University of Southern California

Giving to USC

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 charted 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 , now called the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship and the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, continue to represent the highest honors the university can bestow upon its faculty members and total $30,000.

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 hundreds 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 $620,000 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. Members’ contributions have enriched nearly every aspect of the university. Twelve of USC’s professional schools are named after USC Associates members. Numerous campus landmarks bear the names of members of this extraordinary group. And hundreds of named scholarships, academic chairs, classrooms, fountains and other areas of campus reflect the Associates’ wide reaching impact. 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.

Not surprisingly, the USC Associates faculty awards and student scholarships are among the most highly coveted academic honors offered at USC. One of the university’s prestigious professional schools — the USC Rossier School of Education — is powered by the names of USC alumni and Associates members Barbara J. and Roger W. Rossier. Numerous campus landmarks — such as the Ahmanson Center for Biological Research, Birnkrant Residential College, Asa V. Call Law Library, Dedeaux Field, Richard K. Eamer Medical Plaza, General William Lyon University Center, Harlyne Norris Cancer Research Tower, Jane Hoffman Popovich and J. Kristoffer Popovich Hall, and Salvatori Computer Science Center, to highlight just a few — also bear the names of members of this extraordinary group. Thanks to another USC Associates member, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s newly opened Ronald Tutor Hall provides yet another state-of-the-art facility for teaching and research — one that that will help shape the future of engineering at USC.

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 Theatre — have established their own dedicated USC Associates groups, with their own select activities and giving options.

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.

We invite you to join the USC Associates!

Download a membership application (in PDF format).

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