Top 15 Marshall News Stories of 2020

It was a tough year. But USC Marshall doubled down and delivered relevant research, innovations in online teaching and learning, and kept the Trojan Family close

December 18, 2020

It certainly was a year to remember.

Who could have realized on New Year’s Eve the kind of year 2020 would shape into?  It began benignly enough—Marshall celebrated its 100th year with a ceremony on campus. But faculty, staff and students at the Marshall School of Business were not far into a busy spring semester when word about a new virus began to circulate. Nobody could have predicted that stay-at-home orders—originally meant to last a few weeks—would turn into the new normal. Add wide-scale civil unrest over ongoing systemic racism, a faltering economy, and political gridlock and 2020 became a synonym for “bad.”

But when things went south, the Marshall school doubled down on what it does best: Researchers published groundbreaking studies on how contagions spread, how long quarantine might last, How to predict who should get scarce testing using AI, best remote communications practices, and more.

Our clinical experts weighed in on critical supply chain issues.  Students and alumni jumped into the fray to help manufacture and deliver much-needed masks and other protective gear.  Faculty got creative in the service of their students. The entire community came together in service of each other when it was most needed.

There was a historic commencement ceremony—as moving as any—and completely online.

The year was big in other, more positive ways. We welcomed a new Dean, Geoff Garrett, previously with the Wharton School, who joined Marshall on July 1 and has been at full speed ever since.

Marshall’s office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion responded to the killing of George Floyd with a call to action for the community, bringing speakers, faculty thought leaders and others together to discuss how to address ongoing systemic racism.

Marshall showed the world how far in front of the curve it was in instructional design for online learning. It introduced innovative new courses that pushed the boundaries of what a business school class in 2020 should look like.

As we move into 2021, one thing is for certain: The Marshall School will continue to be at the forefront of research and innovation to meet the challenges brought to higher education, and the world, by the pandemic. 

Here are the top 15 news stories of 2020 from the Marshall School of Business.

It started with a big birthday:

When things began to get scary, Marshall researchers took a deep dive into how the pandemic would affect business:


Marshall took everything online...and made other innovations:


Alumni and students jumped into the fray:


It was a historic graduation. A historic "Call to Action" as well.


Geoff Garrett joined us over the summer to lead us forward.


There were new classes...and a new normal.