Division Kicks off $5 Million Campaign Initiative

Campaign Kick-off

On October 18, the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy formally launched its $5 million campaign initiative—the largest ever undertaken for a physical therapy program in the United States. The six-year initiative is intended to strengthen the Division's continued leadership in education, research and clinical practice.

A celebratory picnic attended by faculty, staff, students and the Division's Board of Councilors marked the beginning of the campaign initiative, which is part of the $6 billion Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to advance the university's academic priorities and to expand its local and global leadership.

"It is the Division's goal—our mission—to transform lives," said Dr. James Gordon, Division associate dean and chair. "We transform lives through research that will find better ways to treat diseases that strike across the lifespan, through our clinical practice, and through education of tomorrow's professionals and researchers.

"To accomplish our goal, we need great faculty, state-of-the-art facilities and outstanding students. And to get all of those we need to raise funds. Today, we are proud to kick off this campaign and to enlist everyone in the Division—faculty, staff and students—in this effort."

Under the banner "We Transform Lives," the fundraising initiative will enable the Division to:
• support more students with scholarships;
• recruit and retain distinguished teaching and research faculty;
• equip facilities with the latest technology; and
• sustain the groundbreaking research on disease, injury, and aging that drives breakthroughs in scientific understanding and treatment.

Dr. Gordon also announced the establishment of the Kathleen Bice Clinical Excellence Scholarship and reported that the Division’s Board of Councilors has pledged 100 percent participation in the campaign.

Other speakers at the event included Dr. Avishai Sadan, dean of the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry; a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) student pursuing his degree at the Division; and a grateful patient of the USC Physical Therapy Associates.

Gustavo Alonso, a member of the DPT Class of 2014, is the son of migrant farmworkers. As a college student majoring in accounting and computer science, he spent a summer in Mexico working at a rehabilitation center for special needs children. A few years later, after having physical therapy for a knee injury, he realized that the hands-on profession he really wanted to enter was physical therapy.

"USC offers us the opportunity to be challenged by premier educators and to work with leading researchers in our field," Alonso said. "And USC challenges its students to think about social responsibility and community engagement by helping underserved communities."

Angela Parris, who became a physical therapist after having physical therapy for leg muscles weakened by Guillain-Barre syndrome, was treated years later for severe arthritis by Dr. Yogi Matharu at USC Physical Therapy Associates.

"Had I not come to USC," Parris said, "I would not be able to stand here today."

Click to see campaign kickoff photos
Click to watch the Division’s campaign video