University

USC’s big day in D.C.: Trojans celebrate the new Capital Campus

University leaders, friends and dignitaries celebrate USC’s new and notable presence in the nation’s capital — starting with an unforgettable performance by the Spirit of Troy on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

April 19, 2023 Grayson Schmidt

The nation’s capital looked a bit more cardinal and gold Wednesday afternoon. USC officially became bicoastal with the opening of its new Capital Campus in Washington, D.C.

“Today, we’re founding USC’s new Capital Campus here on the belief that a great nation requires great research universities,” USC President Carol L. Folt said in front of a group of more than 300 attendees.

USC Capital Campus opening
Attending the opening event are (from left): Dana Goldman, dean of the USC Price School of Public Policy; USC Trustee Chair Suzanne Nora Johnson; USC President Carol L. Folt; USC Trustee Fred Ryan, publisher of The Washington Post; and Keith Anderson, Washington, D.C., deputy mayor for planning and economic development. (Photo/Mbkphoto).

“Today, we’re bridging from coast to coast — bringing our 22 diverse undergraduate, graduate and professional schools here to more fully join the conversation.”

The USC Capital Campus, located in the heart of the Dupont Circle neighborhood at 1771 N St. NW, places USC at the center of political and academic policy discussions while connecting the university to embassies and diplomatic outposts.

USC Capital Campus: Bringing academic prowess to the East Coast

The campus will bring USC’s academic prowess to the East Coast and provide students with a space to pursue new programs in disciplines such as the sciences, arts, education, political science, communication and journalism.

USC Capital Campus: Band members
Sax players have a unique background as they practice. (Photo/Mbkphoto)

“As a major research university, our faculty’s expertise can have direct relevance to — and even shape — federal policy,” said Dana Goldman, dean of the USC Price School of Public Policy.

Goldman went on to point out how the 2018 bipartisan bill that outlawed pharmacy gag clauses — clauses that prevent pharmacists from telling customers when they can save money by paying cash for their prescriptions — was based on research from the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics. Additionally, Peter Kuhn from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences was among the select advisers who met with President Joe Biden to discuss how to cut the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years.

“There is no substitute for the personal interactions with lawmakers, staffers and regulators that can now take place with greater frequency and depth thanks to this magnificent new campus,” Goldman said.

In fact, the day before the celebration, Folt gave Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser a tour of the USC Capital Campus.

After Wednesday’s festivities kicked off with a noontime performance by the Trojan Marching Band in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Folt and Goldman were joined at the Capital Campus by other USC representatives, including Board of Trustees Chair Suzanne Nora Johnson and Trustee Fred Ryan, publisher of The Washington Post.

Nora Johnson said that USC has a critically important role to play in addressing the serious challenges facing the United States.

“We have the duty to develop the next generation by elevating their knowledge and competence and by exalting their personal ethical values so that they will not only have economic opportunity and security but also so that they will have the moral character to serve others and to navigate a very rapidly changing world,” Nora Johnson said.

USC Capital Campus: the ‘Trojan embassy’

Ryan called the USC Capital Campus “the Trojan embassy,” and referred to USC as a global institution.

“This building is just one example of how USC has thrived and grown under Carol L. Folt’s presidency,” Ryan said.

Folt serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Universities, which is made up of the top research universities in the United States and Canada.

USC Capital Campus: Carol L. Folt
USC President Carol L. Folt speaks at the ceremony opening the USC Capital Campus. (Photo/Mbkphoto)

“America’s research universities are a cornerstone of our great democracy,” Folt said. “We’re the sources of invention and lifesaving discoveries; we’re the holders of civilization’s knowledge; and — together with our cities — we’re the heart and soul of culture. We’re economic engines, and we’re places for discourse and debate about the issues of our day.”

In addition to providing a state-of-the-art office space, multiple event venues and an outdoor terrace offering panoramic views of the D.C. skyline, the 60,000-square-foot building will also be the new home for the USC Office of Research Advancement, which has helped faculty researchers secure federal funding for multidisciplinary research projects since 2006.

USC leaders hope the campus will serve as a hub for Trojans past, present and future. With the opening of Capital Campus, the university plans to increase outreach to the region’s high school and community college students, and current students will have the opportunity to participate in high-level conversations with national and global opinion leaders on the most pressing issues of the day. The campus will also serve as a center for the roughly 6,000 Trojan alumni who live and work in the area, connecting them to their alma mater on the other side of the country.

“We’re eager to work on the biggest issues affecting our country: prosperity, security, innovation and sustainability,” Folt said. “Our students and faculty have always been participants in the discoveries and decisions that matter to humanity — and I think we can agree: What happens in D.C. matters.”

USC Trojan Marching Band performs on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Washington, D.C., on April 19, 2023. (Photo/Bennett Kress)
USC Trojan Marching Band performs on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Washington, D.C. (Photo/Mbkphoto)