The University of Southern California (USC) opened a new “Capital Campus” in Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood April 19.
The 60,000-square-foot campus, located at 1771 N St. NW, will host both undergraduate and graduate programs for USC students.
USC President Carol Folt said the opening of the new campus, the only USC campus outside Los Angeles, was an exciting development for the university.
“Washington, D.C., is the natural place for us to establish a thriving hub,” Folt said in a March press release announcing the campus’s opening. “Washington, D.C., offers unparalleled opportunities for our experts, researchers and students to learn and listen, connect, and share views on the national stage.”
Folt said the Capital Campus will allow USC to develop its curriculum in fields such as medicine and global politics and increase its connections with over 6,000 alumni in the D.C. area.
“It is a nexus for the arts, public policy organizations, research agencies and foundations,” Folt said of D.C. “We are significantly expanding our academic excellence and innovative research on the East Coast.”
Dylan Chen, an incoming student at USC and native of Southern California, said he believes the new campus will have a significant impact on the undergraduate population.
“I think USC’s new Capital Campus can be a valuable asset to both student networks and programs,” Chen wrote in a message to The Hoya. “With the campus being in the heart of D.C. I’m sure my peers and I’s potential to become a part of a global community will greatly expand.”
Dana Goldman, the dean of USC’s Price School of Public Policy, said the Capital Campus will allow USC students to experience D.C.’s political, academic and cultural environment while retaining ties to the university’s main campus in Los Angeles.
“Undergraduate and graduates will immerse themselves in the politics, business and even the culture of D.C. like never before,” Goldman said in a speech at the opening ceremony. “And if you’re thinking of a career in government service or international relations, what better place to dip your toe in the water to see if it’s the right temperature for you.”
Goldman said the Capital Campus would allow students new opportunities to learn by doing.
“For our students, the Capital Campus will amplify one of USC’s most cherished values: experiential learning,” Goldman wrote. “For journalism students, imagine attending news briefings on Capitol Hill, having a class taught by a press secretary, and breaking news from our own in-house studio.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said she hoped the new campus will encourage development in Dupont Circle, where the district has been searching for ways to repurpose office space. USC’s Capital Campus building was formerly home to the offices of the National Association of Broadcasters.
“The USC Capital Campus will be catalytic for the northern end of D.C.’s Central Business District,” Bowser wrote in a March press release.
The Capital Campus fits into Bowser’s five-year Comeback Plan, which aims to increase growth in the District through investments in medicine, education and government and to increase the population of Downtown D.C., the mayor said.
“The new campus fits into D.C’s Comeback Plan as we emphasize the strong presence of ‘Feds, Eds and Meds’ in the district,” Bowser wrote. “We cannot wait to welcome Trojans to the nation’s capital as together we ‘fight on’ for D.C.’s comeback.”
Folt said USC’s presence in D.C. will boost the District economically, culturally and academically.
“America’s research universities are a cornerstone of our great democracy. We’re the sources of invention and lifesaving discoveries. We’re the holders of civilization’s knowledge,” Folt said at the opening ceremony. “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.”