Former USC chief Steven Sample is remembered for his deep faith

This article first appears in the Los Angeles Times

Former USC President Steven B. Sample was remembered on campus Wednesday as a man of deep faith who reached out to diverse religious groups.

During an interfaith prayer service, several speakers recalled how the transformational university president hired non-traditional leaders after creating USC’s office of religious life in 1996.

The original dean, Rabbi Susan Laemmle, was the first non-Christian to hold such a position at a large U.S. university, according to USC. After she retired in 2008, Sample picked Varun Soni, a Hindu.

Former USC chief Steven Sample is remembered for his deep faith

Sheikh Jamaal Diwan addresses over 100 people gathered at Hanh Plaza on the campus of USC for an interfaith prayer service held in memory of Steven Sample. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Sample, an Episcopalian who prayed daily, sent USC safety officers to a Muslim mosque near the South L.A. campus on Sept. 11, 2001, to provide additional security after the terrorist attacks. He also was instrumental in bringing the Shoah Foundation, a repository of Holocaust testimonials established by filmmaker Steven Spielberg, to the campus.

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