USC is expanding its presence in Washington, D.C., with new campus

USC's new building in Washington D.C.
The new USC Capital Campus in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
(Alan Karchmer)

The University of Southern California announced Wednesday that as part of a huge expansion of its presence in Washington, D.C., it had opened a USC Capital Campus in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.

The 60,000-square-foot building, for which USC paid $49.4 million, will play host to “high-level conversations” between opinion leaders and serve as a “hub for researchers and policy experts,” officials said in a news release.

“Washington, D.C., is the natural place for us to establish a thriving hub. It is a nexus for the arts, public policy organizations, research agencies and foundations,” USC President Carol Folt said in a statement.


She added that the university, which operates numerous community programs in Los Angeles, plans to do the same in D.C. The campus also plans to work with local high schools and community colleges.

USC already has a number of students pursuing studies in the nation’s capital, but the new campus will expand opportunities for both students and faculty. Officials said there would be new undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, government and journalism.

Mayor Muriel Browser Washington, D.C., predicted the new campus would be “catalytic” for boosting development at D.C.’s northern end following a COVID-19 slump in office activity.

University officials said the building was designed to LEED Gold environmental standards, which include a focus on energy efficiency and minimizing emissions, and features an outdoor rooftop deck with views of the skyline. The building will include study areas, conference rooms and a USC bookstore.

The university’s marching band will travel to Washington next month for a grand opening ceremony, which is set to include a speech from the mayor.

USC joins a number of universities beefing up their presence in the nation’s capital. The Washington Post reported that Johns Hopkins University recently purchased and is renovating a 400,000-square-foot building, once home to the Newseum, for its D.C. campus, which will be open by fall. The University of California also has a D.C. flagship, near Scott Circle.