Friday, March 21, 2014

USC got its start with 53 students . . .

It was in this rough-and-tumble town of Spaniards, Mexicans, Indians, Europeans, Easterners, and Midwesterners— this pueblo of aspiration and of experiment—that USC got its start with 53 students taught by 10 faculty. They gathered in a two-story building perched on a donated parcel of land that the Los Angeles Daily Herald unenthusiastically described as “covered with a rank growth of mustard.” In those early days the school had no electricity, and students tended wood-burning stoves to earn part of their tuition. Transportation to the university was provided by horse-drawn rigs, including a horse-drawn streetcar that operated on a line established by USC’s principal founder, Robert Maclay Widney. Students had to follow specific rules of conduct that forbade them from leaving town without the permission of the university president, wearing firearms in their classes, and shooting jackrabbits from the platform of the streetcar.

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