New Biles Center Designed for Student Success

USC pharmacy students work hard to achieve their dreams of becoming leaders in the profession. To expand on-campus spaces designed to help them thrive, the USC School of Pharmacy is developing an inviting and vibrant home for the Margaret and John Biles Leadership Center.

By refurbishing — and reimagining —Seaver Hall, the building adjacent to the USC School of Pharmacy’s John Stauffer Pharmaceutical Sciences Center, the school is creating a student-centric and technologically up-to-date facility for programs, services and events. The center’s design, which has involved students since the earliest planning stages, will include breakout areas to encourage meetings and collaboration.

The Biles Leadership Center in Seaver Hall will focus on students and student services with:

» A new student activity room with a large-screen TV, quiet study lounge and flexible-use space
» New offices for Admissions and Financial Aid, Career Counseling and Student Affairs
» Major upgrades to electrical and network infrastructure that will facilitate more collaborative and technology-enabled learning

The renovation project will free up space for faculty and research laboratories in the Center for Health Professions Building, allowing the school to continue its overall expansion.

The center is named for visionary pharmacy leader John Biles, and his wife, Margaret. Biles first joined the USC School of Pharmacy as an assistant professor in 1952, eventually serving the school as dean from 1968 to 1995.

An energetic advocate for the field of pharmacy, he was heralded nationwide for his efforts to transform the profession from a dispenser of medicines to an active clinical role with responsibility for optimizing therapeutic outcomes. Under his guidance, the school became the first in the nation to offer students clinical clerkships modeled after those in medical schools, which have since become a foundational part of pharmacy education throughout the country — just one of many firsts under his leadership.

“When my father passed away, the number of students who wrote personal letters to say what he had meant to them was overwhelming,” says his daughter, Paula Murphy. “Both my parents invested a lot of years into USC. My mother is so thrilled with this honor, and I know my father would be, too.”

“He was focused on our students in every possible way,” says Professor Mel Baron, who studied under Biles at USC before making his own mark on the profession and at the school. “We in pharmacy are indebted to all of the things that he contributed to advance our profession, and we look forward to continuing to develop this leadership center in his name and Margaret’s.”

The Biles Leadership Center brings together representatives from constituencies involved in healthcare — providers, payers, policymakers — through annual conferences and speaker series that address pressing health-related concerns, providing invaluable learning and networking opportunities for pharmacy trainees.

The Biles Leadership Center was created through a generous gift from Ninetta and Gavin Herbert.

For more information, contact Cheryl Stanovich at