Time Capsule Discovery Reveals Origin of USC Health Services

USC Facilities opens the time capsule
USC Facilities opens the time capsule

For decades, Dr. Larry Neinstein and his staff walked by the same concrete cornerstone of the old University Park Health Center without a second thought.

When the center moved to what is now the Engemann Student Health Center last year, Neinstein, the center’s executive director, brought along the old block etched with the words “Student Health Service 1951.”

The time capsule was hidden in this 1951 cornerstone
The time capsule was hidden in this 1951 cornerstone

On June 12, after staff members noted that the block did not seem solid, USC facilities pried open a hidden recess. Inside, they discovered the first known records of student health services at the university that dated before 1951.

The unearthed time capsule had been buried in 1950. Its carefully preserved contents – a 1950 USC Medical School Bulletin and a 1949-50 USC Student Health Service Report to the President – confirmed that healthcare for students at USC stretched back more than a century.

In fact, unbeknownst to university administrators, the opening of Engemann this past year marked the 100th year of health services on campus.

Neinstein opens the mysterious contents
Neinstein opens the mysterious contents

“This was a totally unexpected surprise, and this unique bit of history was almost lost forever,” said Neinstein. “It was a thrill to open this locked treasure to find that health care for USC students started exactly 100 years to the opening of Engemann Student Health Center.”

To commemorate the centennial of health services for USC students and kick off its five-year strategic initiatives in health and wellness, Engemann Student Health Center, in conjunction with the USC Trojan League, will hold a celebration of its 100-year history on campus on October 23, 2014.

During the ceremony, Neinstein will fill a new time capsule with artifacts from today’s student

Neinstein unveils the relics
Neinstein unveils the relics

health services and programs at USC.

That capsule will then be placed in a corner pedestal as tribute to both the 1951 opening for the University Park Health Center and the 2013 opening of the Engemann Student Health Center.

Perhaps this time in 100 years, it won’t be forgotten.