The 1946 Master Plan
The information on this microsite (https://www.usc.edu/community/upcmasterplan) reflects archival data last updated in 2008. For the most accurate current information on the University Village Specific Plan, please visit village.usc.edu.
In 1946, USC initiated work on an updated master plan to provide for future academic growth. This was the first known plan to propose a campus bounded by Vermont Avenue to the west, Jefferson Boulevard to the north, Figueroa Street to the east and Exposition Boulevard to the south. It was also the first to put forward the notion of a self-contained campus rather than one intersected by city streets.
The Board of Trustees approved the new plan in 1950, and by 1951, under the leadership of Fred D. Fagg Jr. (USC president from 1947 to 1957), six new buildings were under construction. In December 1953, with unanimous support from the City Council, University Avenue became the first of several campus streets to be closed to public traffic.
Under the aegis of this plan, the university began sporadically to purchase properties from willing sellers. This acquired land eventually enabled the main campus to expand north of 34th Street, providing a site for a new building for the USC School of Dentistry.
Assembling the most reliable data of its time regarding available building space, future facilities needs, open space, housing, and traffic and parking, the 1946 master plan was the first to propose a real campus for the university, as opposed to a neighborhood intersected by city streets.
In 1949, the traffic noise on University Avenue (today’s Trousdale Parkway) filtered into USC’s classrooms, which were flooded with veterans taking advantage of educational opportunities afforded by the G.I. Bill.
Alumni Memorial Pylon and newly completed Founders Hall are clearly visible in this aerial view of the University Park campus in 1951. Bovard Field, the university’s athletic field, is just above center to the right.