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Harman Family Foundation makes $10-million gift to USC

March 20, 2012 |  7:08 pm

Sidney Harman in 2010

The Harman Family Foundation has made a $10-million donation to further the work of the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study at USC.

The academy brings together students and faculty to study the interrelatedness of academic fields. Its program encourages critical thinking, research that crosses the boundaries of academic specialties and the study of famous polymaths or people of great and diversified learning.

Academy guests have included many world-class scholars, thinkers and researchers, such as New York Times columnist David Brooks; former National Endowment for the Arts chair and USC Professor Dana Gioia; and USC Professors Warren Bennis, Geoffrey Cowan and Kevin Starr.

Sidney Harman, a pioneer of high-fidelity audio for homes and automobiles, founded the academy and served as its chairman until his death in 2011 at age 92. He was a longtime business professor at the university and held numerous positions with national academic organizations, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“This academy, which he imagined and founded, will instill curiosity across the many disciplines at USC and just might revolutionize the way students learn. What a wonderful way to honor and remember Sidney,” said his widow, Jane Harman, a nine-term member of Congress from Los Angeles who is now the chief executive of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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-- Dan Weikel

Photo: Sidney Harman in a 2010 file photo. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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