USC Dornsife’s Douglas Capone and Linda Duguay replicate on what introduced them — first of all reluctantly — to the Town of Angels and why they now assume it’s the most efficient choice they ever made. [5 min read]

This can be a red-letter yr for Douglas Capone and Linda Duguay: No longer simplest did the marine biologists have fun their 40th marriage ceremony anniversary in February, subsequent month marks the 20th anniversary in their relocation to Los Angeles to sign up for USC Dornsife Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Not anything predisposed the couple — by way of their very own account, die-hard East Coasters — to transport to L.A.

Capone, now the William and Julie Wrigley Chair in Environmental Research and professor of organic sciences, grew up at the New Jersey Shore, strolling the seashores, fishing, browsing and scuba diving.

Duguay, affiliate professor (analysis) of organic sciences and USC Sea Grant director at USC Dornsife, grew up in rural northern Rhode Island, incomes her undergraduate level within the Ocean State.

A willing surfer, Capone had handed thru L.A. as soon as as a youngster whilst hitchhiking from San Francisco to Mexico and directly to Panama. His first impressions — of concrete and strip shops — had no longer been favorable.

Duguay had by no means visited L.A., and feeling little affinity with the stereotypes historically attributed to it, had no plans to take action anytime quickly.

Capone and Duguay each had deep roots at the East Coast the place they had been with regards to their massive, prolonged households.

Capone was once born in a New Jersey area in-built 1947 by way of his maternal grandfather, a chippie who had immigrated from Italy.  (“That is the shaggy dog story,” Capone chuckles. “When folks ask, ‘Are you associated with Al Capone?’ I say, ‘No, we are the New Jersey Capones.’”)

Duguay, who comes from a large French-Canadian circle of relatives, grew up talking French and English. She has 30 first cousins who nonetheless reside in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The long run professors met whilst incomes their doctorates in oceanography on the College of Miami Marine Faculty and later, after marrying, landed jobs, first at Stony Brook College in New York after which within the country’s Capitol — Capone on the College of Maryland and Duguay on the Nationwide Science Basis in Washington D.C.

Certainly, the pair would possibly by no means have visited L.A. as a pair if no longer for a coincidence. Capone suffered altitude illness whilst snowboarding in Colorado. He was once because of fly directly to Australia for a analysis undertaking within the Nice Barrier Reef, but if physician’s orders stored him grounded at sea stage for per week, he traveled to L.A. to get better together with his outdated pal, USC Dornsife’s Jed Fuhrman.

Capone’s seek advice from coincided with the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Santa Monica highway was once out of fee, and Capone received a brand new viewpoint at the town as he accompanied Fuhrman, McCulloch-Crosby Chair of Marine Biology and professor of organic sciences, whilst he navigated the skin streets from his house in bucolic Topanga Canyon to USC’s College Park campus. Capone was once intrigued by way of what he noticed in tactics he hadn’t anticipated.

“The town was once such a lot of issues,” he recalls of that first commute. “Large, various, mountains to sea. And browsing and its lore — considered one of my boyhood loves.”

Early reservations about “L. a. L. a. Land”

Quickly afterwards, Fuhrman invited Capone to use for a place in marine biology at USC Dornsife and sign up for the nascent USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Research.

Capone and Duguay demurred.

Doug Capone and Linda Duguay right through a up to date damage from their scholarly research.

“We’d simply moved to Maryland and I used to be getting a brand spanking new laboratory, so it was once very awkward to even take into consideration a 2nd transfer,” Capone stated.

However whilst he cherished lifestyles in Maryland, the couple’s house was once a number of hours from the sea. It was once tough for the lifelong surfer to not get a bit of serious about the potential for shredding some California waves.

Duguay, then again, had severe reservations about relocating to the Town of Angels.

“L.A.?” she recalls exclaiming. “L. a. L. a. Land? Film stars, sports activities running shoes, therapists? I don’t assume so.”

However Fuhrman, who additionally hailed from the East Coast, didn’t surrender. “He got here again a 2nd time and inspired us to no less than pop out and have a look,” Capone remembers.

Capone in the end agreed to an interview, and Duguay accompanied him at her personal expense — principally to verify he wouldn’t settle for the process, she confesses.

Their seek advice from, in past due February, coincided with a in particular serious East Coast wintry weather.

“It was once sunny and heat once we were given off the aircraft, and we had been publish close to the seaside in Santa Monica and handled exceptionally smartly,” Capone remembers.

Duguay was once struck by way of how a lot Fuhrman and his spouse, Dorothy, cherished L.A. “They in point of fact confirmed us the wonderful thing about the West Coast,” she stated.

She and Capone started to reconsider their place, and after a number of journeys and prolonged negotiations the place the couple attempted to say no a number of occasions, Capone says, “We caved, and the remainder is historical past.”

Complete-fledged Angelenos

In spite of their preliminary reluctance, Capone and Duguay are actually enthusiastic converts. Shifting to L.A., they are saying, was once the most efficient choice they ever made.

Their house is just a mile from the sea. Capone’s regimen contains emerging at five a.m. to surf or stroll the cliffs of Palos Verdes prior to using to paintings at USC.

In spite of her preliminary misgivings, Duguay has turn into one of the crucial town’s staunchest lovers, relating to “the much-maligned L.A.”

It’s a town, she says, that has the entirety — from the cultural heights of the L.A. Philharmonic to the good outdoor to its super ethnic and culinary variety.

Capone, whose analysis specializes in the position and significance of microbes in main biogeochemical cycles, consents. After 12 years within the submit, he stepped down as chair of the Division of Organic Sciences on Aug. 15 prior to departing on a year-long sabbatical to France and New Zealand.

However anywhere Capone and Duguay would possibly roam, L.A. stays house.

“California is a state that invests in analysis, in infrastructure and in folks,” Duguay says. “L.A. is one of these colourful position with such a lot tradition and an important instructional group.”

Capone nods his settlement.

“No matter your analysis house is,” he says, “the alternatives listed below are boundless.

“We’ve by no means seemed again.”

Learn extra about L.A. in USC Dornsife Mag’s “Los Angeles” factor >>

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