Our History

When USC first opened its doors to 53 students and 10 teachers in 1880, the “city” still lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones and a reliable fire alarm system. Today, USC is home to more than 48,000 students and over 4,400 full-time faculty, and is located in the heart of one of the biggest metropolises in the world.

Archival map of Los Angeles with the planned campus of USC from 1894.

Honoring the Past

The front of a building on UPC campus with students walking across the lawn.

USC’s Historical Timeline

Journey through time with USC and discover the university’s transformation from a small college in 1880 to one of world’s leading educational institutions today. Trace its rich history, steeped in tradition and progress, for an inside look at its remarkable growth over the years.

Entrance of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The Trojan Olympic Heritage

USC’s involvement in the Olympics dates back to 1904 when Emil Breitkreutz became the first USC student to compete in the Olympic Games. Since then, USC has had a remarkable history of producing more Olympians, overall medalists and gold medalists than any other university in the United States.