10 Fun Facts About USC

June 12, 2014
  1. The University of Southern California Mascot is not Tommy Trojan; it is actually Traveler the Horse.
  2. When USC first opened, tuition was $15.00 per term, and students were not allowed to leave town without the knowledge and consent of the university president. This is what the neighborhood next to USC used to look like when it opened in the 1880s.
  3. USC is the only university in the world to have a gold medal-winning athlete in every summer Olympiad since 1912…
  4. And the only university to have an alum nominated for an Oscar every year since the Academy Awards’ inception in 1929. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer were classmates at USC.
  5. John Wayne played tackle at USC, graduating in 1929. His name while at school was Marion Mitchell Morrison (Fox executives pressured him to change it).
  6. USC’s “Fight On” song was used to inspire combat-bound troops in the Aleutians Campaign during World War II. The song was written by Milo Sweet, a dental student.
  7. A monkey gargoyle at the top of the Gwynn Wilson Student Union building thumbs his nose at the bust of past university president Rufus von KleinSmid, reputedly because of a quarrel between the architect and president.
  8. Their motto is palmam qui meruit ferat, let he who merited the palm bear it, meaning “achievement should be rewarded.”
  9. The southwest corner of the Pueblo of Los Angeles, the original land grant given by the King of Spain in 1781, is at Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard (across the street from USC).
  10. The USC athletic teams were originally called the Methodists and Wesleyans. The Trojan tradition originated in 1912 when a Los Angeles Times sportswriter Owen Bird compared the fighting spirit of USC athletes to that of the ancient Trojans. According to Bird, “the term ‘Trojan’ as applied to USC means to me that no matter what the situation, what the odds or what the conditions, the competition must be carried on to the end and those who strive must give all they have and never be weary in doing so.”

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