USC held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the university’s first interdisciplinary social sciences building, Verna and Peter Dauterive Hall.
In memory of her husband Peter Dauterive, USC Trustee Verna Dauterive pledged $30 million for the new six-story, 110,000 square-foot building in 2008. The hall will create space for interdisciplinary research and classes for graduate and undergraduate students in the David and Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Marshall School of Business, the Gould School of Law and the Sol Price School of Public Policy, among other departments.
“USC will be a truly remarkable place,” President C. L. Max Nikias said. “Here, the most remarkable people in the world will be brought together and unleashed to achieve the most remarkable greatness across the full range of social sciences.”
Dauterive said USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett plans to apply the interdisciplinary approach of medical research, in which teams of scientists collaborate and bring their results out of the lab to benefit the patients who most need them, to the social sciences.
“[The new center will provide] a unique place on campus where the most talented and insightful social scientists can come together and conduct research to generate solutions to the world’s most precedent problems,” Dauterive said.
Dana Goldman, a professor at the Price School, said the new effort will improve USC’s stature in the social sciences.
Several students said learning across disciplines has profoundly affected their academic experience.
“One of the the things I love most about this school is that it encourages students to study broadly in multiple fields,” said Austin Welsh, an undeclared sophomore. “There are so few people that have interests in just one field of study.”
Robin Migdol, a graduate student studying specialized journalism, agreed that focusing on interdisciplinary education is important.
“You don’t want to study in a bubble; you want to study in conjunction with other topics,” Migdol said. “You can’t work in just one area and not see how it affects the other.”
Joy Park, a sophomore majoring in graphic design and cognitive sciences, said two majors can play off each other.
“Sometimes it’s like science inspires my art. Different scientific ideas play into it. Sometimes, my art helps me look at science better,” Park said. “It helps put perspective on how both realities can play out.”