Dean’s Message

Shaping the World

A Message from SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott

USC President Steven Sample and Dean Knott

Earlier this month, University of Southern California President Steven B. Sample formally announced that he will retire in August 2010. In the few years I have known him, President Sample has led USC with great ability to turn vision into reality, tempered by grace, good humor and humanness.

Over the course of his remarkable presidency, he has shown tremendous commitment – and passion – in leading our university toward scholarly excellence.

President Sample may be best known for his leadership in raising dramatically the academic standards of the university and for his successful fund-raising campaign to build the university endowment. Yet equally important, he showed his strength of character in deciding to keep the university location in downtown Los Angeles in the 1990s, while investing in the community and surrounding neighborhoods.

He also foresaw the development of the global university before other leaders, working to establish the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and serving as the association’s first president. Indeed, President Sample’s vision, leadership style, community involvement, sense of place and international perspective have served the university exceptionally well during a time of extraordinary growth and development.

I wish President Sample and his family good health and much prosperity in the future. If you’d like to read President Sample’s letter to the USC community or view an online photo gallery, please click the following link:

In addition to the news of President Sample’s retirement, I would also like to invite you to read more about significant news from SPPD in this e-newsletter.

Recently, SPPD’s Career Services Office hosted a record-setting networking night event, METRANS held its third annual urban freight conference, and I met with congressional staff members in our nation’s capital. Other stories in this issue include our school’s involvement at the USC Globalization Conference in Taipei and SPPD’s impact elsewhere throughout Asia; and an SPPD alumna whose after-school program is making a difference in the lives of local children.

The newsletter also highlights a study examining the sale of expired foods in low-income areas; a new grant received by the Center for Economic Development; and a National Institutes of Health award for a research project on Latino families with autistic children.

Among the SPPD awards and achievements featured in this newsletter are: Yan Tang’s election to the National Academy of Public Administration; Dana Goldman’s induction to the Institute of Medicine; and DPPD grad Anupama Mann’s recent award for the best dissertation on international planning.

Our faculty and students continue to make headlines in major news publications nationwide, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. And, we are pleased to feature a video on a recent Urban Growth Seminar about the effects of property rights and stabilizing property markets.

As we near the completion of another outstanding Fall semester at SPPD, I am deeply impressed by the myriad accomplishments of our faculty, alumni and staff, not only for your significant contributions to our school, but also for your vital impact in the community — for shaping our world for the better.


Jack H. Knott
C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Dean and Professor
USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Photo by Tom Queally
SPPD Dean Jack H. Knott, left, with USC President Steven B. Sample