|arbara and Roger Rossier two Southern California educators whose expertise with academically, socially and emotionally delayed children laid the groundwork for a multimillion-dollar enterprise started the school year by giving $20 million to USCs School of Education, now named the Barbara J. and Roger W. Rossier School of Education. Its a gift they hope will keep on giving.
Barbara Rossier, president of Rossier Enterprises and chairman of the schools Board of Councilors, wants their action to inspire others to support education.
This countrys future rests on the education of its youth, she says. We are duty-bound to provide an excellent educational opportunity to every American child. In addition to supporting our nations schools, we must support the universities that are preparing the educators who, in turn, are developing and guiding our children.
USC President Steven B. Sample called the Rossiers gift a boon to Southern California and the nation, as it will enable USC to take a greater leadership role in promoting excellence in urban education.
THIS IS A ROLE THAT USC has been playing for the past century. When the population of Los Angeles swelled from 11,000 to 70,000 between 1880 and 1888, the Los Angeles public school system struggled to cope with the growth spurt. It found a ready partner in the faculty of a fledgling university that had been founded just a decade earlier. By the time USCs Department of Pedagogy had evolved into a Department of Education in 1909, the citys high school population had nearly tripled.
Now 90 years later, the USC Rossier School of Education is still helping schools cope with a student population that is not only increasingly poor but increasing outright.
Just as they were nearly a hundred years ago, our graduates are the leaders in redefining quality and excellence in urban education today, says Guilbert C. Hentschke, dean of the school.
Over the next year, the schools faculty and administrators will be developing a strategic plan to decide the best use of the $20 million gift from the Rossiers. But school officials know that they will not stray from the schools long-time allegiance to urban schools.
Barbara and Roger Rossier receive the appreciation of a standing-room-only crowd at the announcement of their gift in support of the USC Rossier School of Education. Leading the applause is Dean Guilbert Hentschke, with California Governor Pete Wilson behind him.
It is urban areas, impacted by tremendous demographic transformation, that require new and better curricula, approaches to teaching, faculty, retention systems and outreach programs, Hentschke says.
IN REMAINING TRUE to its roots, the Rossier School will be tapping a proud history. By the schools calculation, USC has conferred more than a quarter-million degrees in professions that have helped Southern California become a national trend-setter in the areas of educational policy, institutional finance, applied technology and urban educational partnerships. In fact, USC has more education graduates holding the position of superintendent of schools than any other American college or university.
Notable graduates include Ethel Percy Andrus, Ph.D. 30. A local high school principal for 20 years who taught intermittently in an adjunct capacity at her alma mater, Andrus went on to found the American Association of Retired Persons. USCs Andrus Gerontology Center, a research institute for aging, is named in her honor.
The school has produced not one but two best-selling authors. Leo Buscaglia, an education professor for 20 years, burst on the national scene in academic year 1969-70 with Love 1A, a self-actualization course based on the premise that love leads people gently back to themselves. The course earned Buscaglia the title of Teacher of the Year and begot Love the first in a long series of best-sellers, including Personhood, Loving Each Other and The Fall of Freddie the Leaf. Buscaglia known internationally as The Love Doctor and Dr. Hug died this summer at 74.
Laurence J. Peter, hired in 1965 to teach about learning disabilities, developed his 1969 humorous analysis of administrative stultification The Peter Principle while on the USC faculty. His success, which included the 1972 publication of a sequel called The Peter Prescription, eventually took him out of the university world.
Neighborhood children from the USC Family of Five Schools wearing USC Rossier t-shirts created for the occasion provided a rendition of Happy Birthday to open the ceremony.
The school also can take credit for initiating several important university traditions. The origins of USCs summer session can be traced back to teachers and administrators seeking to further their education during their summer breaks. Thomas Blanchard Stowell, the schools first dean, persuaded the university to offer masters degrees and then to establish a definite graduate program. And the first formal career placement services on campus date to the founding in 1917 of USCs Teachers Appointment Registry.
NO WONDER A STANDING-ROOM-only crowd of faculty, staff, students, alumni and other supporters recently gathered in front of Waite Phillips Hall for a 90th anniversary celebration, including a rousing round of Happy Birthday led by neighborhood children accompanied by the Trojan Marching Band.
Our history really reflects the history of this university and of public education and society in general, Hentschke told the crowd. We have always been a private institution with a public purpose. Its a proud history.
USCs Rossier School of Education traces its beginnings to the 1909 founding of USCs department of education under Stowell, who had come to USC after heading a school for teachers in New York.
Two years later, the California State Department of Education granted USC the right to confer high school teaching certificates, thus becoming the third institution in the state (behind Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley) and the first in Southern California to become so accredited, according to a 1930 Los Angeles Times article.
Originally, USCs Department of Education was part of the College of Liberal Arts, the predecessor to todays College of Letters, Arts and Science, but Stowell lobbied successfully for the establishment in 1918 of a separate School of Education.
The following year, the first USC alumna assumed the position of superintendent of the Los Angeles school system. She couldnt have known it at the time, but 1920 L.L.D. graduate Susan M. Dorsey was about to start a proud tradition. With the exception of a four-year period between 1948 and 1954, USC alumni would hold a lock on the job for the next 50 years, according to an unpublished 1970 doctoral dissertation on the schools early history.
After retiring from the deanship, Stowell donated his books to the school, providing the seeds for the schools library, which now is one of the nations largest collections on education with more than 153,900 volumes.