Dear USC Students,

As we welcome the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books to our University Park campus this weekend, I want to encourage you to be an active participant in the weekend’s activities. Stroll around the campus. Visit the various booths. Attend an author reading. This is a beloved annual event in southern California, and USC is so fortunate to be its host.

Also, as we celebrate this year’s festival, I want to share a special summer reading list. As I mentioned at the new student convocation, each year I plan to recommend a brief list of great works, which, as a community, we can read together, reveling in their intellectual contributions and creative insights:

The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives by Plutarch
Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
Rock ’n’ Roll, a play by Tom Stoppard

In the fall, we will have opportunities to reflect on these works as a community, and I am confident our discussions will be both inspiring and productive. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at this weekend’s Festival of Books. To learn more about the festival, please visit