera. Her name is memorialized at USC in a collection, a foundation publishing a monograph series, and a chair in marine biology, as well as the McCulloch Townhomes.
Frank Baxter, appointed in 1930, was an early proponent of distance learning, whose televsion shows won a Peabody award and seven Emmys. His Shakespeare on T.V. had an audience of millions on more than 25 stations nationwide, and was followed by the Sunday discussion show, "Now and Then," and such later programs as "Harvest," "Telephone Time," and "Milestone of Man." For a generation of youngsters he was the iconic image of the scientist, as "Mr. Scientist" or "Dr. Research" in eight Bell System Science Series films, many directed by Frank Capra. He was the founding president of the University Senate in 1947. Life magazine named him in 1950 one of the eight finest college professors in the nation, and when he died Time recalled his "lively lectures on the Bard."
Anton Burg was "father of chemistry" at USC and one of the pioneers of inorganic chemistry in the 20th century. Appointed in 1939, he was still bicycling to his lab through the 1990's. The world’s leading expert on boron, he was probably the first person to see polyethylene and Teflon. His research suggestions to his student H.C. Brown eventually led to Brown's 1979 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Brown said that if Burg had published his initial results, they would have shared the Nobel.
Psychologist J.P. Guilford, appointed in 1940, created the theory of "structure of intellect," represented in a three dimensional model, building on the idea that intelligence is too broad for a single IQ number. As president of the American Psychological Association he called for research into creativity, and established the USC Aptitudes Research Project to understand human intelligence and creativity. USC remembers him through the J. P. Guilford Laboratory Of Quantitative Psychology.
USC's first Presidential Medallion was awarded to Charles Heidelberger, the discoverer of 5-FU, a new type of anti-cancer drug that resulted from rational design.
Norman Topping, who became USC’s 7th president in 1958, developed the typhus vaccine used in World War II by more than 15 million Allied soldiers, and helped craft the first effective treatment against Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Peter Vogt discovered human oncogenes. His seminal work is the basis of our understanding of cancer as caused by deregulated cellular genes, and is the foundation for decades of cancer research. Vogt aided the research for which Varmus and Bishop were awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Barbara Korsch pioneered the study of patient-doctor communication in the 1960's.
Maestros Jascha Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky, and William Primrose started teaching at USC in 1962. Piatigorsky continued until his death in 1976, meeting twice a week for four or five hours.
Stanislaw Ulam, who came to USC in 1945, is best known as the developer of the Monte-Carlo method and co-inventor of the H-bomb.
Sidney Benson, authority on combustion and physical hydrocarbon chemistry, first joined the USC faculty in 1943 and finally retired in 1990. Awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry's Polanyi Medal, he was for more than 20 years among the world's 10 most-cited physical chemists.
Richard Bellman, who joined the USC faculty in 1965, was the inventor of dynamic programming and a towering figure in modern control theory and systems analysis.
In 1978, Benson, Bellman and George Olah were listed among the most cited authors of scientific papers by the Institute of Scientific Information.
Herbert Busemann, faculty member from 1947 through 1970, developed a synthetic differential geometry and twice won the Lobachevski Prize (whose early winners included Lie and Hilbert.)
Libertarian legal scholar Richard Epstein began his academic career at USC in 1968.
Richard Neutra, one of the world's most influential architects, created a modern regionalism for Southern California. He is known for his functionalist approach, with flat-surfaced, industrialized residential buildings opening directly into natural surroundings (such as the Health House.) One of his buildings is adjacent to the Annenberg Center.
William Pereira was a legendary architect who helped shape Orange County, and also an Oscar winner. He is noted for the San Francisco Transamerica Pyramid, the Los Angeles CBS Television Studios, and his master plans for the USC University Park Campus, Irvine Ranch, and the LAX airport (a USC class project!)
Charles Eames was hailed in a Library of Congress exhibition for a "legacy of invention" that gave shape to America's 20th century and represented the West Coast's coming-of-age.
Craig Ellwood was named one of the "three best architects of 1957" along with Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe.
Raymond Loewy, "the father of industrial design", introduced innovations in new materials and streamlining -- such as his passenger railroad locomotives -- that have come to symbolize the optimism of the period. Among his designs are the logos for Shell, Exxon, Greyhound and the U.S. Postal Service; the Greyhound bus; the Coke bottle; and the Skylab interior.
Conrad Buff, Calvin Straub, and Donald Hensman have influenced generations of architects through their teaching and the quality of their work. In Case Study Houses #20 and #28, they explored how the principles of modernism responded to a regional context, shaped by the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement.Commemorating USC's 125th Anniversary, these pages highlight some USC faculty. In addition to About USC faculty, for selected faculty by subject area see More about USC faculty, and for illustrious part-timers see Adjunct faculty. For pages honoring the past, take a look at Early faculty notables as well as Looking back at the USC faculty. And for a sampling of those in the public eye, see Faculty in the broader community.