As Its Popular Chief Retires, U. of Southern California Eyes an Encore

New leader must sustain university's ambitious ascent into elite ranks

New photo for 26USC

David Zentz for The Chronicle

The Galen Center, the main athletic center at USC, is shown with downtown LA in the background.

Steven B. Sample has been called many things on this campus—darling of donors, beloved leader, brilliant scientist—but above all he is a master marketer. Mr. Sample, 69, president of the University of Southern California, delights in promoting his institution. After Time magazine named USC its College of the Year a decade ago, he had the article reprinted 600,000 times.

"Every living Trojan got at least two copies," he says. "Every dead Trojan got at least