Alumni Profile

Elizabeth McMillian, Ph.D. '84

California Dreamer Southern California gets bashed a lot – even by its own inhabitants. But Elizabeth McMillian is determined

to look on the sunny side, and help other Southlanders do the same.
That’s why McMillian, M.A. ’77, Ph.D. ’84, has launched Southland Magazine, a new publication whose purpose is summed up in its subtitle, “Why We Live Here.” As editor-in-chief of the start-up magazine, the former architectural editor at Architectural Digest is putting her money – as well as more than 20 years of publishing experience – where her mouth is.
It’s not that she doesn’t get it. McMillian understands all too well the perception that L.A. is flaky, superficial and celebrity obsessed. She just doesn’t accept it as the reality.
“This is the best place to live in the world,” says the Texas native who moved to California in the early ’70s.
What makes her an authority? Besides her 10-year stint with Architectural Digest, McMillian, who holds advanced degrees in art history from USC, also has written three books on Southern California architecture and design: Beach Houses from Malibu to Laguna, Casa de California and her latest, Living on the Water.
McMillian believes she and her magazine are here for a reason: “To report on the good things we experience every day in Southern California, to make our readers remember why they came here in the first place or stayed here after everyone else bailed.”

SOUTHLAND MAGAZINE, which premiered in the spring, celebrates the region in all its glories. “Southern California offers not only a geographical landscape of great variety – deserts, mountains, beaches and lakes,” McMillian says, “but also a cultural landscape of multi-ethnic richness and world-famous talent in the arts, design, fashion, film and business.”
The maiden issue included a first-person piece by USC President Steven B. Sample on how Los Angeles can enrich its neighborhoods; and an article penned by architect-superstar Frank Gehry ’54, revealing his Southern California inspirations.
The magazine’s Trojan connection is hardly coincidental. “Many of the goals and purposes of USC,” McMillian points out, “are consistent with the magazine. After all, USC is Southern California’s university – that’s its name.”
McMillian remains connected to her university in several other ways. She teaches an undergraduate course on Spanish colonial architecture in the Department of Art History and is active on committees there and in the School of Fine Arts.
Meanwhile, Southland is heating up. The magazine’s frequency will gradually increase from quarterly to bi-monthly by 2001. Mindful of the marketing side of her venture, McMillian shamelessly plugs her publication every chance she gets (including this one): Southland Magazine is on sale at
Borders, Rizzoli’s, Walden Books, Barnes & Noble and Book Star. If you’d like to subscribe, send $18 to P.O. Box 2243, El Segundo, CA 90245-1343.

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Elizabeth McMillian, Ph.D. '84

In Memoriam

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