About the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

Study at One of the World’s Leading Private Research Universities Highly ranked among both national and worldwide learning institutions, the University of Southern California (USC) fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic and geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge. USC enrolls more international students than any other U.S. university, making it an academic melting pot where students from all over the globe come together to collaborate on leading-edge research.

The Hub of Thought Leadership

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology stands as the epicenter of high-level thought and research in the area of aging. No other school of gerontology in the world offers the critical mass of expertise and experience in this area. More than 1,500 Leonard Davis School alumni contribute to a network of top-level administrators in the most prestigious agencies and organizations related to aging in the country. The close relationships fostered between students, faculty and alumni makes the Leonard Davis School’s academic experience an unparalleled learning environment.

From Humble Beginnings to a Global Epicenter for Research

The University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880 in Los Angeles, during a time when the city still lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones and a reliable fire alarm system. California’s oldest private research university, USC developed alongside the city of Los Angeles—both experiencing parallelism in growth.

A secular institution since 1952, USC began in affiliation with the Methodist Church. But from the very beginning, the school mandated that “no student would be denied admission because of race.” This focus on diversity is still a part of USC’s foundation today.

Having grown from a student body of just 53 in 1880 to more than 38,000 today, USC is home to more international students than any other U.S. university. This can be attributed to its commitment to diversity and its anchor location in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international trade. USC has leveraged Los Angeles to establish professional and academic relationships with fellow research institutions throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, and USC has itself become a leading research institution.

USC Motto

The USC motto is PALMAM QUI MERUIT FERAT, which can be loosely translated from Latin as “let whoever earns the palm bear it.” USC adopted this motto in 1908, when it was incorporated into the design of a new university seal. The motto speaks to qualities that are as inherent to the university today as they were in 1908. The “we-can-do-more” spirit and commitment to open access for all students of merit have contributed to USC earning the palm. The school is focused on the desire to do more for tomorrow no matter how much has been accomplished up until today.

USC Trojans

Students, athletes and alumni are referred to as Trojans, which was epitomized by the Trojan Shrine, nicknamed Tommy Trojan, near the campus center. Prior to 1912, USC students and athletes were known as Fighting Methodists or Wesleyans, despite not gaining official university approval. However, the Trojan name was established during a track and field meet with Stanford University, when the Los Angeles Times reported that USC athletes “fought on like Trojans.”

Today’s Trojans

Still on a mission to positively impact globalization and contribute to societal change, USC stays apace of technology and remains an epicenter for innovative research. USC is classified in the prestigious top 25 of U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of best National Universities.


Nearly 75 percent of the Trojan alumni live in California. There are currently 200,000 living alumni and among these, many have gone on to become prominent scientists, businessmen, engineers, architects, musicians, athletes, actors and politicians. There are more than 100 Trojan alumni groups on five continents in the world.