For over 100 years, USC has continuously supported the U.S. military. Initially utilized as a training school during World Wars I and II, USC has evolved through peace and wartime to become a leading institution for innovative military strategies, technologies, academics, training, and support for U.S. service members, veterans, and their families.


1914-1918: USC serves as a training school for U.S. Army officers during World War I. Almost 900 students were inducted into the Students’ Army Training Corps on October 1, 1918 on Bovard Field.

1939-1945: USC serves as a naval preparatory flight cadet school and hosts Army, Marine Corps, and Navy training programs. USC put up barracks to house the extra students and some classroom buildings became dormitories.

1940: The U.S. Navy ROTC program is established at USC. USC has maintained an unbroken, decades-long relationship with the Navy, Air Force, and Army ROTC programs and is one of only about 60 schools in the U.S. approved to host all three programs. More than 4,500 officers have been commissioned from our ROTC programs into the armed forces.

1943: For the first time, USC holds a winter commencement for graduating soldiers heading off to war.

1946-1948: Returning veterans under the G.I. Bill swell undergraduate enrollment from pre-war levels, peaking at 24,000 in 1948.

1949: The Air Force ROTC program is established at USC.

1952: USC’s Aviation Safety and Security Program becomes the first Aviation Safety program at a major research university. The gold standard for aviation safety and security education, USC offers certificates in Aviation Safety & Security and System Safety, and a course on Safety Management for Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

1971: Viterbi Distance Education Network is established allowing active-duty military personnel and veterans the opportunity to pursue graduate programs from anywhere in the world.

1972: The Information Sciences Institute (ISI) is launched to support the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with development of advanced information processing, computer, and communications technologies. ISI helped conceive, design and implement the Internet, including communications protocols that remain fundamental to Net operations. It also invented and developed the Domain Name System (DNS) and managed significant Internet functions for decades.

1981: The Army ROTC program is established at USC.

1986: The Schoen Family Scholarship for Veterans is established to support student veterans in the Keck, Marshall, and Viterbi schools. Today, this scholarship supports honorably discharged undergraduate and graduate student veterans who served 3 years or more, from 2003 on.

1999: The Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), a DoD-sponsored University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) working in collaboration with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, is established. ICT’s current prototypes assist military leaders from every echelon in using its technologies to sharpen situational awareness, interpersonal communication and decision-making skills. The Institute’s projects support the military in creating realistic 3-D representations of physical and non-physical landscapes with One World Terrain, training Soldiers in preventing sexual harassment and assault through interactive digital survivor stories with DS2A, delivering engaging accessible education via mobile devices with PAL3 (Personal Assistant for Life Long Learning) and MentorPAL, and more.

2002: The Navy Trauma Training Center (NTTC) is formed in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC and opened at LAC+USC Medical Center’s emergency medicine department. It is the premier U.S. Navy training facility for expeditionary medicine in preparation for deployment abroad.

2004: The National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies (CREATE), an interdisciplinary national research center uniting policy scholars and engineers, is established as a Center of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. CREATE’s mission is to improve U.S. security through the development of advanced models and tools for the evaluation of the risks, costs, and consequences of terrorism and to guide economically viable investments in homeland security.

2008: The Master of Social Work degree with a Military Social Work track is launched by the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. The program is the first of its kind in a civilian institution and has graduated over 1,500 students, including many veterans and military spouses, who now work directly with veteran or military populations.

2008: USC Veterans Association (USCVA), a student group under the division of Student Life, is established.

2009: USC’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) is established by the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work to enhance the visibility and impact of research, education and outreach to inform decision-makers on policy issues affecting veterans and their families. Among those issues is a focus on rapidly increasing the number of clinical social workers and behavioral health providers trained to treat the challenges service members, veterans and their families face, as well as mental health research that can be directly and quickly translated into clinical practice.

2009: USC hosts the first annual gala for Veterans and ROTC students, an event that draws about 700 people each year to celebrate and honor Trojans in the military. 70+ WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam veterans from the Trojan Family have been honored. 5 Tuskegee Airmen veterans and 2 Japanese-American Nisei veterans have been honored at the gala.

2013: The Master of Business for Veterans degree, the first of its kind, is created by the USC Marshall School of Business to help veterans transition into civilian life and launch business careers.

2013-2019: General (ret.) David H. Petraeus joins the USC faculty as a Judge Widney Professor.

2014: The Provost’s Pre-College Summer Scholarship for Military High School Students is established, awarding 20-30 USC summer program scholarships each year for high school children of veteran and military families. The students earn 3 units of college credit and all of their expenses are paid by USC.

2014: The Veterans Resource Center opens, giving student-veterans a home on campus. Within the center, students can meet with a veterans certifying officer, connect with other current student veterans, learn about services available on campus, participate in a variety of programs, and enjoy a welcoming space with opportunities to lounge and/or study.

2015: USC becomes the first west coast school to host the Warrior-Scholar Project. Fifteen transitioning service members and veterans completed a week-long intensive academic boot camp to prepare them for undergraduate studies at an elite institution.

2015: Priority registration for student veterans and ROTC students is granted. This opportunity, also provided to student athletes, allows students to register early for classes.

2016: The Army Research Lab (ARL) West, the Army’s largest research lab west of the Mississippi, is co-founded with USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, representing a new model for Army, academic, and industry partnerships that spurs innovation by opening access to Army labs. It is part of a larger Department of Defense strategy to increase collaboration with top scientists and engineers in California. ARL West leverages ICT, USC, and regional expertise in areas like virtual reality, data visualization, and human-robot interaction.

2016: Unlimited-Unlimited Yellow Ribbon on the undergraduate level is established. USC financial aid is coordinated with the VA in a way that allows post-9/11 GI Bill-eligible undergraduate veterans to graduate debt free.

2016: The Veteran and Military Families Recruiting Night is established in partnership with USC Career Center, USC Veterans Association, and the Office of the Provost.

2017: USC grants an application fee waiver for veterans and dependents thereby removing a barrier to a brighter future.

2018: Dedicated Student Veteran Housing opens on the edge of campus. The affordable ten-room duplex is home to men and women veterans from all branches and is equipped with a kitchen, washer/dryer, Wi-Fi, and is service dog-friendly. This legacy spurs expansion of Veterans housing at USC.

2019: With Your Shield: A McMorrow Veterans Initiative, a certificate program to help transitioning Navy Special Warfare veterans and servicemembers, launches its first cohort. Through the Marshall School of Business, the program works with the veteran and the family to help them transition - this includes classes and workshops for the spouses, childcare, and expenses paid.

2019: USC launches a comprehensive Military Website, This site has information for prospective ROTC, Veteran, and Active-duty students, displays military-connected news and social media, and a Giving Page.

2019: USC & Warrior Scholar Program expand to create the first 2-week Business & Entrepreneurship program in the country, including core components of a Business academic curriculum fused with the design thinking of Entrepreneurship, culminating in a showcase of proposed companies.

2019: The Military Referral Hiring Program is established, beginning an active effort to hire more Veterans and Military Spouses, including financial incentives for current employees to refer Veterans to open positions.

2019: USC is the first college or university to receive an Air Force Virtual Flight Simulator Air Force ROTC cadets are able to fill their requirements to log flight time and prepare to be officers in the U.S. Air Force.

2020: USC joins the Council on Military Transition to Education, a national alliance of 2-year or 4-year post-secondary institutions and the DoD Transition Assistance Program representatives, working to improve access to quality education for veterans and transitioning service members.

2020: The Engelstad Foundation gives USC a $1 million gift for student veteran scholarships. This is the first central, general scholarship gift of its kind at USC, serving undergraduate and graduate student veterans most in need.

2021: The RAND-USC Epstein Family Foundation Center for Veterans Policy is established with a $2 million gift over 5 years, impacting research and policy in three important areas: reducing veteran suicide, eliminating veteran homelessness, and improving veteran success post-transition.

2021: Historic campus building to be renamed in honor of alumnus Joseph Medicine Crow By the early 1940s, Medicine Crow had completed his coursework toward a doctorate at USC when he was called to serve in World War II. While serving in the U.S. Army’s 103rd Infantry Division, he completed four feats necessary to be named the last Apsáalooke (Crow) war chief.

2022: USC Undergraduate Student Government (USG) votes to include the Joint Assembly for Military-Associated Students (JAMS) among recognized student assemblies. This incorporation gives military-affiliated students representation in student government.

2022: USC joins U.S. Space Force’s University Partnership Program The Space Force’s University Partnership Program will bolster research and leadership development for students and faculty. The partnership will enhance STEM study and research projects that foster national security objectives in the space domain.