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What’s New

Winter 2006

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.

For volleyball 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.”

Haley was 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.

Similar 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.”

Tim 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.

“Having 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.

Both 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.

The 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.

Inside, the arena has many creature comforts, including seven concession stands, eight concession kiosks and a scoreboard with four 22-foot-wide video screens.

In 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.

The 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.

A 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 functions.

The 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.

Athletic 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 21
Square feet (with pavilion) 295,000
Arena seats 10,258
Additional parking spaces 1,200
Concession stands/kiosks 15
22-foot scoreboard video screens 4

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 disease.

According 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.

“This 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.”

Among 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.

“Laboratory 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.

The 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.

“We 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

Capital CONNECTIONS

›› 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 commission.

›› 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 the Rockies.

For the latest on USC faculty and administrative news, visit www.usc.edu/uscnews/



Inquiring MINDS

›› 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/



Lab Work

Separate Cribs

A team of 80 at Childrens Hospital LA successfully separate conjoined twin girls during 22 hours of surgery.

Twins Regina 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.

“Once 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 notes.

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 3:1
Rate of Occurrence 1 in 40,000 births
Global Distribution more in Africa than U.S.
Causes genetic and environmental
Survival 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.

A “click” of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances, explains Irving Biederman.

“While 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.”

The 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.

Biederman 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.

The 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.”

Biederman’s 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.

The 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.

In 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.

He 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.

With 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 repeated viewing.

“One 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.

“The 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



People Watch

Nomads Land

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.

None 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.

For 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.

USC 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.

“[My 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.

“Many practices are not Chinese traditions, as professed to be,” she adds. “So it’s no longer a valid argument for maintaining such inequality.”

A 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.”

Specifically, 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 Confucian ideals.

But 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.

“The emergence of the cult of widow chastity, thought to represent traditional Chinese Confucian values,” Birge says, “actually owed much to the foreign occupation.”

Social 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.”

As 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 Mongolia.

The 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.

“With 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.

In 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.

To 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

Milestones

›› 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 Dedeaux Field.


›› 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



Unconventional Wisdom

Metropolitan Matchmaker

Public relations exec pursues a ‘secular ministry’ to connect Angelenos with their city’s nonprofits.

Carl Terzian’s 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.

His 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.”

“L.A. 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 encouraging.”

Terzian 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 Cancer Center.

“Everyone 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

Shelf Life

Building Blocks

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.

“The 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.”

In 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.”

Like 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 metropolis.

“We 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.”

In 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 Boulevard.

By the 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.

By 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.

While 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.

Interlaced 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.

And 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.

Wallach 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 manuscripts librarian.

– Karen Newell Young


Figueroa and Jefferson, 1924.

[ IN PRINT ] Herbal Help

When 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 to grind.

For more information on Edward L. Schneider, visit www.usc.edu/dept/gero/faculty/Schneider



Book NOTES

Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left:
Radical Activism in Los Angeles
By Laura Pulido
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS, $21.95

In 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

Film 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

Greed, 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 decades.

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.

O’Toole 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 jeopardized.

The 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 inequality.

Working 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.”

The 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.

Many 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.

On 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.”

Appropriately, the program ignited with “Spark!” – a multimedia showcase featuring an hour of breakdancing, spoken-word performances and independent film screenings.

The 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.

The 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 partying.

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.

Afterwards, audience and artists gathered outside Bovard to mingle at an outdoor reception to the strains of a live USC Thornton School of Music jazz trio.

– 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


Now PLAYING

›› 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