USC and HUC-JIR Announce New 25 Year Agreement, Building on Historic Decades-Long Partnership

HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., and USC President Carol L. Folt celebrating a remarkable 50-year partnership, now renewed for the next 25 years.

HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., and USC President Carol L. Folt celebrating a remarkable 50-year partnership, now renewed for the next 25 years.

September 29, 2022

Los Angeles, CA – For 50 years, an extraordinary partnership has flourished between USC and its nearest academic neighbor, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, demonstrating a unique synergy between two institutions of higher learning.

The 50th anniversary of the HUC-USC relationship and the renewal of that partnership for the next 25 years was celebrated and commemorated by USC President Carol Folt, Ph.D., and HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., at a gathering of these institutions’ Trustees, Governors, alumni, supporters, community partners, faculty, administrators, and students on September 12th.

The close partnership between HUC-JIR and USC provides a unique platform for academic engagement for both institutions, the sharing of faculty expertise and research partnerships across disciplines, and enriched educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

HUC-JIR’s Louchheim School for Judaic Studies has served as USC’s undergraduate Jewish Studies program and, over the course of five decades, HUC-JIR faculty have taught and mentored well over 20,000 USC students in multidisciplinary courses. Over 650 USC students of all faiths and backgrounds participate each year in HUC-JIR-taught courses, encompassing Hebrew language, Jewish history, the Holocaust, Israeli society, and literature and religious studies.

The partnership has led to the evolution of eight academic programs:

  • A major and minor in Jewish Studies

  • A minor in Jewish American Studies

  • A graduate certificate program that allows USC’s doctoral candidates to enroll in credit- granting courses at HUC-JIR,

  • HUC-JIR students in HUC-JIR’s Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management pursue dual graduate degrees in public administration, social work, communication management, and business administration at USC.

“This partnership models our shared values of diversity and inclusion through the participation of students of all faiths and backgrounds and helps build a strong foundation of mutual understanding and respect among future leaders of society,” said HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld. The renewal of our partnership for another 25 years is an historic step forward for both our institutions.”

USC President Carol L. Folt said: “It is an honor to celebrate the great vision that led to this partnership, the work of so many who have contributed to it over the years, our shared history and our continued responsibility to educate future generations in Jewish studies and to build a better and more just future.”

With roots going back to the 1950s, this partnership was first formalized in the 1965 agreement that relocated HUC-JIR from Appian Way in Hollywood to its present location in University Park, dedicated in 1971. The move set in motion a broad range of collaborative programs in addition to those mentioned above: The launch of HUC-JIR’s dual-degree with USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work in 1972; HUC-JIR’s joint MPA with USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, begun in 1982; the dual degree in communications management and Jewish communal service with USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, launched in 1992; and the dual MBA program with USC Marshall School of Business begun in 1999.

The two institutions share libraries, online resources, athletic facilities, and security protection, while offering scholarships and reduced tuition for dual degree students to help them manage the costs of pursuing simultaneous degrees. There is active collaboration between USC and HUC-JIR scholars through advisory boards, faculty and graduate student research centers, program management, and working groups developing programs with diverse community organizations. Additionally, HUC-JIR regularly engages with USC Hillel, the USC Casden Institute, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, and the Office of Religious Life, as partners in building a thriving Jewish intellectual and campus life at USC.

Dr. Joshua Holo, Dean of HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, says, “As we turn our gaze to the next quarter-century, our deeper and stronger USC-HUC partnership promises great things. As Jewish Studies and allied fields of study will continue to evolve, together we will be equipped to cultivate the faculty and specializations that will meet the needs of students for generations to come.”

Dr. Leah Hochman, Director of the Louchheim School, notes, “The HUC-USC partnership will continue to provide undergraduate and graduate students with enriching opportunities that grow and foster deeper understanding of the connections between different religious and cultural traditions while opening horizons into the cultural, social, and political dynamics of our own society. It is an exciting time to be at USC!”

About the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies 

The Jerome H. Louchheim School for Judaic Studies was dedicated in 1972 by William Louchheim, Sr. and his two brothers, Henry and Jerome, Jr. in honor of their father, a major builder and a civic leader of Philadelphia and later a founder and controller of CBS. William Louchheim was the President of Bobrick Washroom Equipment and a prominent Jewish communal leader who managed the construction of the HUC-JIR campus in Los Angeles and its cooperation with the Hoover Street Improvement Project. The family has remained deeply involved with the College-Institute through the guidance of William Sr.’s son William Sandel (Sandy) Louchheim, z”l, and wife Marlene Louchheim, their children Terry, Mark, Tom, and Deborah, and their grandson Matthew’s leadership on HUC-JIR’s Board of Governors and Western Region Board of Advisors.

About the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management 

The Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, formerly the School of Jewish Communal Service, was renamed and dedicated in 2015 through a transformative gift from Marcie and Howard Zelikow, prominent Los Angeles communal and philanthropic leaders. Their support sustains the dual-degree relationship with graduate programs at USC, supervised internships, a lay-mentorship program with experienced Jewish lay leaders, and a biennial Israel Seminar. Marcie Zelikow has served on the HUC-JIR Board of Governors since 2012.