The Harman Family Foundation made a $10-million gift to endow the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, located in Doheny Memorial Library.
The USC Harman Academy for Polymathic Study comprises students and faculty, who research multidisciplinary topics. The academy programs research topics, such as the relationship between poetry and business and the relationship between space, time and feminism.
The study is named after Sidney Harman, former chairman of the academy and professor of business. Sidney Harman died in 2011 at the age of 92.
President C. L. Max Nikias said the academy programs transcend traditional academic boundaries and encourage creativity, and represent the visions of Sidney Harman.
“At the heart of USC’s academic mission is our commitment to promote not only the study of multiple disciplines, but also to integrate many branches of learning in an effort to expand knowledge and foster new discoveries,” Nikias said in a statement.
Nikias said the donation will encourage students to explore multidisciplinary subjects.
“Sidney Harman was a gifted polymath in his own right and, through this inspiring gift from USC trustee Jane Harman and the Harman Family Foundation, this remarkable academy is a testament to his hope that students employing a polymathic approach to education will also derive greater personal wisdom and sound judgment.”
The USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study exemplifies Sidney Harman’s innovative spirit, said his wife Jane Herman, a USC trustee and former congresswoman.
“Our family lived with a father and husband who inhaled life — and wanted his tombstone, if any, to say ‘still curious,’” Jane Harman said.
Catherine Quinlan, dean of USC Libraries, said the endowment will help fund new programs and the academy and continue Sidney Harman’s vision.
“With this generous support from the Harman Family Foundation, we will proudly continue this work that is so unique to USC and that Sidney viewed as so essential to the future of academic inquiry,” Quinlan said.
The USC Harman Academy for Polymathic Study will induct its 2012-2013 class on May 10.