In Memoriam: Dr. Sidney Harman

Dear Members and Friends of the USC Academy for Polymathic Study,

I’m writing to share the sad news of Dr. Sidney Harman’s passing on the evening of April 12. Dr. Harman brought to USC a tremendous vision and a remarkable talent for encouraging our students in their intellectual pursuits. His passing is a great loss to the academy, our libraries, and the USC community.

Dr. Harman’s deep involvement with the Academy for Polymathic Study spanned the breadth of its activities. His ideas and ideals shaped the intellectual principles at the very heart of the academy. His dedication to personal engagement with our polymaths-in-training enriched the experiences of everyone who has participated in the academy’s programs.

Dr. Harman was an accomplished thinker, but he also valued the courage and persistence necessary to put ideas into practice. His achievements at USC with the Academy for Polymathic Study—and as a Presidential Professor and the Isaias W. Hellman Professor of Polymathy—embody that spirit of doing, as did his chairmanship of Newsweek and his many achievements as a technologist, businessperson, and philanthropist. Few people command the broad perspective that Dr. Harman brought to bear in all his successful endeavors.

Throughout the development of the Academy for Polymathic Study and this first semester of its programs, I had the pleasure of beginning to get to know Dr. Harman personally. I enjoyed the precision of his insights, and I appreciated the warmth with which he was always eager to share the wisdom gained from a life of remarkable experiences. I will deeply miss his rare intellect and his inspiring enthusiasm for the life of learning.

On behalf of everyone at the Academy for Polymathic Study and the USC Libraries, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Dr. Harman’s wife, Jane, and his entire family.


Catherine Quinlan

Dean of the USC Libraries