About the USC Associates
The USC Associates mission is to advance knowledge in the sciences, the humanities and the professions through financial support of academic programs at the University of Southern California.
Since its inception in 1959, the USC Associates has played a vital role in advancing the mission of the university. The group has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to support both the current academic achievements and the long range goals of the university. Through its commitment, the USC Associates has truly earned its stature as the University’s premier academic support group. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the organization’s legacy of support has contributed significantly to USC’s status among the world’s leading private research universities.
The origins of the organization date back to the fall of 1959 when a new support group brought together “influential and representative” people—alumni and non-alumni alike—who contributed at least $1,000 annually to the University’s academic programs. The group was formally chartered in the spring of 1960 and named the USC Associates.
Deeply committed to its mission to advance knowledge in the professions, sciences and humanities through financial support of academic programs, the USC Associates presented eight $1,000 checks in 1960 to professors voted the best instructors by graduating seniors. Today, these faculty awards, which include the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship, the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the USC Associates Award for Artistic Expression, continue to represent the highest honors the university can bestow upon its faculty members and total over $21,000.
The 1970s ushered in a range of fun social programs, including festive and popular tailgate parties before home football games. This idea was originally proposed by past USC Associates President Kennedy Galpin and his wife, Bobbie, as a powerful way for the USC Associates to recruit new members. Eventually, these parties evolved into the perennially popular USC Associates Football Picnics, a tradition that continues to bring thousands of members and their guests together each game.
In 1982, the USC Associates launched its highly competitive student scholarship program to recognize students for exemplary leadership in academics and community service. Today, the USC Associates endowed student scholarship program has grown to provide more than $900,000 in annual scholarships. The most prestigious of these scholarships, the USC Associates Trustee Scholarship, awards the highest-ranking entering freshman with four years of full tuition.
There can be no doubt that the USC Associates has earned its reputation as the university’s premier academic support group. Not surprisingly, the USC Associates faculty awards and student scholarships continue to be among the most highly coveted academic honors offered at USC. The generosity of the USC Associates benefits every Trojan pursuing their education at USC and the countless future Trojans who will follow.
A Tradition of Leadership Giving
In the beginning, the USC Associates focused on raising funds for awards to recognize outstanding faculty. Over time, however, the group widened its spectrum of support. In the 1970s, for example, the USC Associates dedicated itself to endowing a series of chairs and professorships at the university. Today, by fostering teaching and learning in countless fields, the USC Associates remains true to its original charge of advancing knowledge through the support of academic excellence at the University of Southern California.
Members’ contributions have enriched nearly every aspect of the university. The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance is the first new school to be established at USC in more than 40 years and was founded thanks to a transformational gift by visionary philanthropist and USC Chairman Associate Glorya Kaufman. Numerous new campus landmarks—including the USC Engemann Student Health Center, Wallis Annenberg Hall and USC Dr. Verna and Peter Dauterive Hall, to highlight just a few—also bear the names of members of this extraordinary group. Thanks to another USC Associates family, Jill and Frank Fertitta Hall will soon transform the educational environment at the USC Marshall School of Business with state-of-the-art classrooms as well as more collaborative and technology-enabled learning spaces.. Hundreds of named scholarships, academic chairs, classrooms, fountains and other areas of campus reflect the Associates’ wide reaching impact.
The USC Associates Today
There can be no doubt that the enthusiasm, loyalty and leadership of the USC Associates have played a key role in making USC the world-class institution that it is today. For over a half-century, Associates members have proven themselves to be among the most devoted members of the Trojan Family—fostering innovative research, education, artistic creation and community service on many vital fronts at USC, and helping the university attract students and faculty of the highest caliber.
Today’s USC Associates offers a full array of membership levels and courtesies, a wide-ranging calendar of events and more support opportunities than ever before. When you join the USC Associates, you may elect to make an unrestricted contribution, or you may direct your gift to the school or program of your choice. Additionally, several of the university’s professional schools—including the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; USC Marshall School of Business; USC School of Cinematic Arts; The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC; USC School of Pharmacy; USC School of Social Work; and USC School of Dramatic Arts—have established their own dedicated USC Associates groups, with their own select activities and giving options.
In 2011, President C.L. Max Nikias launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of USC, with a goal of raising $6 billion to grow the university’s endowment and transform every aspect of the university. Already, USC has raised more than $3.7 billion, with gifts and pledges from USC Associates accounting for $1.3 billion. Since the campaign began, USC Associates have named two schools, five buildings, three centers, and 65 new endowed scholarships.
As the University of Southern California moves forward with its plan to redefine the research university of the 21st century, the USC Associates will be there—helping write exciting new chapters in the history of our great university.