In 1922, USC hosted a Pan-American Conference on Education, the first of its kind at a U.S. institution. While international students had been enrolled at USC since the 1880s, the conference was an outright declaration of our global ideals and our determination to manifest an international presence.
USC’s international leadership was reaffirmed in 1997 when we cofounded the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a consortium that fosters collaboration among 42 premier research universities in 15 countries. Today, the world’s center of gravity continues to shift toward the Pacific Rim and India and away from traditional East Coast and European centers, and USC has emerged as the leading academic institution connecting our nation to this reconfigured world.
Historically, USC has had the largest international enrollment of any American university—our students represent 115 nations—and as a consequence we boast the most international alumni. Every school and department at USC benefits from the rich diversity of international scholars, faculty, and staff who choose to become part of the Trojan Family. In addition to having offices in Sacramento, New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, USC has nine international offices. These offices help to facilitate student recruitment, expand research partnerships and programs, and support international experiences for our students; reinforce connections to our overseas alumni and friends; and ensure that USC’s work is of global consequence.
But our dynamic, interconnected world demands that we develop new strategies to reach and educate future generations of global leaders. We must relentlessly pursue stellar students from all areas of the world, as well as all 50 states; assist them through scholarships; and equip them with the tools they will need to meet tomorrow’s challenges. And we must create physical and virtual spaces for our international students to help them form a community; achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals; and make the most of their USC experience.
More than any other university, we are positioned to become the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual heart of a world that is increasingly tilted to the Pacific. From this endeavor, USC will emerge as the leading laboratory for “East-West” ideas in scholarship, the arts, media, and culture.