News & Notes On All Things Trojan
|Hoop Dreams Come True
The Galen Center at long last gives Trojan basketball and volleyball a home-court advantage.
and basketball players and fans, Oct. 12 couldn’t come soon enough.
That was the day the new Galen Center was scheduled to hold its
inaugural athletic contest, a volleyball match between the Women of
Troy and Stanford. “Anticipation for this went back 40 years,” says
women’s volleyball coach Mick Haley. “We so appreciate the athletic
department and Mr. and Mrs. Galen for their support. The players have
deserved this for such a long time.”
thrilled about the possibility of drawing much larger crowds to his
team’s matches. A sellout at the Lyon Center, the former venue, meant
about 2,000 spectators. The new home of women’s volleyball holds more
than 10,000 seats.
fervor was voiced by the coaches of the other teams who now call the
Galen Center home. Mark Trakh, the women’s basketball coach, says the
center “will be an incredible facility for basketball. It has all the
amenities that you could ask for, including our own practice facility.
We’re going to pack it for women’s games.”
Floyd, the men’s basketball coach, says the complex will help in
recruiting and create a home-court advantage, which has been “sorely
missed” through the years. “It makes a statement that the university is
committed to being a national player over the long haul in men’s
basketball,” he says.
our practice facilities and offices housed in the same building where
we play our games will give us more access to our players,” Floyd adds.
the men’s and women’s basketball teams begin their seasons the first
week of November, and celebrations are planned for those events.
The red brick
and concrete complex sits on nearly 7 acres at the southeast corner of
Jefferson Boulevard and Figueroa Street, towering impressively over the
Harbor Freeway. The center includes the arena, a 55,000-square-foot
Athletic Pavilion that houses three practice gymnasiums and coaches’
offices, and a new parking garage.
exterior is decorated with seven carved brick bas-relief murals. Among
the largest in the world, each stands 46 feet, 8 inches tall and 11
feet, 4 inches wide. Panels depict much-larger-than-life basketball
players, volleyball players, a saxophone, a violinist, two dancers
executing a lift, a mentor and child and a commencement scene. They are
the work of Pasadena artist Dean Tschetter and his brother, brick
sculptor Jay Tschetter of Denton, Neb., working with the design
collaboration of building architect Fernando Vasquez and USC senior
associate athletic director Carol Dougherty.
the arena has many creature comforts, including seven concession
stands, eight concession kiosks and a scoreboard with four 22-foot-wide
addition to use during basketball and volleyball contests, the screens
will show real-time Trojan football on “away” game days. The center may
even broadcast during sold-out home games “if we determine there’s a
demand for it,” says Dougherty.
Although athletics is an integral part of the center, the complex will be home to performing arts events as well.
first concert in the new building was a gala inaugural celebration
honoring Louis J. and Helene Galen, longtime USC supporters who are the
major donors to the complex.
child-oriented concert, aimed at youngsters in the immediate
neighborhood, also is in the works. It’s estimated that the center will
host as many as 130 events per year, including athletic contests,
concerts, theater performances, graduation ceremonies and community
site was originally planned as a commercial facility with a hotel and
office space, but the recession of the early 1990s put that proposal on
hold. In 2003, the idea of an events center became a reality with $35
million in contributions from the Galens, whose gift is by far the
largest ever received by the USC athletic department.
director Mike Garrett adds that it is also the largest private gift
given to any athletic department in the country for a capital project.
– Allison Engel
Running the Numbers
New Galen Center Stats:
|Months under construction
|Square feet (with pavilion)
|Additional parking spaces
|22-foot scoreboard video screens
|Photo by Philip Channing
Bench to Bedside
One Heart Center, Two Attacks
New Keck School-based institute pushes boundaries of cardiovascular and thoracic research and patient care.
A new institute
at the Keck School of Medicine of USC is waging high-tech warfare
against the leading cause of death among American men and women – heart
to Keck School dean Brian Henderson, the USC Cardiovascular Thoracic
Institute is an important new initiative for the medical school,
bringing clinicians and scientists together to work more
collaboratively than before possible.
is an exciting time for cardiovascular medicine,” Henderson says. “Our
faculty are pushing the boundaries of their field. They are exploring
new methods to better treat our patients, including the development and
refinement of new technologies.”
those new technologies are innovative robotic therapy and heart valve
replacements. At the same time, scientific faculty associated with the
institute are exploring new research opportunities in vascular biology
and regenerative medicine.
findings will be rapidly translated into patient care, thanks to the
collaboration between our physicians and scientists, who share core
facilities and other resources within the institute,” says Vaughn
Starnes, the institute’s newly appointed executive director. A
nationally recognized heart expert, he also chairs the school’s
department of cardiothoracic surgery.
institute combines clinical faculty – cardiologists, vascular surgeons
and other specialists providing advanced patient-care – and scientific
faculty pursuing research that can lead to better treatments and
preventive therapies. Services include everything from screenings,
diagnostic tests, innovative non-invasive treatments to specialized
therapies like transplant surgery.
are dedicated to improving the statistics concerning cardiovascular and
thoracic disease,” says Starnes. “Whatever the level of care patients
need, our team will design and implement the health plan that works
best for them.”
– Jane Brust
|Starnes in surgery
Photo by Don Milici
›› TOP ACCOUNTANT The U.S.Securities and Exchange Commission has named Zoe-Vonna Palmrose
of the USC Leventhal School of Accounting and USC Marshall School of
Business as deputy chief accountant for professional practice.
Palmrose, an expert on financial reporting and auditing, will be on
leave from her position at USC as the PricewaterhouseCoopers Professor
of Auditing. In her new role, she will oversee the commission’s work
with respect to auditstandards and independence and will serve as
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board liaison.
›› STARR POWER The U.S. Senate recently confirmed the presidential nomination of USC historian Kevin Starr
to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. The
24-member board advises the Institute of Museum and Library Services,
an independent agency that is the primary source of federal support for
the nation’s museums and libraries. Starr, who is State Librarian
Emeritus of California, is one of five new members appointed and will
serve on the board through 2009.
›› TAX TAMER Elizabeth Garrett,
newly named vice president for academic planning and budget at USC, was
appointed last year by President Bush to the nine-member bipartisan
Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Garrett, an expert in budget and
tax policy and director of the USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law
and Politics, helped develop recommendations for revising the U.S. tax
code. She served with eight others, including former Senators Connie
Mack (R-Fla.) and John B. Breaux (D-La.), leaders of the advisory
›› SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN Congress has confirmed USC neuroscientist Richard Thompson
for membership on the National Science Board. The 24-member board may
be the most influential science policy group in the country, directing
the National Science Foundation and advising the president and Congress
on scientific and policy matters. Thompson, who underwent an
exhaustive, six-month security screening process in advance of the
nomination by President Bush, is one of only five members from west of
For the latest on USC faculty and administrative news, visit www.usc.edu/uscnews/
›› WHAT CAUSES MS? Both geography and genes play a part, according to a Keck School of Medicine study published in the online Annals of Neurology.
The research, which followed 700 pairs of twins diagnosed with multiple
sclerosis, suggests that living far north of the equator significantly
increases the risk of developing the disease. Yet identical twins are
more at risk than fraternal twins, prompting Thomas Mack, the study’s lead author, to propose that “some environmental exposure ... is interacting with the genes.”
›› WEIGHT AND SEE
Teens at risk of developing diabetes can prevent or delay its onset
through strength-training exercise, a USC study has found. Research led
by Michael Goran, professor of preventive medicine in the Keck School, and published in Medicine and Science of Sports Exercise
showed that overweight Latino teenagers who lifted weights twice a week
for 16 weeks significantly reduced their insulin resistance –
acondition in which their bodies don’t respond to insulin and can’t
process sugars properly.
›› PROSTATE GENE
Researchers at USC and Harvard have identified a DNA segment of
chromosome 8 that’s associated with an increased risk of prostate
cancer. The segment is more common in African-American men, who are
known to be at higher risk of developing prostate cancer at a younger
age. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science,
does not identify the actual gene responsible for increased prostate
cancer risk. But earlier studies implicate the same region, says the
study’s co-lead author, Keck scientist Christopher Haiman.
›› TRIPLE BYPASS
A $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will enable
researchers from three USC schools to protect at-risk adults from
arterial plaque buildup, which leads to heart attack and stroke. The
researchers aim to identify and treat clinically asymptomatic people in
the prime of life before they develop acute coronary syndromes. The
Keck School’s Howard Hodis is collaborating with Tzung Hsiai of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Enrique Cadenas of the School of Pharmacy to spearhead innovative new approaches.
For the latest USC faculty research updates, visit www.usc.edu/uscnews/
A team of 80 at Childrens Hospital LA successfully separate conjoined twin girls during 22 hours of surgery.
and Renata Salinas Fierros, now 15 months old, are thriving toddlers
after the formerly conjoined sisters were successfully separated during
22 hours of surgery last June. Nearly 80 health care professionals at
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles – including general, orthopedic and
plastic surgeons and anesthesiologists from the Keck School of Medicine
of USC, as well as nurses and other caregivers – participated in the
team effort to separate the girls, who were born joined at the
mid-abdomen and pelvis and facing each other.
the surgery is over, the exciting part begins,” says James E. Stein,
the pediatric surgeon who led the operation. “To watch the girls grow
up, developing as individuals playing together and apart – that’s when
we realize how lucky we are to do what we do.”
Regina and Renata were ischiopagus twins – among the rarest and most
difficult to separate because they’re connected by many organ systems.
The girls shared a liver, intestines and urinary, reproductive and
vascular systems. Their pelvic bones were also fused.
The Fierros twins were considered the ideal age to undergo the surgery.
“Their tissues and bones at this age tend to be both firm and pliable
enough – and also of a reasonable size – to manipulate them easily,”
says Stein. If the surgery had not been performed, the twins’ anatomy
would, over time, have limited their quality of life, impeding their
ability to walk and to develop normally.
“There are also psycho-social issues of separation and identity
involved in separating conjoined twins more than one year old,” Stein
He was joined by Keck surgeons Cathy Shin and Donald B. Shaul. Other
USC faculty included Dominic Femino, who led the orthopedic team; John
Gross, plastic surgery team leader; and William McIlvaine, who was in
charge of the anesthesia team.
The twins’ mother, Sonia Fierros, 23, says it was strange to see them
lying in their own beds. “It’s weird because I was used to seeing them
together,” she says, adding that she used to sing the girls a lullaby
before the surgery about a day when they would sleep in their own beds,
far away from each other.
The girls were born at LAC+USC Medical Center on Aug. 2, 2005, and were
transferred to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles the following day. They
have been seen regularly at Childrens since their birth, and underwent
various diagnostic procedures, a reversible colostomy and the insertion
of “tissue expanders” to gain additional skin and soft tissue to close
the open wounds after the separation surgery.
Running the Numbers
Facts about Conjoined Twins
|Female to Male Ratio
|Rate of Occurrence
||1 in 40,000 births
||more in Africa than U.S.
||genetic and environmental
||75% stillborn or die in first day
* The Mutter Museum, Philadelpha, PA
|After the surgery, Regina and Renata for the first time in their lives slept in separate cribs.
Photo by Bob Riha Jr.
That Ping of Pleasure
The brain’s craving for a fix – which satisfies an itch – makes the organ work quicker in its quest for knowledge.
Neuroscientists have proposed a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix.
“click” of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards
the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances, explains Irving
you’re trying to understand a difficult theorem, it’s not fun,” says
the neuroscience professor in USC’s College of Letters, Arts and
Sciences. “But once you get it, you just feel fabulous.”
brain’s craving for a fix motivates people to maximize the rate at
which they absorb knowledge, Biederman argues in an invited article for
a recent issue of American Scientist.
“I think we’re exquisitely tuned to this as if we’re junkies, second by second,” he says.
hypothesizes that “knowledge addiction” has strong evolutionary value
because mate selection correlates closely with perceived intelligence.
Only more pressing material needs – such as hunger – can suspend the
quest for knowledge.
same mechanism is involved in the aesthetic experience, Biederman
believes, offering a neurological explanation for the pleasure we
derive from art.
“This account may provide a plausible and very simple mechanism for aesthetic and perceptual and cognitive curiosity.”
theory was inspired by a widely ignored 25-year-old finding that
mu-opioid receptors – binding sites for natural opiates – increase in
density along the ventral visual pathway, part of the brain involved in
image recognition and processing.
receptors are tightly packed in the areas of the pathway linked to
comprehension and interpretation of images, but sparse in areas where
visual stimuli first hit the cortex.
Biederman’s theory holds that the greater the neural activity in the areas rich in opioid receptors, the greater the pleasure.
a series of functional magnetic resonance imaging trials with human
volunteers exposed to a wide variety of images, Biederman’s research
group found that strongly preferred images prompted the greatest brain
activity in more complex areas of the ventral visual pathway.
also found that repeated viewings of an attractive image lessened both
the rating of pleasure and the level of activity in the opioid-rich
areas. He calls this “competitive learning” or “Neural Darwinism.”
In competitive learning, the first presentation of an image activates many neurons: some strongly, most only weakly.
repetition, the connections to the strongly activated neurons grow in
strength. But these neurons inhibit their weakly activated neighbors,
causing a net reduction in brain activity. This reduction, Biederman’s
research shows, parallels the decline in the pleasure felt during
advantage of competitive learning is that the inhibited neurons are now
free to code for other stimulus patterns,” he writes.
This preference for novel concepts also has evolutionary value.
system is essentially designed to maximize the rate at which you
acquire new but [understandable] information. Once you have acquired
the information, you [had] best spend your time learning something
else,” he says. “There’s this incredible selectivity that we show in
real time. Without thinking about it, we pick out experiences that are
richly interpretable but novel.”
– Carl Marziali
|Illustration by Michael Klein
[ BEATING HIV ] Binding Results
A discovery by the research team of USC pharmaceutical scientist Nouri Neamati holds out new hope for AIDS patients. Appearing on the cover of the June 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
the study identifies a new drug-binding site in a viral enzyme – called
“integrase” – critical for HIV replication. “Targeting this enzyme with
a viable drug has the potential to reduce the viral load in infected
individuals and act synergistically with currently used drug regimens,”
says Neamati. This is the first study to identify an alternative
drug-binding site in the protein. Such discoveries could have a major
impact in the design of future antiviral drugs and enhance the arsenal
in the continuing fight against the AIDS virus. Currently, there are no
FDA-approved drugs targeting integrase for HIV treatment.
– Kukla Vera
For more information on this research, visit www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/12559.html
College researcher tracks the Genghis Khan route to study how conquest affected treatment of women.
Bettine Birge was in the ninth grade when her grandmother asked if any of the grandchildren could accompany her on a trip to Asia.
of the older grandchildren could make it. Bettine, a math whiz who had
never traveled, eagerly volunteered. That long-ago sojourn through
Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore profoundly impressed the
teenager, now an associate professor of East Asian languages and
cultures and history at USC College.
Birge wrote Women, Property and Confucian Reaction in Sung and Yüan China
(960-1368) (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and has shed new light
on the alarming treatment of women in China – and how foreign rule
became the catalyst.
the next two years, Birge will step up her research by mastering the
Mongolian language and following the route of the Genghis Khan
conquest, studying archaeological excavations along the way.
has been given an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions
Fellowship, a $208,000 award that will help Birge to further dispel
myths in the communist state, where the trafficking and sale of women
as brides or into prostitution, and female infanticide are commonplace,
according to Birge.
research] puts a different perspective on prevailing belief systems
regarding women,” Birge says, examining a tiny silk shoe once worn by a
Chinese woman during the now-banned tradition of foot binding.
practices are not Chinese traditions, as professed to be,” she adds.
“So it’s no longer a valid argument for maintaining such inequality.”
USC College scholar since 1990, Birge has centered her research on the
Mongol invasion of China in the 13th century. Western and Chinese
scholars have long believed that the Mongol conquest had no lasting
effect on Chinese culture or social structure.
“On the contrary,” Birge says, “the Mongol invasion fomented profound changes across Chinese society.”
the Mongol occupation drastically transformed China’s marriage and
property laws pertaining to women. Prior to the Mongol-Yüan dynasty,
women’s rights had been improving, Birge says, moving away from
women’s financial and personal autonomy was dramatically altered during
the Mongol rule. Power was shifted from the woman and her family to her
husband’s family. Among other inequities, this power shift paved the
way for the practice of widow chastity in late imperial China.
emergence of the cult of widow chastity, thought to represent
traditional Chinese Confucian values,” Birge says, “actually owed much
to the foreign occupation.”
attitudes toward women deteriorated and extended into later dynasties,
she adds. “In the 13th and early 14th centuries, issues of marriage,
incest, property control, personal autonomy, control of reproduction
and rights of widows entered a contested sphere of conflicting values.”
Birge says. “[These conflicts are] seen in legal challenges and court
battles leading to long-term changes in the law.”
a result of the fellowship, the scholar will expand her expertise
beyond traditional Sinology. Birge, who speaks and writes fluent
Chinese, Japanese and French and commands good German, will study the
Mongolian language, classical and modern. She also will be trained in
visual culture and archaeology. She spent most of the summer conducting
research in China and Mongolia, where she also found time to celebrate
the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Mongolian state with
Mongolia’s president, Nambaryn Enkhbayar. She will later return to
Mongolian language is key to Birge’s research. To understand the
Mongolian empire, Mongolian language materials, mostly epigraphs, must
be studied. Visual culture was an important part of Mongol rule. Recent
archaeological finds are changing the perception of the Mongol empire.
additional training, I’ll be in a position to include visual materials
in my analysis,” she says. “And I’ll be able to incorporate fully into
my research the new perspectives archeology offers.”
– Pamela J. Johnson
|Illustration by Tim Bower
[ CHAIR MEN ] Unforgettable Faculty
Three endowed chairs will honor the lasting influence of Robert G. Kirby, A.N. “Andy” Mosich and James McN. Stancill,
who as teachers and role models, each have had enormous impact on the
USC Marshall School of Business and generations of its students. The
Robert G. Kirby Chair was established in Kirby’s memory with $3.76
million in gifts from 17 family members, friends and colleagues. A
former chairman of the Capital Guardian Trust Co. of Los Angeles, Kirby
was a frequent guest lecturer at USC Marshall and the school’s first
executive-in-residence. The James McN. Stancill Chair in Business
Administration was established with a $2.5 million gift from Robert and
Sue Rodriguez. Stancill, who wrote Working Capital Management and Entrepreneurial Finance: For New and Emerging Businesses,
began teaching finance at USC Marshall in 1964. And more than $3
million has been raised for the A.N. Mosich Chair at USC’s Leventhal
School of Accounting. It pays tribute to a beloved professor and past
president of the American Accounting Association.
For a complete list of endowed chairs at USC, visit www.usc.edu/about/faculty/endowed_chairs.html
A Conversation with T.C. Boyle
The Road to Swellville
The prolific author and longtime USC professor talks about books, TV, teaching and footwear.
his wildly successful books and short stories, Thomas Coraghessan Boyle
displays a restless imagination, but in his personal life, he is
unfailingly loyal. He’s known his best friend since age 3, has remained
with the same agent and publisher for decades and “is the only author
with the same wife,” he jokes. USC is another long relationship for
him. Boyle, who holds a Ph.D. in 19th-century British literature and an
MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has been teaching at USC since
1978. All three of his children are Trojans. Kerrie Kvashay-Boyle, who
graduated in 2001, has her own soaring fiction-writing career. Milo
(who designed his father’s Web site) is getting a master’s in computer
science, and Spencer is steeped in literature and film as a Thematic
Option student. Boyle’s 11th novel, Talk Talk (Penguin), about identity theft, is a bestseller. He resides in Santa Barbara. Recently, he spoke with USC Trojan Family Magazine’s Allison Engel.
Why do you teach?
Because it is my love and my privilege. I have been teaching since I
was 21, and I hope to continue as long as I can. Throughout my life I
have had mentors who helped me find my way – in junior high, high
school, undergrad and grad school – people who inspired and guided me.
I hope to perform the same function for my students – and to help keep
alive the love for literature that burns in me.
What can universities do to develop the creative writing obsessive-compulsive disorder in students?
My, my. You've taken one of my jokes and thrown it back at me. Yes, a
fanatical devotion to the arts – an obsessive-compulsive disorder, if
you will – is necessary to the production of great work and to the
continued stimulation necessary to a long and evolving career. What can
we do? Show the students the very best examples of writing and coach
them on their way.
How have the students changed over the years you’ve been at USC?
In my field – the arts – the students are very similar now to what they
were then. There is a great pool of talent in writing, and I’m happy to
be involved in it. If there is a difference, it’s in the fact that the
students are perhaps more attuned to the ways of a creative writing
workshop today for the simple reason that more workshops have been
available to them over the course of their education.
the consternation of many other fiction writers, you are incredibly
prolific. You also don’t watch television. Are the two connected? Is
there anything on television you are curious to see? I am a bit of
a crank, I admit. Until I went off to college at 17, I was part of a
household in which the TV was on all the time. In college, I discovered
that there was more to life than TV. And so I refuse to watch any
prime-time programming. Yes, yes, I know I’ve missed great things, but
let me be a crank. I do watch PBS once in a while, I love the old movie
channel, and I do watch the Dodgers and Angels usually sans sound, with music and a book.
What is your daily reading diet? I start with two newspapers: the L.A. Times and the Santa Barbara News Press.
Then I re-read what I’ve written the previous day. Then I work. When
that’s over, I do something physical: yard work, hiking, swimming,
snorkeling. Then I make dinner, read, maybe watch a movie, sleep. This
last is important: I need my rest, as we all do; and I sleep well,
you’ll be happy to know, as a result of having a clean conscience.
Do you have any completed novels stashed away?
No. I have been lucky to be able to move from novels to short stories
and back, finding a rhythm that has allowed me to publish a book every
year or so.
Why red shoes?
I got my first pair of these (red Converse high tops) in 1995, but I’ve
always worn red shoes. I think shoes should be red. I also think cars
should be red. My colors are black, white and red.
T.C. Boyle teaches two undergraduate advanced fiction classes and one graduate class in USC College.
|Photo by Philip Channing
›› ENTREPRENEUR John Mork
BS ’70, CEO of Denver-based Energy Corporation of America, has been
elected to the USC Board of Trustees. He became a member of the USC
Viterbi School of Engineering’s Board of Councilors in 2002, and in
2003 he received the school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Last year,
the engineering school named the Mork Family Department of Chemical
Engineering and Materials Science in recognition of a $15 million gift
from the Mork family.
|›› ACTRESS Michele Dedeaux Engemann
BA ’68, president-elect of the USC Alumni Association, is a new member
of the USC Board of Trustees. An accomplished actress who has performed
with the Nine O’Clock Players Theatre for Children in Los Angeles,
Engemann earned her degree from the USC School of Theatre. She was the
founding chair of its Board of Councilors and remains on that board.
Her late father, Rod Dedeaux, coached the Trojan baseball team for 45
years. Her family foundation has provided financial support to the USC
School of Theatre’s building fund and the USC Baseball Hall of Fame at
|›› PROFESSOR Elizabeth Garrett,
who has served for the past year as vice provost for academic affairs,
was named by USC President Steven B. Sample to the newly created
position of vice president for academic planning and budget. Garrett is
the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics,
Political Science, and Policy, Planning and Development. She is a
nationally recognized authority on federal budget policy with wide
experience in academic administration and finance. In her new role at
USC, she will continue to report to the provost and help optimize the
link between the university’s academic objectives and resource
allocation. Garrett is also director of the USC-Caltech Center for the
Study of Law.
For a complete list of USC trustees, senior officers and deans, visit www.usc.edu/about/administration
Public relations exec pursues a ‘secular ministry’ to connect Angelenos with their city’s nonprofits.
success at attracting clients, honors and ever-expanding Rolodexes full
of acquaintances comes from ignoring conventional wisdom. Take, for
example, the myth that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Terzian
’57 has turned the free meal into an art form. Every day, the head of
Carl Terzian Associates, the Brentwood PR firm he founded 38 years ago,
personally invites a small number of diverse Angelenos, both
established and newcomers, to attend roundtable lunches, breakfasts or
cocktail parties. At these events, held in the city’s swankiest hotels
and private clubs, there is no pressure to buy anything, commit to any
cause or do anything but talk to a few strangers.
The meals are paid for by nonprofit and for-profit clients looking for
prospective volunteers, donors, board members or business
opportunities. Each participant leaves with a stack of business cards
and brief accounts, scribbled on the back side of their business card,
of each attendee’s outside interests. Through these cards come future
business contacts, volunteer opportunities, friendships and more. There
have been 17 marriages launched at a Terzian table.
year-round networking events have plugged literally thousands of
newcomers into the greater Los Angeles community, and helped hundreds
of nonprofit groups find new, energetic board members. Although the
bulk of his company’s work is traditional public relations and crisis
management services, aiding nonprofits is what’s dearest to Terzian’s
heart. He calls it a “secular ministry.”
is a gem because you can come from anywhere quickly and make a
difference,” he says, noting the city holds 35,000 nonprofits. “Today,
we’re also seeing younger people on nonprofit boards, which is
was born into the Trojan Family. His father received his pharmacy
degree here, and his mother worked on campus for three decades, as an
executive secretary to the vice president of student affairs and the
director of the student health service. His first client in 1969 was
Norris Industries, headed by Kenneth T. Norris Sr., later head of USC’s
Board of Trustees. Terzian helped launch the USC Norris Comprehensive
talks about the strengths of USC and its professors, but it’s also who
sits to your left and right in the classroom,” says Terzian. “I can
attribute a lot of whatever ability and interests I have to the
influence USC was in my life.”
– Allison Engel
|Carl Terzian sees Los Angeles as a welcoming place filled with people interested in community engagement and helping others.
Photo by Philip Channing
The shape-shifting evolution of the USC neighborhood is a tale of titans and visionaries – and one lovable cat.
A University and a Neighborhood:
University of Southern California
in Los Angeles, 1880-1984
By Curtis C. Roseman, Ruth Wallach, Dace Taube, Linda McCann, Geoffrey DeVerteuil and Claude Zachary
FIGUEROA PRESS, $45
THE STORY OF
how Felix the Cat came to dominate the corner of Jefferson and Figueroa
is one of the more offbeat chapters in this “warts and all” tale of how
a university and a neighborhood grew up together in Los Angeles.
Published by USC’s Figueroa Press and sold at the Trojan Bookstores, A University and a Neighborhood: University of Southern California in Los Angeles, 1880-1984 recounts the spirited growth of USC and its surrounding neighborhood – and the interdependency that resulted.
book is not just a collection of historical and rarely seen
photographs, but a story on the evolution of the neighborhood,” says
USC professor emeritus Curt Roseman, who co-authored it with fellow
geographer Geoffrey DeVerteuil and USC librarians Ruth Wallach, Dace
Taube, Linda McCann and Claude Zachary. “We can’t be separate from the
place in which we dwell – this is a foundation of the book.”
the book’s foreword, USC President Steven B. Sample writes: “It is an
intricate mosaic depicting an interdependent community that has grown,
and grown up, with one another, certainly with the occasional tumbles
and bumps, but most often with the vigor and innovation that come from
a healthy symbiotic relationship.”
a mosaic, hundreds of historical photos and early maps piece together
the story – the good, the bad and the ugly – of how a few buildings
evolved into a major research institution surrounded by a vibrant
found a great variety of interesting images, some that we didn’t know
existed,” Roseman says. “The stories in the book were driven in part by
the images we uncovered.”
the 1880s, USC was largely confined to three buildings on a small
campus. But Los Angeles was destined to grow: the arrival of the
Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe railroads prompted a real estate boom
in the 1890s. Many wealthy homesteaders put up mansions on Adams
1920s buildings marched up University Avenue (now Trousdale Parkway) in
a fashion that, architect John Parkinson thought, reflected the “city
of automobiles,” which Los Angeles swiftly was becoming. He envisioned
college buildings lined up along a major boulevard connecting
Exposition Park to downtown Los Angeles.
the end of World War II, the campus was expanding to the east and west.
Roseman, an expert in ethnic migration, tells of the poor and
middle-class African Americans who were displaced by the expansion of
the university during the Hoover Redevelopment Project’s “urban
renewal” efforts in the 1960s.
the disruption of the neighborhood bred ill feelings among some in the
community, many believe the university redeemed itself with the
development of hundreds of community-service programs in later decades
– ambitious projects to strengthen the neighborhood that helped USC win
Time magazine’s “College of the Year” distinction in 2000.
through the neighborhood’s history are tales of compelling places and
colorful titans: including E.L. Doheny, who donated more than $1
million – a staggering sum at the time – to build Doheny Memorial
Library in memory of his son; the somewhat illicit activities at
Agricultural Park before it became Exposition Park; and the 1926
opening of the second Shrine Auditorium (the first had been destroyed
by fire in 1920). At the time, the 6,000-seat theater was the largest
in the nation.
then there’s Felix the Cat, who has held sway at the intersection of
Figueroa and Jefferson since 1958. Hoping to increase sales by linking
his dealership with the plucky feline of silent-film fame, owner
Winslow B. Felix requested (and received) permission from its creator
to adorn his business with the popular cartoon character’s image – in
exchange for a new car.
is head of USC’s Architecture and Fine Arts Library; Taube is the
regional history collection librarian for USC’s specialized libraries
and archival collections; McCann is a librarian and researcher
specializing in the history of California in the 20th century;
DeVerteuil is assistant professor of environmental geography at the
University of Manitoba; and Zachary is USC’s university archivist and
– Karen Newell Young
|Figueroa and Jefferson, 1924.
[ IN PRINT ] Herbal Help
it comes to alternative therapies, many doctors and patients have a
“don’t ask and don’t tell” relationship, says gerontologist Edward L. Schneider.
An unhealthy consequence of this disconnect is harmful interactions,
since alternative therapies can interfere with prescription medicines.
Another consequence is that patients don’t learn about existing
alternative therapies that work. Schneider and co-author Leigh Ann
Hirschman have written a no-nonsense guide, What Your Doctor Hasn’t Told You and the Health Store Clerk Doesn’t Know (Penguin
Group, $19.95), that rates alternative health therapies, offering
guidance on what to buy and what to avoid. An appendix cites journal
articles and Web sites backing up recommendations. Schneider, who has
faculty appointments at USC’s Davis School of Gerontology and the Keck
School of Medicine of USC, says he doesn’t “take a penny” from either
the pharmaceutical or alternative-medicine industries, so he has no ax
For more information on Edward L. Schneider, visit www.usc.edu/dept/gero/faculty/Schneider
Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left:
Radical Activism in Los Angeles
By Laura Pulido
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, $21.95
her comparative study of Third World radicalism in Los Angeles during
the 1960s and ’70s, Laura Pulido – a researcher in geography, American
studies and ethnicity – examines the Black Panther Party, El Centro de
Acción Social y Autónomo and East Wind, a Japanese American
organization. Her exploration of the relationship between race, racial
hierarchies and political activism earned Pulido USC’s 2006 Phi Kappa
Phi Faculty Recognition Award.
|Cinema at the End of
Empire: A Politics of Transition
in Britain and India
By Priya Jaikumar
DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS, $22.95
studies tend to focus on nationality, but history is also a cogent
force in the industry. The cinemas of Britain and India during the late
colonial period were intertwined in their histories, contends USC film
scholar Priya Jaikumar. The styles and regulations on movies imposed by
each government during this politically turbulent time both reflected
and shaped imperial relations, she argues in her book.
|Business Fairy Tales: Grim Realities
of Fictitious Financial Reporting
By Cecil W. Jackson
SOUTH-WESTERN EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING, $40
fraud and deception are the focus of this new book by USC accounting
expert Cecil W. Jackson. He describes the top-20 accounting tricks of
American corporations, taken from true stories involving such
heavyweights as WorldCom, Enron and Xerox. Jackson examines the
companies as well as their leaders to help readers spot potential red
flags and protect themselves from victimization.
Faculty books can be purchased at the Trojan Bookstores, 213-740-9030 or www.uscbookstore.com
Pink, White and Blue Collar
Who’s On Top?
American business gets a discouraging report card from two long-time USC observers.
The New American Workplace
By James O’Toole and Edward E. Lawler III
ST. MARTIN’S PRESS, $27.95
In 1972, a workplace
study that James O’Toole and Edward Lawler of the USC Marshall School
of Business helped publish made front-page news nationwide.
Praised by The New York Times and condemned by The Wall Street Journal,
the report showed that working conditions of the day were damaging the
physical and mental health of many Americans, leading to low
productivity and poor product quality. Corporations responded to the
report’s call for reform, transforming the workplace over the next
The New American Workplace
documents these dramatic changes. The book addresses offshoring,
outsourcing, technology, work-family balance, medical and retirement
benefits, executive compensation, immigration and education.
and Lawler find that American workers today face an increasing number
of choices concerning which careers to pursue, what kind of education
to obtain, where to work, when to change jobs and how to mesh work and
family life. At the same time, employers have shifted much of the
burden of risk to workers. The book points out that if workers make
poor decisions, their job security, health care and retirement will be
biggest workplace winners, according to O’Toole and Lawler, are top
executives in major corporations, who are paid hundreds of times more
than their average employees, contributing to growing economic
women, on the other hand, have come a long way since 1972. “The
government does not even keep statistics on ‘secretaries’ anymore, and
the great majority of women are no longer trapped in low-paying
‘women’s jobs’ as they were in the past,” the authors write. “The
gender-wage gap has closed remarkably – particularly as women are now
more likely than men to attend college and, thus, get better jobs.”
clearest losers are the poorly educated 5 to 10 percent of the
population whose low-skill manufacturing jobs are disappearing with the
unions that once protected them. Although Americans say their job
satisfaction is higher today, they report having to work harder, with
increasing levels of job-induced stress.
Americans don’t want to retire, the authors note, and many others are
financially unable to retire. As a result, there’s unlikely to be a
shortage of workers as Baby Boomers enter retirement age.
– Pamela J. Johnson
|Photo by Mark Tanner
Art & Culture
Lighting a Spark
Breakdancing, a ‘spoken-word’ performance and a live DJ set the tone for USC’s new Visions and Voices program.
“Ultimately, life is art.”
With that pithy observation, USC Provost C. L. Max Nikias kicked off
the program everyone at USC has been buzzing about for close to a year.
the afternoon of August 18 – smack in the middle of Welcome Week –
Bovard Auditorium filled with curious students, faculty and spectators
to see what Visions and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative
was all about.
This is “not just to entertain or
inspire,” said Nikias in his opening remarks, “but to challenge you to
the core of your being.”
the program ignited with “Spark!” – a multimedia showcase featuring an
hour of breakdancing, spoken-word performances and independent film
dazzlingly lit extravaganza touched on several of the major themes of
the year’s programming: most notably, the role technology plays in the
arts. “Spark!” opened with the sounds of DJ Faust, named one of the top
five “turntablists” in the world by Spin magazine. Next up was
SickStep, an Asian-American breakdance and hip-hop dance crew that
brings elegant athleticism to a pop art form.
showcase also featured four experimental short films, each exploring
different aspects of technology’s role in the arts and humanities. A
monologue by actress and USC alumna Chastity Dotson charted the
downward spiral of a young woman seduced by drugs and excessive
The final act,
Javon Johnson’s spoken-word performance of soul-baring lyrics and
rapid-fire delivery, brought the audience to its feet. The national
poetry slam champion told the audience he uses the arts as a way to
confront his demons.
audience and artists gathered outside Bovard to mingle at an outdoor
reception to the strains of a live USC Thornton School of Music jazz
– Lauren Walser
To learn more about Visions and Voices and to see a listing of upcoming events, visit www.usc.edu/visionsandvoices.
|SickStep performs at “Spark!”
Photo by Mark Berndt
›› Verdi Requiem
Conductor William Dehning MA ’67, DMA ’71, who retires this year, makes
his farewell appearance with the USC Thornton Choral Artists in a
complete performance of Verdi’s sumptuous death mass, backed by the USC
Thornton Symphony. November 9, Bovard Auditorium.
›› Schindler Juden Voices from the List
relates the true story of Oskar Schindler, as told by the Jews he
saved. Filmmakers James Moll and Mike Mayhew, who relied exclusively on
testimonies from the archives of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute,
join three of the survivors featured in their documentary for a special
screening followed by an open discussion of the ethics of Schindler’s
actions. November 12, Norris Theatre.
›› Powder Her Face
USC Thornton Opera presents the chamber opera sensation by Thomas Adès,
set in the glittering salon and scandalous boudoir of Margaret, Duchess
of Argyll – whose divorce trial drew gasps in the 1950s. The composer
conducts an orchestra made up of USC Thornton and L.A. Philharmonic
players. November 17-19, Bing Theatre.
›› Spike Lee The critically acclaimed director of Summer of Sam, She’s Gotta Have It, Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing
describes his experiences making technically original, politically
inspired and often controversial movies in risk-averse Hollywood.
Hosted by Visions and Voices, this event includes a panel discussion
with Lee and USC faculty, followed by an audience Q & A. November 28, Bovard Auditorium.
›› Peter Pan
The USC Repertory Dance directed by Margo Apostolos puts a
postmodern-day twist on the classic J.M. Barrie tale in “Peter Pan:
Dancing Through Neverland. November 30-December 1, Bing Theatre.
›› World Press Photo 2006
USC hosts the Los Angeles stop of this international tour featuring the
year’s best news photography. The month-long show opens with a
reception featuring a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning
photographers on the power of images to transform and transfix. January 11, Annenberg Auditorium.
For daily updates on USC events and other campus happenings, visit www.usc.edu/calendar