Salutatorian Andrew Binder continues acts of service beyond USC
COMMENCEMENT 2022: The graduating senior is taking his USC Dornsife degree in philosophy, politics and law and heading into the Marines.
With only two weeks until graduation, while most USC seniors were studying for finals in and around the University Park Campus, Andrew Binder was making his way along the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Quantico, Va., for some Marine Corps training.
Binder understands this is not the typical experience of a college senior just before graduation, but given his path to USC, “typical” probably wasn’t in the cards. But regardless of the track that brought this East Coaster to sunny Southern California, the result speaks for itself: Binder earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and law from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and was named one of the salutatorians for the Class of 2022.
“I graduated and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines, and the journey to get there was very challenging,” Binder said by phone from a grocery store parking lot in Pennsylvania. “I’m extraordinarily grateful for the people who helped along the way, because there’s no way I would have gotten to graduation and commissioning and through all of these different experiences without the help of my mentors, my family, my friends, my professors and the people who kept the university running before COVID and during the pandemic.”
Growing up in the small town of Chadds Ford, Pa. — “halfway between Philadelphia and Amish country,” he said — Binder had never really heard or thought about USC until his senior year in high school. A student in the grade above him had been accepted to USC, and out of curiosity, Binder decided to do a little research into the university.