Professor Theodore Johnson Addresses the USC Bovard College Class of 2023

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Dr. Theodore Johnson addressing the Bovard College Class of 2023.
Photo: Stella Kalinina

On Friday, May 12, 2023, graduates of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program gathered on USC’s University Park Campus to celebrate their achievements with family, friends, and peers. Nearly 80 graduates walked in the largest MSCJ class to date. The graduates traveled from 18 states, and 25% are military-affiliated. 

This year’s commencement speaker was Dr. Theodore Johnson, MSCJ professor, political scientist, author, and senior advisor with New America. Professor Johnson spoke about his journey of changing careers from a U.S. Navy Commander to “a public intellectual on black American politics.” Like many Bovard College students, Professor Johnson chose to expand his resume and go back to school in search of new opportunities. “While it is important to continue to improve ourselves – to do the hard things – it is equally important to remember not to erase who you were before this date,” he remarked.

Flag bearer Ivan Ramirez
Photo: Stella Kalinina

Commencement is also a time to celebrate outstanding faculty and their commitment to their students. Professor Mari Kong received the USC Bovard College Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. “Commencement is a time of celebration and closure. It is an opportunity to celebrate with the USC community and honor oneself for completing a master’s degree,” she remarked. “As a professor, one of the most fulfilling moments is to watch the student’s smiles as they walk across the stage.”

The 2023 MSCJ graduates work across the criminal justice system, including in local police departments, District Attorney offices, corrections, private security, education, and the nonprofit sector. USC’s MS in Criminal Justice program also provides a valuable foundation for people looking to change careers and venture into the field. 

In addition to the program’s criminology and criminal justice foundation, students explore policy design and implementation as well as emerging trends in the field. In his commencement speech, Dean Anthony Bailey remarked, “Our Criminal Justice graduates are ready to drive critical reforms at this important juncture in our history.” Courses also prepare students to lead in the criminal justice field and become ethical and skilled decision-makers.

Designed to fit students’ schedules, the curriculum is provided in both a one- and two-year track. At 24 units, the program can be completed in just 12 months for students in the one-year track. No GRE is required, and students have their choice of three enrollment dates each year.

Watch the 2023 commencement ceremony here.

Learn more about the MS in Criminal Justice program from USC Bovard College.

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