USC President Carol Folt, along with members from the USC Naming Committee, held a ceremony Monday to dedicate the Center for International and Public Affairs to its new namesake, Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow. The committee — composed of faculty, staff, students and alumni — chose to dedicate the building to Medicine Crow after community feedback led Folt to recommend the building be renamed.
Folt announced the Naming Committee’s selection Nov. 18 after a year of deliberation of over 200 potential names.
“We brought the faculty, the staff, the students and the alumni together, and so I didn’t interfere with it. We really did want it to be community based rather than [just] me,” Folt said. “When they were getting close to the end, they talked to me about a number of people. But by that point, honestly, everybody wanted Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow.”
The University Park Campus building is now named after Dr. Medicine Crow, a USC alumnus who was the first member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation to earn a master’s degree.
Medicine Crow served for the U.S. Army’s 103rd Infantry Division in World War II after finishing his doctorate at USC. He attained chieftaincy, completing the four tasks set by Crow military requirements, all of which involved risking his life.
The ceremony opened with a presentation of colors by the Indigenous Warriors Flag Group, a nonprofit organization made up of Indigenous Vietnam War Veterans.
Medicine Crow’s son, Ronald Medicine Crow, spoke at the event about his father.
“He is not one to lift his head up above everyone else, he is very humble. But he can be firm in the things he believes,” Ronald said. “He did whatever he had to do to defend this great country of ours.”
Junior Raegan Kirby, a religious studies major, said the dedication is crucial to both current and future Native American students and staff.
“Being able to see in print something with your identity on it is very, very important,” Kirby said. “For prospective students and staff, having that type of representation that’s concrete on a building can be great as well. However, at the same time, I don’t think that our efforts should stop there.”
Kirby is a member of the USC Native American Student Assembly, a nonprofit organization with the mission of “[voicing] the concerns and needs of the Native American student body at USC.”
Ian Teller, a music industry graduate student, said he appreciated the selection of Medicine Crow.
“He sacrificed a lot for this country because he believed in the prosperity of our nation and also believed that Native people played an important role in that,” Teller said.