Vice Dean, Division of Contemporary Music
Associate Professor of Practice, Popular Music Performance
USC Thornton School of Music
Christopher Sampson’s lasting impact at USC manifests in his many essential contributions to university life, both large and small. His visionary leadership and inspiring mentorship have garnered heartfelt praise from students, parents, and faculty. As the founding director of USC’s innovative popular music program, he has extended his influence into our culture, serving as an adviser and sounding board for individuals who have achieved noteworthy artistic success.
Professor Sampson oversees six departments as a teacher and administrator, and approaches his myriad roles with dedication and creativity. He has invested countless hours in one-on-one meetings with members of the Thornton School community, showcasing the depth of his personal engagement. From transporting equipment by hand truck across campus to attending the public performances of his students, Professor Sampson provides a sterling example of how even the simplest acts can foster strong collective bonds. In testament to his esteem among his students, several parents came together to establish an endowed scholarship in his name.
Perhaps the greatest measure of Professor Sampson’s legacy as a mentor lies in the accomplishments of his students, many of whom tour internationally and are signed to major recording contracts. Drawing upon his decades of expertise as a musician and performer, he imparts an enduring wisdom that his students carry with them into their careers. They have become prominent songwriters, music industry leaders, and acclaimed artists with multiple GRAMMY Awards—impressive achievements that attest to Professor Sampson’s significant role in shaping the sound of the 21st century.
For his essential and generous support of USC’s faculty and students, the University of Southern California is pleased to honor Christopher Sampson with the Provost’s Mentoring Award.