The school identified the professor as Bosco S. Tjan, who has been affiliated with USC since 2001.
"As the Trojan Family mourns Professor Tjan's untimely passing, we will keep his family in our thoughts," university president C.L. Max Nikias wrote to the USC community.
Tjan was described as an expert in perception, vision and vision cognition. He was co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center.
Tjan was a married father of one son.
Authorities were called to the Seeley G. Mudd building on the USC campus in the 3600 block of McClintock Avenue just after 4:30 p.m. Firefighters said they found a man dead at the scene.
A suspect, identified as a student, was taken into custody at the scene.
Police believe the victim was specifically targeted and no threat is currently present on campus.
A separate, unrelated incident also occurred about an hour later on the USC campus.
The Los Angeles Police Department said officers responded at 5:47 p.m. to a report of a disturbance in the library by a man in his 20s. Police said it was unrelated to the stabbing.
A man sprayed a fire extinguisher in the face of a school alumna inside the Doheny library, and was taken into custody according to The Daily Trojan.