USC Price School of Public Policy

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas

Professor of the Practice of Policy and Social Work


State and local governance, civic engagement, community empowerment, organizational development

Biographical sketch

The Honorable Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (Ret.) is Professor of the Practice of Policy and Social Work at the University of Southern California (USC) Sol Price School of Public Policy and Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Ridley-Thomas is a millennial servant-leader, policy analyst, and political advocate. He works with University stakeholders to advance knowledge of diverse populations, intersectional research, the millennial generation, and innovative public policy.

Prior to joining USC Price, Ridley-Thomas served Southwest and West Los Angeles in the California State Assembly for three terms where he chaired the Committees on Revenue & Taxation, Elections & Redistricting, Mental & Behavioral Health, and Homelessness. He sat on the Committee on Health, the State Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission (Proposition 63), and the Milton Marks “Little Hoover” Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy. Ridley-Thomas led the Los Angeles County Legislative Delegation, was Secretary-Treasurer of the California Legislative Black Caucus, and a founding member of the California Millennial Legislative Caucus.

In the Legislature, he promoted responsible fiscal policy with a record four on-time balanced state budgets, authored thirty-eight pieces of law ranging from economic development to civil rights legislation. Ridley-Thomas is a 2009 graduate of Morehouse College, where he majored in sociology and joined Alpha Kappa Delta Honors Society.