USC celebrates opening of largest building on campus

USC administrators along with Alya and Gary Michelson, for whom the Michelson Center is named, participated in the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for what is now the largest building on USC’s campus. Photo by Wanting He | Daily Trojan

The so-called “University of Summer Construction” has officially worked its way into fall with the opening of a new building — and it happens to be the campus’ largest, taking up an entire block on McClintock Boulevard.

President C. L. Max Nikias, the Board of Trustees, University senior officers, faculty and students celebrated the opening of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience on Wednesday afternoon.

The ceremony honored orthopedic spinal surgeon, inventor and philanthropist Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson. They donated $50 million to the University to build Michelson Hall.

During his remarks at the ceremony, Gary Michelson offered to give an additional donation of $100 million, bringing their gift to $150 million to strengthen USC’s efforts in convergent medical research.

“We would like to double down on our previous gift to build what would be the leading center in the entire world for convergent medical research, and populate it with the most brilliant scientists from around the entire world, with the exception of the ones we’ve already taken,” Gary Michelson said.

An interdisciplinary initiative from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Michelson Hall brings together scientists and engineers in its 190,000-square-foot space. According to a USC press release, the building is the biggest and most complex ever constructed on the University Park Campus.

In his opening remarks, Nikias praised the center’s collaborative spirit.

“Now we have this magnificent new center for a new way to do biosciences and biotech research,” Nikias said. “Everything about it compels interaction because this is a building without borders.”

Michelson Hall will unite around 30 researchers from over 11 disciplines. Together, they will advance research related to new drug therapies, high-tech diagnostics and biomedical devices.

USC Dornsife Dean Amber Miller and USC Viterbi Dean Yannis Yortsos discussed the future opportunities the building will hold.

“In this new space, leading minds tie the very threads of bioscience research together,” Miller said. “For this reason, the Michelson Center will serve as a critical hub for researchers across our USC campuses. This space will support existing collaborations and spark new ones.”

Undergraduate students will also benefit from the new building, which will host the Bridge Undergraduate Science program. According to its website, BUGS is a “cross-disciplinary research program supporting efforts that improve the understanding of the human body, or enable technologies that can be applied toward these efforts.”

Nikias presented Gary Michelson with an honorary doctorate degree before cutting the ribbon with Michelson’s family and University officials, signifying the building’s opening. After the ceremony concluded, attendees walked through the new hall.

Gary Michelson was appreciative of the support he received from the USC community.

“Alya and I would like to thank President Nikias, Provost Quick, the Board of Trustees, everyone at USC for allowing us to be a small part of a creation of what I think is a world-class research center,” Gary Michelson said.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Gary Michelson offered to donate an additional $50 million to the University. He actually offered to donate an additional $100 million. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.