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Incoming students from around the world gathered for the 2013 USC Leonard Davis School orientation. Getting the opportunity to meet staff, faculty and classmates proved a warm welcome for all attendees, whether they were freshman, transfers or doctoral students.

“We’re excited you’re here and to play a role in this important beginning in your lives. You’re starting an incredible journey in a remarkable school,” said USC Leonard Davis dean Pinchas Cohen. “It’s a great time to be in the field of gerontology, which is the unique marriage of social and biological sciences with technology and humanities in way very few professions can claim. My door is always open to you as we work to move the field of gerontology forward together.”

Presentations followed from every department of the School, including its library, Andrus Volunteers, internship program and the Student Gerontology Association (SGA).

“Welcome everyone: you are an impressive group!” said Patrick Beck, USC Leonard Davis doctoral student and SGA president. “SGA is a great place to take on a leadership role and meet your colleagues. We’re here to help support you outside class with fun activities and events but also to help you grow as scholars and students in the community.”

Besides receiving a complimentary flash drive that included PDFs of the USC Leonard Davis School student handbook, orientation PowerPoint and USC Catalogue, attendees also enjoyed introductions to the USC Leonard Davis School faculty and their research by USC Leonard Davis School vice dean Kelvin Davies.

Administrators also shone a light on two new courses of interest: the first a penetrating look at the science (and scams) of the multibillion-dollar anti-aging industry taught by bestselling author Greg Critser (Eternity Soup) and the second an innovative examination of evidence-based health promotions for older adults taught by Janet Frank, president of the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).

Emphasizing the opportunities available both in and out of the classroom, the program ended on a note of empowering students to enhance their USC Leonard Davis School experience through research, internship and community service opportunities.

“I want to encourage you to make the most of everything here,” said associate dean Maria Henke. “We want you to have a full experience so you can move on to the next step of your life successfully after graduation.”

“You are in the right place,” said USC Leonard Davis School professor Kathleen Wilber. “This is the greatest program in the world.”

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