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Professor Larry Gross of the Annenberg School for Communication will be leaving Penn to serve as director of the University of Southern California's own Annenberg School of Communication this coming year.

"I think every 35 years, I should make a change," Gross said, reflecting on his three and a half decades at the University.

"It was the time to do it, and the opportunity was really very hard to resist," he added.

Penn alumnus Walter Annenberg established the communications school at USC in 1971, 13 years after he founded the school that bears his name at Penn.

Though USC has not formally announced Gross' appointment, Annenberg spokesman Geoffrey Baum confirmed that Gross has accepted USC's offer.

"We're absolutely delighted that Larry will be coming to USC," Baum said. "We're getting a first-rate member of the team."

Gross said that although his decision to accept the post at USC just last week coincided with Michael Delli Carpini's appointment to head up the Annenberg School at Penn, he had already "been talking to USC for a while."

"They began talking to me earlier this year to persuade me to be interested, and they succeeded," he said.

"They're a very dynamic and creative group there," he continued, noting that the "sense of familiarity and connectedness" he enjoys at the University now made the choice all the more difficult.

The California climate also contributed to his decision.

"The weather had a persuasiveness of its own," he said. "I'll miss Philadelphia -- I won't miss winter."

Penn, meanwhile, will miss Gross, according to Annenberg professor Joseph Cappella.

"Larry Gross' leaving is a tremendous loss to the Annenberg School," Cappella said. "His knowledge of the University's workings and the respect that he has of... faculty throughout the University... is enormous."

Baum summed up USC's more tempting points, explaining how Gross was lured out west.

"There's a lot that USC has to offer as far as being an ambitious and exciting academic community," he said, noting that the university is also sponsoring studies into sexual orientation and the news, one of Gross' areas of interest.

Still, Gross does plan to return to Philadelphia from time to time.

"I'll be back," he said, quickly adding his intention to plan his visits during the warmer months of the year.

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