In Memoriam

Leo Buscaglia
INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN AUTHOR-LECTURER Leo Buscaglia – an alumnus and a professor of special education and counseling at USC’s School of Education for nearly 20 years – died of a heart attack June 11 at his home in Glenbrook, Nev., near Lake Tahoe. He was 74.
“The entire university mourns the passing of a truly great friend and pioneer in his field,” said Guilbert C. Hentschke, dean of the School of Education. “Leo Buscaglia has been contributing to USC – as a student, alumnus, faculty member and scholarship donor – for more than 40 years. He will be missed by many, many people.”
The author of a series of best-selling books on loving and human relationships, Buscaglia earned a bachelor’s degree in English and speech (1950), a master’s degree in language and speech pathology (1954) and a Ph.D. in language and speech pathology (1963) from USC.
In 1969, he taught a self-actualization course at USC. Love 1A begat Love, the first in a long series of Buscaglia best-sellers, including Personhood, Loving Each Other and Fall of Freddie the Leaf.

BUSCAGLIA WAS BORN March 31, 1924. The son of Italian immigrants, he was reared in Los Angeles and didn’t learn to speak English until he entered primary school. His teachers mistook his fumbling language skills for mental retardation and placed him in a special education class. Under the tutelage of a caring teacher, he learned English and a lesson in compassion that would eventually lead him into a career as a speech therapist in Los Angeles-area public schools.
Buscaglia served as supervisor of special education in Pasadena City Schools from 1960 to 1965. He then joined the USC School of Education faculty and taught special education and counseling at the university until 1984. After retiring from teaching, he served on the School of Education’s Board of Councilors.
In 1989, Buscaglia gave real estate valued at $500,000 to USC. Part of that gift funded the Leo F. Buscaglia Scholarship for Inner City Teacher Education, a four-year, full-tuition scholarship awarded to outstanding graduates of Crenshaw, Fremont, Manual Arts, Roosevelt and Jefferson high schools in Los Angeles. After earning a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential at USC, Buscaglia Scholarship recipients must teach for at least two years in an inner-city high school.
Contributions in his memory may be sent to the Leo F. Buscaglia Scholarship for Inner City Teacher Education, USC School of Education, WPH 103, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0031.


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