Trojan Family Magazine Spring 2014

Page 1










CA L I F OR N I A SP R I N G 2 0 14

$ 4. 9 5


“ WE MUST BE B O LD” Fas Regna Trojae, the $6 Billion Campaign for the University of Southern California, Surpasses the Halfway Point in Record Time

TFM Spring Cover1 3.12_R4_RRD.indd 1

3/17/14 1:51 PM

Photo: Michel Gibert. Special thanks: Alain Cordier for Hortus

Manufactured in Europe.

Mah Jong modular seating in

Domino rug, designed by

fabric, designed by Hans Hopfer for Roche Bobois

LOS ANGELES - 8850 Beverly Blvd. - Tel. (310) 274-6520 - COSTA MESA - 3060 Bristol Street - Tel. (714) 557-1422 - LA JOLLA - 7611 Girard Avenue - Tel. (858) 459-0297 Complimentary parking and interior design services available. Open Sundays. ATLANTA - BOSTON - CHICAGO - COLUMBUS, OH - CORAL GABLES, FL - DALLAS - DENVER - HOUSTON - MANHASSET, NY - NATICK, MA - NEW YORK, 35 TH ST NEW YORK, 57 TH ST - PALM BEACH, FL - PHILADELPHIA - SAN FRANCISCO - SAN JUAN, PR - SCOTTSDALE - SEATTLE - TROY, MI - WASHINGTON, DC

Showrooms, collections, news and catalogs

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 2

2/27/14 7:16 AM

l’art de vivre by roche bobois

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 1

2/27/14 7:16 AM


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 2

autumn winter 2012 2013

2/27/14 7:16 AM


USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 3

usc trojan usc trojan family family



A third of USC students use a bike on campus at least once a week, and a 2012 report estimated that there are as many as 12,700 student bikes on or around campus. To cut down on accidents, USC created bike lanes on Trousdale Parkway a few years ago, and cyclists are asked to dismount bicycles in congested areas, making “walk your bike� a campus mantra. Faculty, staf and students also started the USC Bike Coalition, which promotes bike safety.

3/7/14 8:56 AM

An EPA-estimated rating of 45 city mpg1 does make the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid a singular experience.

But here is an even more interesting fact. Its starting price is the same as the MKZ gas model’s. Interest piqued? For a more in-depth look, connect with your Lincoln Concierge2 at or visit a Lincoln Showroom today.

Get to know the 2014 MKZ Hybrid at

Optional features shown. 1EPA-estimated rating of 45 city/45 hwy/45 combined mpg. Actual mileage will vary. 2Customer negotiates final vehicle price.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 4

2/27/14 7:16 AM

inside 6

Editor’s Note Trojans use high tech for a truly higher education.


President’s Page A revolutionary gift signals a new era of collaboration between engineering and the biomedical sciences.


Mailbag Pats, pride and other observations and opinions from readers.


News Latino Trojans make big gains, a video game helps kids with autism, and an undergrad writes the book on USC.


To the Moon By Marc Ballon USC engineers push the 3-D printing boom, perhaps all the way to space.

24 Swim Team By Hope Hamashige USC alums work together to reach for the gold at the Rio Summer Olympics.


Lives in the Balance Physicians are now treating, even curing, some cancers once thought to be untreatable. See what’s ahead at USC Norris. By Amber Dance


Cardinal, Gold and Bold In just two and a half years since launching a $6 billion fundraising campaign, the Trojan Family has already pushed USC more than halfway to its target. By Sam Lopez and Alicia Di Rado

30 Life, Rebooted By Hope Hamashige Robotic surgery restores fatherhood and ftness to a man whose life was threatened by kidney cancer.


Alumni News Trojans reconnect at Reunion Weekend, a USC trustee receives the highest alumni award, and a super volunteer makes time management an art form.

63 Class Notes

Who’s doing what and where.


Ask Tommy Trojans living with Bruins tell us how they keep the peace at home.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1-2.indd 5


Witness Protection Te USC Shoah Foundation painstakingly guards the last remaining voices of the survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust. By Diane Krieger


Te Ultimate Playground USC students create the digital future in a new interactive building. By Robert Bradford

ON THE COVER: A stoic Trojan keeps watch from a carved archway in USC’s Physical Education Building. Photo by Allison V. Smith

usc trojan family


3/17/14 2:06 PM

e d i t o r’ s n o t e

We Can’t Live by Tech Alone It’s so easy to fall in love with technology—the gizmos, the gadgets, the elegant lines of the latest smartphone. I confess I’m not immune to the attraction: I won’t go out on a morning run without my GPS watch. In this issue of USC Trojan Family Magazine, you’ll see a lot about technology. You’ll learn about USC’s Interactive Media Building, where our students, faculty members and inventors are creating the high-tech tools we’ll use to communicate in the future. Tere’s also the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, where researchers developed special video restoration software to restore some of the 52,000 recorded testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. Tese just scratch the surface of what’s underway here. USC is committed to investing at least $1 billion in support of digital knowledge and informatics over the next 10 years, and part of that is devoted to the digital humanities: the use of technology to help us understand history, language, our collective and unique stories, and more. As the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs put it, “[T]echnology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” Yes, we are creating new tools, but it’s what we do with these tools that matters. Be sure to use your electronic gadgets to share your thoughts and memories with us at and Alicia Di Rado Editor-In-Chief, USC Trojan Family Magazine

Te quarterly magazine of the University of Southern California E DI TO R-I N- CHI EF

Alicia Di Rado M ANAGI NG E DI TOR

Elisa Huang SE NI O R E DI TO R

Diane Krieger DE PART M E NT S E DITOR

Mary Modina ART DI RE CTO R

Sheharazad P. Fleming DE SI GN AND PRO DUCTION

Pentagram Design, Austin


Diane Anderson

Eddie North-Hager

Merrill Balassone

Pamela J. Johnson

Orli Belman

Sue Khodarahmi

Erin Connors

Russ Ono

Allison Engel

Robert Perkins

Roberto Gomez

Senta Scarborough

Josh Grossberg

Lauren Walser

Jon Nalick

Claude Zachary




Kristy Day |

USC Trojan Family Magazine 3434 S. Grand Ave., CAL 140 Los Angeles, CA 90089-2818 | (213) 740-2684


USC Trojan Family Magazine (ISSN 8750-7927) is published in March, May, September and December by USC University Communications.

MOVING? Submit your updated mailing address at


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 6

spring 2014

3/7/14 6:54 AM

p r e s i d e n t’ s p a g e



b y c. l. m a x n i k i a s On a sunny day in January, scores of Trojans flled Town & Gown to overfowing, as a sense of excitement permeated our campuses. Faculty, staf and students gathered outside, on the patio, eager to hear that morning’s news: USC had received a $50 million gift from Dr. Gary K. Michelson, a renowned inventor and retired orthopaedic surgeon. His extraordinarily generous gift will establish the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience. Housed in a new building, the center will signal a new era of collaboration between the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Te center will stand in the southwest quadrant of our University Park Campus, in close proximity to the majority of our science and engineering buildings. It will fundamentally redefne how research is conducted at the intersection of engineering and the life and biomedical sciences, and help further develop a major biomedical research corridor in Southern California. Dr. Michelson, who is a resident of Los Angeles, is a new benefactor of the university. In supporting USC, he said he was drawn to our collaborative spirit and our unique ability to bring together experts from diverse felds. He told the Los Angeles Times that this approach “resonates with my life work,” and that he wishes to advance “research for humanity’s sake, goal oriented, with results manifested in the real world.” Today Dr. Michelson is internationally known as a philanthropist. He has funded medical research, provided textbooks to students and worked to convert municipal animal shelters into no-kill adoption facilities. He spent more than 25 years as a spinal surgeon, and his groundbreaking work has generated more than 955 issued or pending patents worldwide. Over the course of his career, he has improved spinal implant operating procedures and the instruments to perform those procedures, which have helped millions of patients sufering from spine ailments. Now, in providing his support to create the USC Michelson Center, he advances the university’s eforts to turn the biological sciences into a quantitative and predictive science, fast-tracking the detection and cure of diseases. In recent years, we have made signifcant strides in our understanding of living systems spurred by the genome revolution, coupled with improvements

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 7

in computing technology. Scientists at the USC Michelson Center will collaborate to translate those advances to the real world and accelerate the invention of life-saving biomedical devices. The USC Michelson Center will house 20 to 30 principal investigators with laboratories employing hundreds of researchers and students. Te facility will include cutting-edge fexible labs, a center for electron microscopy and analysis, a nanofabrication facility and a suite of microscopy imaging technology that can take precise measurements inside cells. In addition to advancing this pioneering work, Dr. Michelson’s gift represents a magnifcent milestone in USC’s current fundraising initiative, which seeks to raise $6 billion or more in private support from individual donors, foundations and corporations. When we launched the campaign, its fundraising goal was the largest ever announced in higher education. And in just three years, we have seen remarkable progress, reaching the landmark sum of $3 billion. Dr. Michelson’s $50 million gift comes as a superb boost to our eforts and advances the university well past the halfway point. I know the entire Trojan Family joins me in expressing gratitude to Dr. Michelson and his wife, Alya. Dr. Michelson’s philanthropic foresight will beneft so many around the world, as the USC Michelson Center fourishes in the coming decades. We will break ground on the center later this year and anticipate its opening within three years.

At the formal announcement ceremony in January

usc trojan family


3/7/14 6:55 AM

Winter Wonderland I just fnished reading the Winter 2013 issue. Wonderful. Tis is the best issue I have ever read. I’m so proud. Conrad Weiler Ms ’67 (las) Camp Sherman, OR Te Winter 2013 issue is absolutely stunning. Te photography was captivating and the design/layout was creative and engaging. Te stories were interesting, relevant and useful. I’m not sure if you’ve changed something, but whatever you are doing, keep it up! Bravo! Je d L i nk ’0 2 ( sc j ) San Diego, CA I was delighted to see the photo on page 9 in the Winter 2013 issue. What an impressive freshman class! I was even more delighted to see my godson, Will Jameson, who is front and center with the “I (heart) California More Tan NY” T-shirt. I’d like to present [a copy of this page] to his Stanford mother and Cal father! Te more Trojan love I can bestow upon them, the better! Christine Roark Ortiz ’90 (bus) Manhattan Beach, CA “Mind Gamers” (Winter 2013, p. 31), about the fantastic athletes at USC and their academic achievements, was refreshing to read. Te powerful message reinforced the strong relationship between the classroom and the athletic feld. As a superintendent of schools, I advocated the scholar-athlete concept, and reminded local sports editors to note GPA and future college and university plans for those athletes who were highlighted daily. Young athletes will better understand that the twin “A’s” (athletics and academics) are equally important. Tanks for the meaningful reminder. Fernando R. Elizondo EdD ’78 (edu) Salinas, CA Your article about Dr. Zlokovic’s work on Alzheimer’s disease was excellent (“Dr. Discovery,” Winter 2013, p. 38). For anyone who has seen a loved one sufer with this disease, your article was a ray of hope. S t e v e G l ae ser M A ’ 7 9 ( dra ) Colorado Springs, CO


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 8

We welcome your feedback. Submit your letter to the editor at

Mazel tov to the amazing Prof. Arieh Warshel (Winter 2013, p. 42)! May he kindle the minds of his students and staf with his wisdom for many years to come. Jana-R os e Sav i t East Northport, NY

On Film I really enjoyed your guide to Los Angeles culture (“Essential LA,” Autumn 2013, p. 28). Tere are too many noir flms with great views of Los Angeles to list, but there is one flm that really should be on the list: Te Exiles, made between 1958 and 1961 by USC flm student Kent Mackenzie ’64. He worked with a group of Native Americans living in LA and merged scenes from their lives into a poignant and epic drama of loneliness and alienation. Te night scenes of LA alone are reason enough to see this exceptional flm. It has been beautifully restored by the UCLA flm school and is available on video. Unfortunately, Mackenzie’s early death cut short what surely would have been a brilliant career. We are fortunate to have this masterpiece available to us, especially those of us who fell in love with LA while at USC. S h ar on Jone s Ph ar mD ’ 71 (ph m) Nevada City, CA “Ask Tommy,” about Doheny Memorial Library appearing in Te Graduate (Winter 2013, p. 72), brought back memories. I was a wide-eyed freshman in 1965-66 when parts of that movie were being flmed around the Doheny fountain and the newly constructed Von KleinSmid Center. I watched as the cameras flmed the actors and extras moving about these areas, although I don’t remember seeing Dustin Hofman. I was impressed that a big-name movie was being flmed on campus, and I never miss an opportunity to watch for the USC scenes whenever Te Graduate is on television. Tanks for sharing all of the other flms and shows that have used the campus as a backdrop; never realized there were so many. Don Williamson ’70 (Arc), MBA ’72 (bus) Rancho Mirage, CA



There are 50 famous members of the Trojan Family pinned on USC’s Pinterest board, but there’s only one Dexter Holland. To most, he’s lead singer of the punk rock band The Ofspring, slated to tour Europe this year. But he also lit up Twitter in 2013 when he tweeted about his frst published research paper. He’s known as Bryan Holland ’88, MS ’90 at USC, where—as a molecular biology PhD candidate—he’s studying small molecules that HIV or cancer may use to survive and thrive.




Followers of USC Squirrels ( uscsquirrels) as of Jan. 1. Penned by students, the page chronicles the adventures of rodents who live, love and leave no burger wrapper unturned on the University Park Campus.

50,000+ Applicants for a spot in the 2014 USC freshman class. Visit USC’s Facebook page and in late March to see new Trojans telling the world, “I got in!”




“Likes” on USC’s Facebook page for a gift of $20 million from two Trojan Family members to fund scholarships at USC Dornsife, USC Marshall and the USC School of Social Work.

spring 2014

3/7/14 6:22 AM















King Power Black Mamba. Central 48-minute chronograph in black ceramic, with four 12-minute zones corresponding to the quarters of a basketball game. Structured dial adorned with the symbolic snake. Rubber and python strap. Tribute to the legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant. Limited edition of 250 pieces.

usc trojan family •

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 9 •


2/27/14 7:16 AM

What was, is

Island of Hawaii 866.977.4589


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 10 winter 2013

2/27/14 7:16 AM



DESIGN HERITAGE In 1994, Saul Bass, one of the United States’ most iconic graphic designers, created USC’s visual look and feel in the 1990s. Bass is known for designing animated title sequences for movies such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and logos such as the AT&T globe. His USC logo and identity system remained the university’s standard until 2011.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 11

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:16 AM


trojan news

Fuel for Tought USC Dornsife chemists George Olah, a Nobel laureate, and G.K. Surya Prakash PhD ’78, director of Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, received a $1 million prize from the Israeli government for their groundbreaking research. The Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation recognizes their work on the methanol economy, a concept to use methanol to replace fossil fuels and petroleum-based energy sources. So what is methanol and how might it fuel our future?


IT’S A GROWING ECONOMIC SECTOR Globally, the methanol industry accounts for creating more than 100,000 jobs and generates $36 billion in economic activity each year.

6 IT HAS ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS Methanol is cleaner burning than gasoline and generates fewer emissions. In the case of accidental large-scale spills, methanol, unlike gasoline, is soluble in water and is biodegradable.


IT’S A TYPE OF ALCOHOL Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, is the simplest of all alcohols. Stored like gasoline, it’s a colorless liquid with a faint, pleasant odor.


IT’S CARBONNEUTRAL Methanol can be generated by recycling atmospheric carbon dioxide. This means it could be a carbon-neutral fuel source. An Icelandic company already has set up a commercial-scale facility to do this. Its name: the George Olah Renewable Methanol Plant.

IT HAS MANY SOURCES Methanol was originally made by distilling wood. Today, it can be created from natural gas, coal and renewable sources like plants or even carbon dioxide.



IT CAN MULTITASK An excellent fuel for running cars, trucks, fuel cells and even electric power turbines, methanol is also used to make hundreds of products that touch our lives—from plastics to pharmaceuticals.

Methanol has higher octane ratings than gasoline, which means higher engine efficiency and faster acceleration. (There’s a reason methanol blends are the fuel of choice at the Indianapolis 500). It also costs less per gallon than gasoline.

Fulbrights By the Dozen USC is once again among the top U.S. universities for Fulbrights. Twelve current and recently graduated Trojans will teach English, study or conduct research this year in nations ranging Jasneet Aulakh’s award will take her to India to study the role of women in village governments and the country’s system of proxy voting, or letting another vote on one’s behalf. Aulakh, a senior triple-majoring in history, English and philosophy, was intrigued by the topic because she found little substantial research on it.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 12

from Laos to Mexico through the Fulbright Program, the federal government’s international educational exchange program. Meet three of this year’s grant recipients:

Molly Levine will head to Thailand as a teaching assistant in English. A senior in global health who’s also minoring in psychology, Levine hopes to educate students about health.

Juan Espinoza, a senior double-majoring in international relations and communications, will travel to Mexico to investigate the production and publication of media content. He’s particularly interested in how content affects communities and how Latino communities can be better and more accurately represented in the media.



Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and G.K. Surya Prakash

IN THE U.S. Methanol is already used as an efficient fuel in places like China and Iran. But in the U.S., an Open Fuel Standard would need to be passed. The Environmental Protection Agency currently bans its use as a fuel. Prakash describes the issue as “a legislative one.”

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:02 AM

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 13

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:16 AM

trojan news

To Te Moon USC Viterbi researchers aim to spread their 3-D printing technology throughout our world—and beyond.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 14

USC Viterbi Professor Yong Chen and his research team found a way to fabricate items more quickly than today’s 3-D printers—about 20 times faster than the popular MakeBot printer, by Chen’s estimates. Fellow engineering Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis created a robotic 3-D printer that he believes will one day quickly build low-cost housing. His “contour crafting” technology, he said, could produce a 2,500-square-foot home in only 24 hours compared to the six to nine months it now takes to build the typical American home. NASA funding may take contour

crafting to the moon, Mars and beyond. Khoshnevis aims to use solar power to melt elements of the moon’s and Mars’ surfaces to transform them into concrete-like building materials. He envisions robots printing extraterrestrial airports, houses and even greenhouses. Windau also has ambitious plans. “We can’t wait to begin selling our copiers,” he said. “We hope to have them in thousands of American schools, design studios and households by the end of the year.” © NASA

Imagine a machine that could pop out an object at your mere command. USC Viterbi School of Engineering PhD students Jens Windau and Kai Chang are making it happen. In 2013 they decided to produce the world’s frst all-in-one 3-D printer, copier, scanner and fax machine. Teir vision: Just push a button and within minutes the printer would print a ring or toy by extruding plastic through its nozzle. Teir timing couldn’t have been better. Te market for 3-D printing is sizzling. Worldwide revenue for these products is expected to jump to $10.8 billion by 2021, according to Goldman Sachs. Car companies now use 3-D printing to prototype vehicle parts, and shoe manufacturers are even printing sneakers. In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said 3-D printing could “revolutionize the way we make almost everything.” Unfortunately, Windau and Chang had little more than a good idea and a lot of determination. But that was enough to earn their fedgling AIO Robotics a coveted spot in the USC Viterbi Startup Garage, a business accelerator for USCafliated startups. Te 12-week business boot camp netted them their 3-D printer prototype named Zeus. So hot is Zeus that a September Kickstarter campaign surpassed its $100,000 fundraising goal in just 24 hours. “Zeus,” according to, “may be a game changer in getting [3-D] printers into the consumer market.” Amazon plans to soon sell the machine, which enables designers to “fax” an object from one Zeus printer to another one anywhere in the world, producing an exact replica in 15 minutes. “We would like to bring a 3-D printer into everyone’s home,” said AIO Robotics CEO Windau. Zeus is one of several 3-D printing technologies that have emerged at USC.

NASA is funding a plan to simulate the use of contour crafting to build a base on the moon.


spring 2014

3/7/14 7:06 AM


Terranea feels much more like its own land than it does a resort. A land where quality time is celebrated. And where every day spent with family is a special occasion. Come discover a land not far away and fnd exclusive offers at or by calling 866.802.8000.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 15

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:16 AM

New Thinking on Alzheimer’s USC’s Roberta Diaz Brinton and Lon Schneider are testing a brain steroid called allopregnanolone, or allo, to potentially fght the mild memory loss typical of early Alzheimer’s disease. Other researchers are studying the drug’s efectiveness on traumatic brain injury as well. “Allo is the frst regenerative therapeutic for Alzheimer’s that has the potential to regenerate nerve cells and the pathways necessary for memory,” said Brinton, the R. Pete Vanderveen Chair in Terapeutic Discovery and Development at the USC School of Pharmacy. In the lab, she’s already shown that allo boosts the growth of new brain cells, reduces levels of amyloid (a protein that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients) and restores cognitive function. Teir trial is a bellwether for a new approach to Alzheimer’s treatment: restoring nerve cells rather than fghting amyloid, said Schneider, who directs the USC State of California Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Te National Institute on Aging supports the phase I trial. Researchers laid the groundwork for the study through funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. 16

usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 16


When members of the U.S. Armed Forces go on deployment, they’re not the only ones at risk. USC School of Social Work experts are studying what happens to children when their parents in the military are deployed. Among their many fndings: Teens are more likely to be victimized by classmates, carry weapons to school and sufer depression. About 1.76 million U.S. children live in military families, underscoring the impact of the researchers’ work in mental health.

UP FOR DEBATE Two nationally ranked teams took center stage, and the crowd buzzed. But the excitement wasn’t for a big game. It was for a debate. In 1935, USC, then the national champion debate team, broke convention to compete against undefeated, all-black Wiley College of Marshall, Texas. When Wiley’s team won, it became the first historically black college to earn a national championship—and it set the stage for the civil rights movement. That debate inspired the 2007 film The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, which depicts Wiley College defeating Harvard. Washington later donated $1 million to help Wiley College revive its debate team. The revitalized team traveled to Los Angeles for an exhibition rematch against the USC Annenberg Trojan Debate Squad last October. It was the first time the teams had met at USC for 78 years. Their topic: the merits of affirmative action. And quite by accident, each team consisted of one black student and one white student. “We are a perfect example of the world that those great debaters were fighting for in 1935,” Wiley College debater Lyle Kleinman said. In the week prior, USC and Wiley students had dinner together, attended a USC football game and bonded over their shared passion for discourse. “[Debate] has helped me see so many perspectives that I wouldn’t have considered before,” said Clara Perk, USC debate team captain. “Debate is so unique because it gives us the opportunity to understand both sides of an issue.” Wiley College narrowly edged out USC in the exhibition. To read more, go to


“We think you create a better intellectual and artistic climate when you have diverse people coming together.” USC School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth Daley, in the Los Angeles Times, on growing numbers of Latinos and African Americans in the school’s graduate programs


trojan news

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:09 AM


Savor roCkSUgarPaNaSIaNkITChEN.CoM

Westfield Century City 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los angeles, Ca 90067 310.277.3898

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 17

Visit Westfield.Com

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:16 AM

trojan news East Meets West

Tanks a Million Support from USC’s Widney Society members opens the Trojan Family to frst-generation Trojans like Marqise Lee.

This “Horseshoe Chair” is made from huanghuali, a prized hardwood. China, late Ming Dynasty.

being part of a family, but bouncing around made it almost impossible. Tere were kind people along the way I owe thanks to, like foster parents who opened their homes to me. But I never truly felt like I had a family. But that changed when I met the Hesters, Miss Sheila and Big Steve, in high school. I became friends with their son. We were basketball classmates. I spent so much time at their house, it felt like I basically lived there. One day I asked if I could stay permanently and, with great surprise, they said yes. I fnally found my family, with a few strings attached: I had to get my act together in school… Tey took a chance on me, and I can honestly say I’m grateful. I’d like to say I appreciate everything you do for me—but I’ve got to keep it together. [Tearing up.] In much the same way, everybody here tonight takes a chance with every gift they make to the university. You didn’t know us when you made your donations. You took a chance on me, just a kid from Inglewood. Because of that I am forever, ever grateful to all of you.


No one understands the power of family like someone who grew up without one. Just ask USC football star Marqise Lee. He’s a wide receiver with a ready smile who’s looking toward an NFL career, but not long ago, his rough start to life put his future in doubt. Lee shared his story with members of the Widney Society, USC’s group for donors who have given $1 million or more to the university. Started in 2012, the Widney Society recognizes some of USC’s strongest backers. Te group’s annual dinner last November included 86 new members whose gifts in 2013 pushed them over the million-dollar mark. In Lee, Widney Society members heard frsthand about the Trojan students they’re helping. Lee opened up about growing up in the foster care system and thanked donors for supporting undergraduate education: Te Trojan Family means the world to me because for most of my life my world was smaller than you can imagine. It pretty much consisted of the streets of Inglewood, where growing up was tough. My siblings and I were taken from my mother when I was 6 and put into the foster system. My older sister soon went on her own, and my two brothers joined gangs. Now one is dead and the other is in jail. For most of my youth, it was just my younger sister and I, and I tried my best to look out for her. I dreamed of

If you want to be wowed by woodblocks or are jazzed to see jade, the USC Pacifc Asia Museum is for you. USC has formed an alliance with the Pasadena, Calif.-based museum of Asian and Pacifc Island arts and culture, which means lots of collaborations are in store. Check hours, location and other details at

Woodblock prints, such as “Le Genie Sans Nom. Corée,” are a mainstay of the museum’s collection of Japanese art. Paul Jacoulet, Japan, 1953. Called Origins of Life, this porcelain sculpture was created by Korean artist Sung-Min An, 2003.

TOP: Marqise Lee embraces his Trojan Family. LEFT: From left, Glorya Kaufman, Dana Dornsife, David Dornsife, John Mork, Julie Mork, C. L. Max Nikias, Niki C. Nikias, Pamela Schaefer and Leonard D. Schaefer


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1.indd 18

spring 2014

3/14/14 7:18 AM



AN icONic BridGE. A hiddEN PArAdiSE. A LONG BrEAth OUt. thE WhiSPEr OF FOUNtAiNS. thE ScENt OF hiBiScUS. thE cOmPLEtE EScAPE. hOtEL BEL-Air.

usc trojan family


LOS ANGELES | +1 310 472 1211 l dOrchEStErcOLLEctiON.cOm

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 19

2/27/14 7:16 AM





Screen Science USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Hao Li wants to create your future.

USC computer scientist Hao Li blends math with creative flair, and you can see his results on screen. He credits the visual effects from Jurassic Park as his inspiration to get into programming, and during graduate school he worked at Industrial Light & Magic on an algorithm that helped filmmakers capture and reproduce facial expressions for the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. Fresh off his inclusion in MIT Technology Review’s list of the world’s top innovators under 35, Li talked with USC Trojan Family Magazine’s Alicia Di Rado about everything from the challenges of mathematizing the world to baking bread. Read more from his interview and see video at tfm.usc. edu/2014-effects. What’s your niche? There’s a huge field in computer science called computer vision. A camera can take a picture of someone and the computer can recognize who it is, for example. What we’re doing differently is we’re using sensors that aren’t regular cameras—they’re cameras that can see in 3-D. And I create software that tells the computer to understand what it’s seeing. So you help computers transform data into moving pictures. One of my projects is about facial capture. Traditionally in the film industry, people place markers on actors’ faces and, depending on the facial motions, they translate the motion to computer-generated creatures. Like in Avatar—you can see the character behaving exactly like Zoe Saldana. We try to re-create reality by defining models that simplify reality. We have to find the closest formula that describes something. For example, if I want to re-create this flat table, that’s easy—it’s a plane. That’s just one equation. But if there’s a bump in it, you won’t see the bump with a simple equation. It gets a lot more complicated when you’re re-creating someone’s face. Are you a math guy who’s into art, or an artist who’s into math? Actually, when I was a kid I was more into art, even though I had a computer at an early age. But then at some point it just switched. During my undergrad studies I wanted to focus on math and computer science-related topics and more theoretical things. I almost went into cryptography. I think I got easily inspired by people who were really good in their field. I get addicted to things and excited about them really quickly. But then the more artsy thing came back. I still want to do something that looks great.


Maybe you’re looking to solve problems. Mmm. I’m not looking to solve problems, but I like to solve problems. I like to create things, like how the future would look. I like the idea of defining how people are going to live in the future.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 20

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:15 AM

Light up your imagination at this year’s festival. Catch famous celebrities, authors and filmmakers as they share show-stopping stories. Dance to the © 2014 SARAH J. COLEMAN

beat of L.A. bands and don’t miss artists creating original work on campus.

April 12 & 13 | Free Admission | USC Campus |

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 21

2/27/14 7:17 AM

trojan news BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL Trojan alumni and friends are supporting the $6 billion Campaign for USC by giving to USC schools and programs that make a diference.

Launched its fundraising initiative Feb. 6 with a goal of

$150 million Author, Author He hasn’t even started his senior year, but Charles Epting has already written the book on USC. University Park, Los Angeles: A Brief History grew out of encouragement from his dad—a historian and travel writer—and Epting’s prodigious curiosity. “It’s hard not to get immersed in all the history when you are surrounded by these buildings and these legends. I started collecting fun facts, news articles, anything I could fnd,” says Epting, a geology major with minors in environmental studies and history. “I wanted to explore every inch of campus.” One of his early fans was USC President C. L. Max Nikias, who called him to his ofce. “He wanted to sit down with me and talk about what got me started writing the book at my young age,” Epting says. “He was so supportive and so proud. It was fantastic!” Epting easily shares quirky tidbits of USC times gone by. One of his favorites is how USC got its nickname. A Los Angeles Times sports reporter in 1912 wrote that USC “fought like Trojans,” he says. But the writer was discussing the track and feld team and not—contrary to popular belief—the football team, which had been temporarily replaced by a rugby team. Epting’s history with USC dates back to his high school days, when he volunteered at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History’s Dinosaur Institute. Head paleontologist and USC adjunct professor of earth sciences Luis Chiappe told him about USC’s geology program. Soon afterward, a campus tour sealed his fate as a Trojan. Now he’s got another History Press book in the works, this time on the New Deal in Orange County. Te Huntington Beach, Calif., native still plans to pursue a paleontology career, which will require a PhD, and USC is on his list. But he’ll continue to plumb history too. Says Epting: “It is just so much fun to get wrapped up in this and combine science and humanities.”


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 22

The funds raised will be used to provide scholarship support for students, attract additional stellar faculty and create a physical space that fosters collaborative and inter-professional learning.

Curious about your favorite school’s or program’s fundraising target? Visit and click “School and Unit Goals” at the bottom of the page.



WATCH, LEARN AND LISTEN A video game developed at USC might help kids with autism overcome their struggles to communicate. Social Clues not only entertains kids, but also teaches children with autism to make eye contact, listen and talk to others. It’s the brainchild of Jeremy Bernstein, a USC Marshall School of Business MBA student, and his speech pathologist wife, Karen Okrent. Bernstein and a 30-member team of USC students brought Social Clues to life in USC Games’ yearlong “Advanced Games” course—a class that has helped keep USC Games at the top of Princeton Review’s ranking of best college video game programs for four years. The iPad-based game has bright colors, simple characters and easy-to-read icons and other features that appeal to autistic children. Players navigate through everyday social situations, such as comforting a distraught classmate, and get rewards for correct responses. Social Clues also shows therapists and parents areas where kids need more help. Michael Zyda, founding director of the Advanced Games course and a USC Viterbi computer scientist, expects Social Clues will reach the market later this year. “They’re working with therapists who said they’d love to deploy it for their autistic children,” Zyda says.


Springtime is picnic time, at least for these young Trojans. Photographed in May 1889, less than a decade after USC’s founding, these freshmen men and women made the most of the Southern California weather by packing a picnic basket. Today’s freshmen still enjoy a good sandwich—thankfully unencumbered by the corsets, hats and gloves of the Gilded Age.



spring 2014

3/7/14 7:16 AM

Since 1932, we’ve partnered with USC to help little fans grow up to become big ones. As any football fan knows, winning is all about teamwork. The same is true in medicine. That’s why for more than 80 years, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has teamed with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California to help kids win the fight against illness and disease. Thanks to great partners like USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was recently ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious Honor Roll for the fifth consecutive year. To learn more about the hospital with a tradition of cheering for kids and the Trojans for more than 80 years, visit or call 888- 631-2452.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 23

2/27/14 7:17 AM

T R O J A N V O I C E S O U S S A M A M E L L O U L I ’0 7 A N D T A R A P O L L A K D P T ’0 3

Swim Team

Tara Pollak DPT ’03 keeps Olympic gold medalist Ous Mellouli ’07 in the swim.

Mellouli: 2010 was my worst season. Every time I got in the pool it was like someone was running a sharp knife through my shoulder. I was introduced to Tara and from the second we met we got along. Tara did things diferently than other physical therapists. She helped me understand that I needed to work on my shoulder, but that part of the problem was weaknesses in other muscles. Pollak: We do a lot of strength and conditioning in addition to physical therapy. I’ve even flmed him to analyze his stroke.

the table. Other athletes who’ve done surgery didn’t come back as strong. Pollak: He won a gold in the 10-kilometer marathon and bronze in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the London Olympics. Mellouli: I thought that would be a good time to retire, but… Pollak: After he decided to come back, we trained in France for several weeks to get him ready for competition. He didn’t expect to win a gold in the 5 kilometer and bronze in the 10 kilometer at the World Championships in Barcelona.

“My gym time with Tara is as key to my swimming success as any of my pool workouts.”

Mellouli: I need to stay healthy to make it to the Olympics in Rio, and I know Tara will help. Mellouli continues to train at USC, and Pollak is clinical director of Evolution Physical Therapy in Culver City, Calif. Follow their progress to Rio 2016 on Twitter at @PollakTara and @MellouliOussama.


Oussama “Ous” Mellouli and Tara Pollak met at a critical time for the former USC Trojan swimmer. Mellouli had a potentially career-ending injury and faced surgery, but he ruled out the knife once he started working with Pollak, a graduate of USC’s doctor of physical therapy program. Call it a case of Trojans helping Trojans, as Mellouli’s Olympic future now looks bright. They shared their story with writer Hope Hamashige.

Mellouli: Physical therapy is hard, very technical work. I’m glad I took surgery of


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 24

spring 2014

2/27/14 7:17 AM

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 25

2/27/14 7:17 AM

trojan news


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 26


Introducing (drumroll, please) … the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Te name change, which replaced “fne arts” with “art and design,” signals an expanded vision for the school. Last fall, the school ofered its frst course in graphic design in fashion marketing and announced a new minor in 3-D design. “Te new name represents a subtle yet momentous shift in how our students identify themselves and their work within contemporary visual culture,” says Dean Erica Muhl. “It also celebrates the successes of a close-knit network of alumni whose professional specialties range from typography to art direction to brandidentity development.”

UP FOR A FINANCIAL BOOST Countless future USC undergrads can look forward to unforgettable experiences that will shape their lives, thanks to two members of the Trojan Family. A $20 million gift from a married couple will back scholarships and research opportunities at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, USC School of Social Work and USC Marshall School of Business. At USC Dornsife, the funds will support students’ international travel, feld research and service. Funds designated for USC Marshall and USC School of Social Work will go toward scholarships that will enable students to attend USC. Endowed scholarships are critical to attracting the highest-quality students, says USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “The tremendous generosity of these donors will signifcantly advance USC’s eforts in this important area.” The gift from the donors, who wish to remain anonymous, is one of the largest individual contributions for student support in Trojan history.


“The notion of allocating public dollars in the state of California is one that’s not embraced by politicians or voters.” USC Marshall sports business expert David Carter, in the Orange County Register, on the state’s aging football stadiums


Big Gains for Latino Trojans Eight U.S. universities are models for how to improve graduation rates among people of color and low-income students, according to Te Education Trust—and USC is the only private university among them. It’s also the only member of the Association of American Universities, representing the nation’s top research schools. ¶ According to the Washington, D.C.-based nonproft’s recent report on “highperforming and fast-gaining institutions,” graduation rates for Latino students increased at USC by 19 points, nearly reaching the same rate as its white students. Te six-year graduation rate for Latino Trojans now exceeds 91 percent. ¶ “Our success with Latino students can be attributed to a holistic approach that brings together faculty, academic advisers and student-life professionals to promote engagement and success,” says Gene Bickers, vice provost for undergraduate programs. ¶ Other institutions commended by Te Education Trust include Florida State, Georgia State, San Diego State and Virginia Commonwealth universities, as well as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and the University of Alabama.

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:19 AM

H E A LT H F I L E S Working moms are notoriously stressed. Now USC scientists are studying whether their angst might afect their children’s risk of obesity. With a smartphone app and other tools, researchers are monitoring mothers’ stress levels over time to see how that stress corresponds to kids’ diet and activity.


Protect and Preserve Do you have a favorite spot on the University Park Campus? It might be one of the city’s special places too. Te Los Angeles City Council recently tapped a dozen USC buildings as Historic Cultural Monuments, giving them special protection. Tese are just a few. Tell us about your favorite USC architecture at #1 BOVARD ADMINISTRATION BUILDING (1921) Details include eight stone fgures designed by artist Casper Gruenfeld that represent the “Progress of Civilization.”





Keck School of Medicine of USC scientists helped uncover a gene that may account for a big part of the elevated Type 2 diabetes risk among some Latinos. People who carry two copies of the gene are 50 percent more likely than others to have diabetes. Scientists know that a type of herpes virus can lead to Kaposi’s sarcoma in people also infected with HIV. Now, thanks to a study led by a USC scientist, researchers understand why. The fndings give the medical world a new target to potentially fght this and similar cancers.

#2 DOHENY MEMORIAL LIBRARY (1932) This brick and limestone building designed by Ralph Adams Cram and Samuel Lunden is one of USC’s most recognized structures.



Thanks to a $19

million grant

from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Keck Medicine of USC doctors will open a stem cell therapy clinical trial for age-related macular degeneration. Researchers will grow cells and implant them in the eye to replace cells lost to disease.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 27

#3 OLIN HALL OF ENGINEERING (1963) This is one of four buildings designed by William L. Pereira & Associates representing the New Formalism style.

#4 PHYSICAL EDUCATION BUILDING (1930) Find a gymnasium, swimming pool, handball courts, dance studios and ofces inside this Romanesque Revival-style structure.

usc trojan family


3/7/14 6:26 AM





’1 3

Give and Go

A soccer career cut short opens doors to a creative life serving others.

Allie Harrison and her husband, Russell Vernon, at a soccer game in São Paulo, Brazil, last summer.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 28

Outreach Athlete of the Month. “At USC we have so much given to us,” Harrison says. For many grateful athletes, the urge “to look outside ourselves, at what we can do beyond excelling in ourselves” is strong. A creative writing major, she graduated in December with a 3.8 grade point average—good enough to earn USC’s endorsement for the Rhodes Scholarship. Though she didn’t win the scholarship, the experience forged a tight bond with faculty mentor Richard Berg of USC Dornsife, and Harrison plans to continue her studies in the school’s PhD program in creative writing and literature. “I’ve known since I was little that I wanted to write,” Harrison says. She no longer pines for professional soccer. Her religious conviction has helped “reshape my outlook on life,” she says. “I know that God had a different plan for me, and that plan is just as good.” She recently married Russell Vernon, a Cal Poly Pomona soccer player she met through Athletes in Action. Last August, the couple traveled to São Paulo to lay the groundwork for a future Athletes in Action project in Brazil that will pair student-athletes with a local ministry that helps transition teenage drug dealers toward more productive employment. Their next big challenge: brushing up on their Portuguese.


After 10 concussions, Allie Harrison ’13 should have seen it coming. But even with the grinding headaches and dizzy spells, the sophomore defender from Mission Viejo, Calif., was crushed when her soccer coach at USC gave her the news in 2011: At age 19, Harrison’s soccer career was over. It was too dangerous to continue. Harrison had dreamed of playing for the U.S. national team since she was little, and was a star athlete in high school and on club teams. She’d come to USC full of ambition. Her coach softened the blow by making Harrison a student assistant coach so she could keep her athletic scholarship. “It was difcult at frst,” Harrison recalls, “going to practice, being on the sidelines watching and knowing I would never get back on the field again.” It didn’t take her long to bounce back, though. Part of her job called for involving her teammates in community service, and Harrison was a natural. She’d already joined USC’s chapter of Athletes in Action, an international Christian ministry that turns studentathletes into community leaders. Through the group, Harrison was tutoring homeless kids at a Skid Row afterschool program, so she was tied into potential service opportunities. NCAA athletes are already busy, so throwing community service into the mix is asking a lot. Yet all 30 of her teammates signed on. During the fall semester, they clocked 154 service hours. In September, the USC Athletic Department named Harrison its frst Community


spring 2014

3/7/14 7:30 AM

Visit to learn about projects involving USC student-athletes.

trojan news

Sport Support It’s all about building the complete student-athlete at USC. The man in charge of academic support for USC’s student-athletes once excelled playing football’s most punishing position. But this former college nose tackle also holds a PhD. Magdi El Shahawy credits his father with pushing him to excel in school long before a back injury cut short his football career. “It was one of those wake-up call moments, but I was prepared for it,” he remembers. “My dad would always say, ‘You’re always one play away from never playing football again.’” Tat lesson became a source for his work at USC. Today, USC’s StudentAthlete Academic Services includes nearly 100 tutors and academic counselors who help Trojans reach their full potential in the classroom even as they log long hours at practice. Te services are part of USC Athletics’ increasing emphasis on preparing student-athletes for all aspects of life after graduation, from pursuing their careers to being mentors in their communities. Last year, the Otis Booth Foundation gifted $5 million to endow USC Athletics’ Community Outreach Program, and Trojan

athletes embraced the chance to get involved. At the end of the frst semester, athletes had logged 2,756 hours of service, 106 more hours than in all of the 2012–13 season. More than 170 Trojan athletes volunteered during fnals week in December at USC’s annual Community Bowl, mentoring children at 32nd Street School and working alongside them to replace aging basketball nets and plant vegetable gardens. “We want our athletes to experience the community they hear cheering in the stands,” said Matt Ackels, USC Athletics’ director of community outreach. “Once they become involved in our rich community, they want to stay involved.” Te students also have a new headquarters that symbolizes the student-athlete ideal. Te Stevens Academic Center, built with a $10 million gift from the family of USC Trustee Mark A. Stevens, ofers computer workstations, tutoring spaces and study areas. Athletes can attend seminars on money management and substance abuse prevention alongside career counseling. “Our family gave the gift for the Stevens Academic Center to help ensure

that Trojan athletes for many generations to come will be successful in the classroom as well as on the feld or court,” Stevens says. “Since the vast majority of studentathletes will not go on to a professional sports career, they must be equipped to establish and build a career once they depart USC.” He’s hoping to hear success stories in the years ahead about student-athletes who used the center. Tere’s already proof that the strategy is working: Graduation rates for studentathletes are rising. While USC counts many elite athletes who choose to go pro before getting their diploma, the latest fgures show that 81 percent of USC student-athletes graduate within six years. Just a decade ago, less than 70 percent graduated within the same time. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to help young people not just graduate with their degrees, but also grow as young men and women here,” El Shahawy says, “and to take the four years to prepare for the next 44 years and beyond.” MERRILL BALASSONE


USC athletes team with LA kids and teens at the Community Bowl.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 29

usc trojan family


3/7/14 7:33 AM

trojan health

Life, Rebooted Robotic surgery uses high tech to restore fatherhood and ftness to a man whose life was threatened by kidney cancer. by hope hamashige


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 30

Aresty Department of Urology. “In 2013, Keck Medicine urologists performed well over 700 robotic surgeries, accounting for roughly three-quarters of all urologic cancer surgeries performed at USC.” In addition, the team has vast experience with robotic surgeries for prostate and bladder cancer. Together, their experience with robotic and laparoscopic surgeries includes more than 6,000 prostate cancer cases and more than 250 bladder cancer patients. Aron and Gill, who were previously at the Cleveland Clinic, note that experience is just as important when it comes to robotic surgery as it is with open surgery. Sure, the robot helps surgeons see clearly and up close in three dimensions, and it eliminates any hand tremors, Gill says, “but it is still the surgeon’s knowledge and skill that determine the outcome of the surgery.” Te department claims several significant “frsts” in the feld as well, including

developing a surgical technique that can protect the kidney from what doctors call ischemic damage—injury that occurs when the organ doesn’t get the blood it needs. Called zero-ischemia surgery, it enables surgeons to remove tumors without cutting of the blood supply to the kidney. Tey also conduct their minimally invasive kidney surgeries through tiny incisions in the belly button, which hides scars. Tese attention-grabbing techniques may have earned the department a worldwide reputation as a leader in treating kidney cancer, but the physicians have made other breakthroughs too. Under nowretired department Chair Donald Skinner, the surgeons became known for their inventive bladder cancer treatments. Tat carries on today through Keck Medicine surgeons’ robotic reconstruction work. Te team is one of very few in the U.S. that can robotically construct a new bladder from a piece of intestine completely inside the


When his doctor found a tumor in Joseph LaStella’s kidney, the Bakersfeld, Calif., resident tried to cure himself using homeopathy. Rather than shrinking, though, the tumor began growing quickly. Within weeks, it had spread. LaStella needed an operation, and he needed it soon. He turned to Monish Aron, a urologic surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC. “My doctor told me that Dr. Aron is one of the best at robotic surgery and that I would be very lucky if I had him as my surgeon,” says LaStella, a research engineer and entrepreneur. Robotic surgery sounded appealing because most patients bounce back quickly afterward, and they usually need less pain medicine, lose less blood and have less scarring than those who undergo traditional open surgery. A self-described ftness buf, LaStella wanted to return to his workouts and, more importantly, get back to being an active father to his young son. “I was back on my bike two and a half weeks after surgery,” says LaStella, now 73. A year and a half later, he’s cancer-free and in top shape. Aron says the number of patients coming to USC for robotic surgery has grown steadily in the four years he’s been at Keck Medicine of USC. “Te majority of patients now come here because they have been referred by doctors who know of our experience in robotic surgery,” he says. Tat experience is extensive. “Keck Medicine’s surgeons have performed more than 2,500 robotic and laparoscopic kidney-saving surgeries for cancer, making us one of the most experienced groups in the country,” says Inderbir S. Gill, professor and chairman of Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Catherine and Joseph

From left, Matthew Dunn, Inderbir Gill, Monish Aron, Mihir Desai and Chester Koh

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:35 AM

abdominal cavity—a feat that may help preserve the patient’s quality of life. Tese innovative procedures have drawn surgeons from other parts of the country and the world to watch and learn. Last year, their robotic surgeries were telecast to nine international and national surgical conferences, educating other surgeons so they can help patients worldwide. LaStella is living proof of that success. In LaStella’s case, Aron used surgical tools held by a robotic arm to perform a radical nephrectomy, or kidney removal, as well as an inferior vena cava tumor thrombus excision—the removal of a tumor in the vena cava, the vein that carries blood back to the heart. Aron extracted the tumor through a 3-inch-long incision in LaStella’s abdomen, with the help of a tiny camera and other tools inserted into other small incisions. As a group, Keck Medicine’s surgeons have developed a particular expertise in partial nephrectomies, having performed more than 2,500 of them using robotic and laparoscopic equipment. Partial nephrectomies allow them to remove just the diseased part of the kidney, rather than the whole organ, which benefts patients’ health for the rest of their lives. As he’d hoped, LaStella was in the hospital for only three days, and the semiretired engineer and inventor was back to working on his latest project and playing with his son much more quickly than patients could ever hope for in the past. “Being told you have cancer, everything goes through your mind. I wanted to get through this and get through it quickly, not just for myself but for my wife and son,” LaStella says. “I knew that I was in good hands at USC.” Now the only thing that will land LaStella back in the hospital is his heavyduty workout routine, he says with a laugh. He recently competed on a television show called American Ninja Warrior, which pits competitors against one another on an obstacle course in a contest that’s billed as “the toughest challenge on earth.” “Tat was the most grueling thing I have done in my life,” he says. To have the opportunity to compete and to continue to be father to his son is a gift that he got from his USC surgeon. “I honestly believe I would not be here if it weren’t for Dr. Aron,” LaStella says. “Tey say he is the best at what he does, but he is also a wonderful person. He really listens to his patients and he cares.”

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 31

The Robot’s Domain Keck Medicine of USC surgeons can operate on all of these organs and locations using a robot (although some patients’ tumors or medical conditions may be better suited to open surgery).

Adrenal glands Thyroid Esophagus

Heart Liver

Pancreas, gall bladder and bile ducts

Tonsils, larynx and pharynx Lung Kidney


Colon Pelvis (uterus, cervix and ovaries)

Hip and knee


usc trojan family


3/7/14 6:34 AM


S U R G E R Y,




Just Breathe

Keck Medicine of USC has some of the most experienced lung surgeons in California, and USC was the frst academic medical center in the state to perform lung cancer procedures with the help of a robot, says Jeffrey Hagen, chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine. “In lung cancer surgery, the robot makes a huge difference,” Hagen says. “It is a big revolution in thoracic surgery.” Instead of having to open the chest, surgeons insert instruments between the ribs through small incisions in the skin. Patients recover faster, and the procedure may improve survival rates for lung cancer patients. Learning the technique isn’t easy. “It is not something you can dabble in, because the learning curve is high and it takes time and experience to become really good at it,” Hagen says. Two surgeons work on each case: One operates the robot at a console, and a second remains beside the patient. Because so many patients go to USC for this treatment, USC has become a regional training center for doctors around California who want to observe and learn to remove lung tumors using a robot.


out of Robots are used in 4 out of 5 prostateremoval surgeries in the U.S.

Doctors have found that roboticassisted surgery often results in: • • • • •

SHORTER STAYS in the hospital LESS BLOOD LOSS and need for blood transfusions FASTER AND LESS PAINFUL recovery periods FEWER COMPLICATIONS and infections MINIMAL SCARRING

Surgeons are 100 percent in control of the robot when they operate. 32

usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 32


1 cm

Surgeons can use robots for complex procedures through incisions that are as small as 1 centimeter.

USC has a long history with the da Vinci robot.

FIRSTS • USC was the frst hospital in Southern California to operate on a patient using a da Vinci robot.

• The frst robotic surgery at USC was performed in 2001. The da Vinci was developed to perform heart surgery, and USC surgeons’ frst robotic procedure repaired a patient’s mitral valve. • USC was an early adopter of robots and, according to Jefrey Hagen, associate professor and chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, the frst robot USC purchased held serial number 3 or 4. • Urology makes up the biggest case load for Keck Medicine of USC’s three robots, followed by thoracic surgery, otolaryngology and gynecology. • Keck Medicine of USC orthopaedic surgeons use a diferent, specially designed robot for knee and hip replacements.

More than 1.5 million patients worldwide have undergone robotic-assisted procedures.

1.5 million

spring 2014

2/27/14 7:17 AM

World-class care, convenient to your corner of the world. We are building the most influential private health system in the Los Angeles area in locations close to your home and office. Founded in excellence and growing to meet the health-care needs of our community, Keck Medicine of USC is committed to offering you convenient access to top-ranked physicians, clinical trials, and revolutionary breakthroughs in medicine. Get to know us. Visit, or call (800) USC-CARE.




9033 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300

1751 Foothill Blvd., Suite 3

625 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Suite 400




830 S. Flower St.

Keck Hospital of USC 1500 San Pablo St. USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center 1441 Eastlake Ave. Healthcare Consultation I, II and IV 1510, 1520, and 1450 San Pablo St.

1031 West 34th St., Suite 430 Los Angeles

GLENDALE USC Verdugo Hills Hospital 1812 Verdugo Blvd.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 33

usc trojan family


© 2014 Keck Medicine of USC

3/10/14 9:26 AM

Lives in the Balance Physicians are now treating, even curing, some cancers once thought to be untreatable. See what’s ahead at USC Norris. by amber dance

1973 On Nov. 14, The National Cancer Institute picks USC to house one of the nation’s eight original comprehensive cancer centers. G. Denman Hammond serves as director.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 34

Stephen Gruber, USC Norris’ director. Patients like Bernstein all have their own stories to tell, but each one also is part of a long USC Norris legacy. USC Norris was among the frst eight comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1973, two years after President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act. As a comprehensive cancer center, it fghts cancer on several fronts: in the lab through research, in the clinic through care, and in the community through prevention and education. “What’s special about USC Norris is its commitment to compassionate care combined with exceptional innovation,” Gruber says. “We all share an absolute passion and mission to make cancer a disease of the past while caring for each individual patient.” USC Norris’ 40 years span major inroads into cancer, from developing important drugs to identifying ways to prevent the disease. But what was once a quest for a magic bullet against cancer has shifted to a steady march to defuse it through

thousands of small scientifc victories. At USC Norris, Keck School of Medicine of USC scientists and doctors continue to tackle the disease by studying it, treating it and fnding ways to keep it away. Tey’ll do it knowing that people like Nancy Bernstein depend on them. KNOW THY ENEMY Today, understanding cancer means deciphering the DNA mutations that are often its source. “All cancer starts with an alteration of the DNA,” says molecular biologist Michael Lieber, co-leader of USC Norris’ molecular genetics program. Tese mutations can happen in a variety of ways. Some people inherit genetic mistakes from their parents. Other DNA damage occurs throughout life—such as when cells make a sort of “typo” copying their DNA. Tese mutations can change a cell’s life plan, causing it to grow and divide when it shouldn’t, and that can cause cancer. Understanding how DNA errors occur and are repaired gives scientists ideas

1976 Charles Heidelberger,

1978 Kenneth Norris Jr.

who created 5-fuorouracil, the most widely used cancer drug, is recruited as frst associate director for basic research.

presents transformational gift to name the USC Kenneth Norris Jr. Comprehensive Cancer Center.

1979 Builders break ground for the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the USC Norris Cancer Hospital.


She didn’t expect to develop colon cancer, and she didn’t expect to end up at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. No one does. But for Nancy Bernstein, it’s been a very good place to be. “I needed to fght,” says Bernstein, a producer at DreamWorks Animation and a patient of oncologist Heinz-Josef Lenz at USC Norris. “Dr. Lenz’s passion for curing cancer is just infectious, and made me believe that I would have a unique partner in fghting my cancer.” Tree years after her cancer was diagnosed, Bernstein is still living with metastatic cancer and rallying everyone she can to support colorectal cancer research at USC Norris. She’s just one of the believers who has seen frsthand how USC Norris physicians constantly push to come up with better treatments. Te doctors work closely with scientists in the same center, applying the latest technology to understand and stop cancer. “Our patients are getting cutting-edge therapy for every possible cancer type,” says

spring 2014

3/7/14 6:37 AM

You can support USC’s cancer-fghting research at uscnorriscancer. or by contacting USC Norris at (323) 865-0700 or Read about treatment at Learn more about Nancy Bernstein at

about how to kill cancer cells without injuring normal cells. Lieber’s work with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, the most common cancer in young children, is a good example. Cancerous ALL cells need a molecule called Artemis to repair a DNA lesion specifc to those tumor cells. Lieber fgures if he can turn of Artemis, the cancer won’t be able to maintain its DNA. Te genes should fall apart, killing the cancer. Normal cells can live without Artemis, so they should be OK. Te NCI saw the plan’s potential, backing it through the NCI Experimental Terapeutics Program. Te aim: fnd an Artemis-blocking drug and get it to patients as soon as possible. But there’s more to cancer than DNA mutations. DNA strands sometimes have little chemical tags, called methyl groups, attached to the DNA. Te methyl groups can act like stop signs, turning of the gene they’re attached to. Sometimes having a gene turned on or of at the wrong time, even if there is no mutation, can promote cancer. All of these sorts of changes that happen to a cell’s DNA are known as its epigenome, and the study of these changes is called epigenetics. Cancer researchers at USC and elsewhere want to understand all the genetic and epigenetic changes to DNA that can

cause cancer. One project, which Gruber wants to expand, is a tissue repository to catalog and save bits of tumors from Los Angeles County cancer patients so scientists can sift through the samples for clues. In addition, USC is leading a major component of Te Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a nationwide program to chart key changes to various cancers’ molecular makeup, including DNA methylation. Te project aims to map at least 20 types of cancer by the end of this year. All TCGA epigenomic data production happens in the USC Epigenome Center, occupying the ground foor of USC Norris’ newest research tower. High-tech robots and other machines sequence samples of cancerous cells, while scientists strive to decipher what those sequences might mean. So far, those machines have identifed methyl patterns on more than 9,000 of a planned 10,000 cancer samples, says USC Epigenome Center Director Peter Laird. Tat’s a lot of data. To crunch it all, the researchers draw on the computational equivalent of 650 laptops at USC’s Center for High-Performance Computing downtown. “Tese data will be mined for years and years to come,” Laird says.

USC Norris Tips to Cut Risk The best way to beat cancer is to prevent it from starting. Though there’s no sure way to avoid the disease, USC Norris researchers have contributed to fndings identifying several measures that reduce risk. DON’T SMOKE, AND SUPPORT NONSMOKING POLICIES. Smoking, both frst- and secondhand, remains a major cause of preventable cancer deaths. EAT YOUR BRUSSELS SPROUTS. And broccoli, and caulifower, and cabbage. A diet rich in these cruciferous veggies fghts colon and other cancers. EXERCISE THREE OR MORE HOURS A WEEK to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer. If you can’t manage three hours, some exercise is still better than none. CONSIDER HORMONE THERAPY CAREFULLY. Progesterone and estrogen can reduce women’s risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, but hormone replacement therapy after menopause boosts breast cancer risk. Discuss use with your physician.

TARGETED TREATMENTS One feature researchers expect to see

1984 Urologist Donald

1996 The Norman Topping

Skinner and team continue development of infuential surgical techniques that dramatically improve quality of life for bladder cancer patients.

Tower expands the center.

1983 Brian Henderson becomes director. He spearheads the opening of the USC Norris Cancer Hospital, one of only 11 hospitals in the nation dedicated to cancer.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 35

1993 Peter Jones is appointed third director of the cancer center. He reorganizes the center’s programs to bring clinical strengths and translational research.

usc trojan family


3/7/14 7:38 AM

through TCGA is that diferent mutations or epigenetic changes underlie diferent cancers. Tey’ll use this information to design treatments that kill cancers with specifc genetic or epigenetic changes, in an approach called personalized or precision medicine. “It is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to cancer therapy,” Gruber says. “We are tailoring the treatment to the patient and the tumor.” Precision medicine is already the standard of care for many cancers, including breast, lung and colon cancer, Gruber says. For example, if a breast tumor has turned on a gene called HER2, doctors can treat it with a drug called Herceptin that seeks out those HER2-making cancer cells. HER2 is just one gene. In the near future, Gruber predicts, all cancer patients at USC Norris will undergo DNA sequencing to identify their tumor’s specifc weaknesses. Ten their doctors can select treatments from a menu of medicines that exploit these weaknesses. Sometimes that genetic analysis might indicate the best course of treatment is no treatment at all. For example, epidemiologist Mariana Stern and others are investigating which prostate tumors are likely to grow dangerously and which will remain harmless. Men with low-risk cancers might beneft from regular testing to monitor the cancer, rather than aggressive treatment like prostate removal. In addition to their personalized nature, future treatments will probably

fight cancer several ways, suggests Robert Seeger, a USC Norris member and pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He’s interested in not only killing cancer but also making the “neighborhood” around the cancer inhospitable for further growth. Scientists call this neighborhood the tumor’s microenvironment, and they’ve only been studying it for the past 10 to 15 years, Seeger says. Seeger, who grew up on an Oregon farm, likes to refer to cancer as a seed and its microenvironment as the soil. If the soil is no good, he says, the seed won’t grow. A big part of the microenvironment comes from the body’s immune system, which can either help or hinder a tumor’s growth. Seeger is developing a three-part approach to boost the tumorfghting arm of the immune system at the same time as he directly targets neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of nerve cells that often occurs near the kidneys. Part one of the treatment will be an antibody that directly binds to the neuroblastoma cells—the seeds. Te second part would act on the soil, aiming to boost a type of anti-tumor immune cell called natural killer, or NK, cells. Seeger and colleagues plan to harvest a patient’s NK cells from a blood sample and grow them in the lab, making them highly active. “Tey’re the hottest killers I’ve ever seen,” he says. Te doctors will inject these cells back to the patient, along with part three, a drug that stimulates the NK cells even more. Seeger expects a clinical trial of the three-part treatment to start this year, managed by a national consortium in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. If it works, it could be approved for general use as early as the dawn of the 2020s. AVOID THE BATTLE Te best way to beat cancer is to keep it away in the frst place, and precision medicine can help here too, says USC epidemiologist Jonathan Samet, Flora L. Tornton Distinguished Chair of Preventive Medicine. In a couple of decades, getting a checkup might include a personalized risk profle, based on your genes, for

2005 The Renette and Marshall Ezralow Family Research Tower is dedicated at USC Norris, expanding research capabilities.

1997 Henrietta Lee gives

2000 USC Norris researchers,

frst of several signifcant donations to establish the Harold E. and Henrietta C. Lee Women’s Center at USC Norris.

led by Jones, frst establish the relationship of DNA methylation—the process of silencing genes—to cancer.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 36

2007 An instrumental gift from the Jane Anne Nohl Estate dramatically boosts research and care for the treatment of blood-based cancers and blood disorders.

spring 2014

2/27/14 7:17 AM

A Look Back: Brian Henderson

cancer and other diseases. If you’re at high risk for one or another cancer, doctors could watch extra-carefully to catch it early. Tere might even be medicines that would protect high-risk people from certain cancers, Samet speculates. Tis would be similar to the way statins protect people with high cholesterol from future heart disease. In some cases, preventive therapies for cancer already exist. For example, certain people have mutations, or too many silencing methyl tags, in a gene called MLH1. MLH1 protects cells from DNA damage and fghts cancer, so having it turned of means a high risk for cancer of the colon, uterus and ovaries. But for people in that situation, simple treatments can drastically reduce their risk of getting cancer. Birth control pills minimize risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. And regular colonoscopies, with removal of polyps before they turn cancerous, slash colon cancer risk by 65 percent, Gruber says.

Professor Brian Henderson served as USC Norris’ director from 1983, when its hospital opened, until 1994. Henderson recently reminisced about the center’s history. TREATMENT WITH HEART “We wanted a diferent kind of hospital, where you could feel the compassion. An environment that made people feel glad they’re here, that it’s a safe place, that they’re going to get good care. “If you came in as a patient, you saw a nurse, and she stayed with you. The next day, she was back again. That personalized care made us a little diferent from everybody else.” COLLABORATING FOR CURES “We had to get everybody to work together—the surgeons, the radiation therapists, the oncologists—to agree on approaches to both research and therapy. At the time that was fairly new. I had to knock some heads together to get surgeons to work with nurses, for example. Now we take it for granted.”

THE NEXT STAGE “We’re now treating, even curing, some cancers that were thought to be untreatable,” Gruber says. “In 40 years, I predict that we will be looking back at our success in converting cancer into a manageable disease.” Many more of the cancer patients in the USC Norris waiting room will become longtime cancer survivors. Tey may be cured altogether, or efectively controlling their disease, the way people with diabetes manage their condition now. “I have stage IV cancer. Tat means there’s no cure right now,” Bernstein says. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t beat the odds that I was originally given, and if somebody’s going to help me do that, it’s going to be Dr. Lenz and USC.” For now, USC’s fght song sums up the center’s approach and its promise to patients. “Fight on,” Gruber says. “Fight on.”

FAMOUS VISITORS “Cardinal Timothy Manning served in Los Angeles in the ’70s and early ’80s. [First serving as archbishop, Manning later was elevated to cardinal.] He became ill with lung cancer. He came to the Norris, and immediately the Cardinal felt this was a safe place. “During his hospitalization, Mother Teresa happened to stop in LA, and she came to see the Cardinal. God, [she was] short. But [she had] these intense eyes. She gave me a medal of the Virgin Mary and asked, ‘If any of my sisters need help, Doctor, will you take care of them?’ I said sure. What else can you say?” Hear more memories of USC Norris on video at

2013 New grants cement USC Norris’ role as home to the National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program, tracking cancer trends across the nation.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 37

2007 The Harlyne J. Norris

2011 Stephen Gruber

Cancer Research Tower opens, adding 172,000 square feet of research space.

becomes the fourth director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer, continuing his research in genetic predisposition and environmental contributions to cancer.

Ground is broken for new Norris Healthcare Consultation Center.

usc trojan family


3/7/14 6:48 AM

Cardinal, Gold and Bold

Two and a half years after the $6 billion Campaign for the University of Southern California’s public launch, the Trojan Family has already pushed USC more than halfway to its target. by sam lopez and alicia di rado The smart money in 2011 seemed to be on USC’s doubters. As the nation’s economy slowly climbed out of its doldrums, many suspected the slight economic uptick was a momentary bounce before another recession. Yet that September USC announced a $6 billion fundraising campaign. Te move confounded conventional wisdom: It seemed to be too much to strive for, over too short a time, and it launched while the stock market was on a roller-coaster ride that made investors distinctly uneasy. “Some fund-raising experts are questioning whether the University of Southern California can really reach its audacious goal of raising $6 billion by 2018,” reported a longtime fundraising writer at Te Chronicle of Philanthropy soon after the kickof. “No private organization has ever tried to collect that much from a single drive.” Today, USC President C. L. Max Nikias smiles about the word “audacious” and often sprinkles it into his speeches. “We like our goals being called audacious,” Nikias says. “Trojans are bold, and we are ambitious. We have a history of rising to the occasion, stretching back to our founding. Te Trojan Family is singleminded in our mission to help USC reach its highest potential.” Tere are 3 billion reasons Nikias exudes confdence. Last November, three years since taking ofce and two years after publicly launching the Campaign for the University of Southern California, Nikias announced that the Trojan Family had already contributed more than $3 billion


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1.indd 38

toward the campaign’s $6 billion goal. To his way of thinking, reaching the halfway point in the campaign so quickly should be no surprise. GROWTH MODE Te Campaign for USC started unconventionally. Most major fundraising eforts begin with a quiet phase that lasts a few years before the campaign organizers go public, giving them a chance to raise a substantial slice of their goal and providing a head start for success. USC raised money for a year before announcing its efort. Only three universities have ever attempted to raise similar totals: Stanford University, which surpassed its $4.3 billion goal by $1.9 billion when its campaign ended in 2011; Columbia University, which raised $2.1 billion more than its original $4 billion target by the time it closed its campaign in 2013; and Harvard University, which kicked of its $6.5 billion campaign last year. Stanford had already raised more than half its goal when it went public, and Columbia had hit 40 percent of its objective. USC, in contrast, had raised about 20 percent of its goal before launch. So what spurred USC leaders to launch their efort? It came down to a simple equation: “Our ambitious vision for USC’s academic future far exceeded our ability to pay for it,” Nikias says. Hiring high-profle faculty members, attracting scientists with robust research operations, building labs and advanced workspaces so creative thinkers can do their best work, fostering talented students

with great potential—it all takes money. So does building new student facilities and creating a powerful health care system that’s integrated with the university’s biomedical research. With growth surging in all areas, USC leaders were hungry for more, and there was no time to wait. “USC is at a point where I think all of the stars are aligned,” says Dana Dornsife, namesake of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “You only get those chances once in a while, and you better either move right then or you’re going to miss your opportunity.” University Professor Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist who joined USC in the mid-2000s, sees the fundraising efort from a faculty perspective: It’s critical to raise funds for endowments to attract top thinkers and teachers, as well as to create the space for them to inspire the next generation and build knowledge. “If you have the proper amount of ambition, the resources never match what those ambitions are,” he says. And there’s that word again: ambition. Donors often talk about it—about the importance of continuing to build and move forward. “If you want to be in the elite,” says Ed Roski, past chair of the USC Board of Trustees, “it takes investment.” A heritage of defance also plays a part. Te university has a habit of striving to grow during what might be termed “unusual” times. GO BOLD When USC was founded in 1880, the unispring 2014

3/14/14 10:24 AM

Each generation of Trojans has shown even greater ambition than the one that preceded it. USC has matured into the university it is today thanks to a series of transformative campaigns that grew its endowment, expanded the campuses, improved facilities and resources, and enabled talented scholars to become Trojans. Master Plan for Enterprise and Excellence in Education

Toward Century II P R E SI DE N T John R. Hubbard Y E A R S 1976–1981 F U N DR A I SI N G G OA L $265 million TOTA L R A I SE D $309.3 million


Highlights Doubled the university endowment


Added 30 buildings to Health Sciences and University Park campuses.

USC became a top-10 private university for federally sponsored research

Expanded University Park Campus by 60 acres.

Received historic gift to create the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

USC elected to Association of American Universities

Endowed Positions: 20 chairs 22 professorships

Endowed Positions: 1 chair 2 professorships

The Campaign for USC: Leadership for the 21st Century

Building on Excellence P R E SI DE N T Steven B. Sample Y E A R S 1993–2002 F U N DR A I SI N G G OA L $1 billion TOTA L R A I SE D $2.85 billion

PR ESIDENT James H. Zumberge Y E AR S 1984–1990 FUNDR AISING GOA L $557 million TOTAL R AISED $641.6 million



Highlights Established a university plateau of $50 million in gift income annually

Highlights Surpassed goal in six years with contributions from foundations, corporate supporters and more than 170,000 individual donors New facilities constructed included Hedco Neurosciences Building, Cinema-Television Complex. Health Sciences Campus doubled in size.

FOUR GIFTS OVER NINE-FIGURE MARK: ● Walter Annenberg: $120 million ● Alfred Mann: $112.5 million (pictured below) ● W. M. Keck Foundation: $110 million ● Leonore & Wallis Annenberg: $100 million

Highlights Five schools received naming gifts: USC Marshall School of Business, USC Leventhal School of Accounting, USC Rossier School of Education, USC Thornton School of Music and Keck School of Medicine of USC Endowed Positions: 99 chairs 37 professorships

Endowed Positions: 38 chairs 21 professorships

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1-2.indd 39

usc trojan family


3/17/14 2:07 PM

Gifts support new buildings like the Engemann Student Health Center.

Endowments strengthen a worldclass faculty.

Scholarships spur the success of a new generation of Trojans.

Fas Regna Trojae

Launched by USC President C. L. Max Nikias in 2010, the Campaign for the University of Southern California has already surpassed $3 billion just three years into its quest for $6 billion.

The single largest gift in the history of USC came from Dana and David Dornsife to name the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Their $200 million gift supports the academic heart of USC. Giving by Source

News-making Gifts

16% W. M. KECK FOUNDATION $150 million to name Keck Medicine of USC

JOHN AND JULIE MORK $110 million for undergraduate student scholarships

ANONYMOUS DONOR $141 million for various university programs

ANDRE YOUNG AND JIMMY IOVINE $70 million to start the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy



From corporations, foundations and other organizations

From alumni and parents

From other individuals

USC alumni have contributed more than $1 billion to the campaign.

Giving by Donors

23 donors giving $25 million or more 45 donors giving $5 million to $24,999,999 PRICE FAMILY CHARITABLE FUND $50 million to name the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

GARY K. MICHELSON $50 million to create the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience

MING HSIEH $50 million for the USC Ming Hsieh Institute for Research on Engineering Medicine for Cancer

195 donors giving $1 million to $4,999,999 3,365 donors giving $25,000 to $999,999 19,364 donors giving $1,000 to $24,999 199,219 donors giving less than $1,000 Nearly 82,000 of the more than 219,000 campaign donors to date are alumni.

ANNENBERG FOUNDATION $50 million for Wallis Annenberg Hall


GLORYA KAUFMAN Historic gift to create the USC Kaufman School of Dance

usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1.indd 40

One of the top priorities is a university-wide initiative to recruit transformative faculty, research groups and institutes.



spring 2014

3/14/14 8:22 AM

One of the largest gifts in American dance boosts USC arts.

versity had great ambitions but only modest resources. Te foremost universities of the era had tremendous advantages—faculty and intellectual capital, buildings and land, strong reputations and money. While industrialization was spawning tycoons, a gulf was growing between rich and poor, and the memory of a national depression was fresh in the minds of many. Despite the economic uncertainty, USC’s chief founder, Judge Robert Maclay Widney, burned with the belief that the burgeoning city of Los Angeles needed a university. He inspired businessmen Ozro W. Childs, John G. Downey and Isaias W. Hellman to provide land for the original campus and additional residential lots. Widney personally committed $100,000 to begin USC’s endowment. Eighty years later, President Norman H. Topping launched USC’s frst big campaign with a goal of $106.7 million. Time magazine wrote that USC faced difcult odds, even if it gave itself 20 years to shoot for its goal, and that some of USC’s rivals were “incomparably better.” But, the magazine added, “If he gets the cash, Topping’s master plan could revolutionize USC.” Topping reached his goal in fve years, and the plan transformed USC from a respected regional university into a major research university. “Boldness paid dividends,” Nikias says.

“USC parents have given $738 million to the campaign. That’s a great endorsement for the quality of our education.” C. L. Max Nikias

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1.indd 41

Philanthropy backs research that improves health around the world.

Ten there was the fve-year-long campaign kicked of by President John R. Hubbard in 1976 as the U.S. struggled with an energy crisis and the efects of recession. It raised $309.3 million and was the second-largest campaign up to that date. A subsequent $557 million campaign under President James H. Zumberge in the late 1980s signifcantly grew endowments for faculty and expanded both USC campuses. At the time, it was the largest campaign goal ever in higher education, and the fnal tally of nearly $642 million shattered USC’s previous fundraising record. Te nearly decade-long campaign that followed in the 1990s under President Steven Sample—which raised a then-record $2.85 billion—forged the modern university by attracting fve naming gifts for USC’s schools. It also created new centers where scientists conduct infuential research, like the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, and where students shape their future, such as Jane Hofman and J. Kristofer Popovich Hall. LOOKING AHEAD Early in the Campaign for USC’s planning stages, Nikias told an assembly of university leaders, “Tis is an unprecedented opportunity, a defning moment, a critical juncture in our history. If we stand still, this opportunity will pass us by. We cannot be cautious. We cannot be tentative. We must be bold.” Al Checcio, senior vice president for university advancement, says the campaign’s success ultimately comes down to the energy and commitment of the university’s biggest allies: its hundreds of thousands of alumni and supporters. “USC has always believed that setting ambitious goals is the frst step toward achieving them,” Checcio says. “As it has in the past, the Trojan Family responded to the call for support in a big way, pushing the campaign past the $3 billion level in record time.” Te university’s trustees have been a driving force, notably through their own gifts, which total more than $800 million for this campaign alone. “Our trustees have also been visible and active leaders,” Checcio says, “and have inspired growing volunteer and fnancial support from USC’s school boards and from alumni, parents and friends worldwide.” Te campaign aims to advance USC’s missions of teaching, research, patient care and public service. It’s organized around four themes: endowment for faculty and research; endowment for student scholarships; immediate support of academic priorities; and capital projects and infrastructure, including new buildings for instruction, research, patient care and residential housing. Now, looking at another $3 billion to raise, Nikias continues to be confdent, perhaps even brash at times. He points to history for proof of the Trojan Family’s commitment, and he cites the Trojan Family’s belief in the diference-making potential of USC’s community of scholars. “We’re changing the future of this university,” he says. “Together we are building a legacy that will last beyond our lifetimes. “Destiny always bends in the direction of those who take risks. Tis is our moment.” usc trojan family


3/14/14 10:24 AM



usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 42

spring 2014

2/27/14 9:09 AM

in depth




Ask Steven Spielberg about his legacy, and the Oscar-winning flmmaker and longtime USC trustee won’t talk about Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan or Lincoln. He’ll point to 107,000 hours of unedited, unscripted video shot in the mid- to late 1990s— 52,000 interviews with survivors of and witnesses to the Holocaust, called the Shoah in Hebrew. Now known as USC Shoah Foundation—Te Institute for Visual History and Education, the organization maintains the Visual History Archive, constituting one of the world’s largest audio-visual collections on a single subject. It’s even more expansive than NFL Films. Tis year, the Shoah Foundation, started by Spielberg, marks its 20th anniversary. Twenty years, as it happens, is also the age at which video starts to decay.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 43

usc trojan family


2/27/14 9:10 AM

in depth

And there’s the rub: Having painstakingly assembled a breathtaking historical artifact—the voices of tens of thousands of survivors, witnesses and liberators—how do you keep it safe in a race against time? Leave it to Sam Gustman, though even he is no optimist. “Everything rots,” says Gustman, USC Shoah’s chief technology ofcer, who joined the project in 1994. “Te newer the technology, the faster it rots.” He recites the grim stats: Film, by conservative estimates, lasts 50 years before age-based decay starts to set in. Videotape, 20 years. Hard drives, fve years. Data tape, three years. DVDs, two years. On the fourth foor of the Carol A. Little building, just east of the University Park Campus, Gustman weaves his way through the labyrinth of USC’s central computing facility, home of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive.

Learn more about USC Shoah at, explore IWitness at and watch testimonies at vhaonline.usc. edu and help continue the foundation’s work, visit

A VIGILANT VOCATION Hundreds of tapes are scanned daily for data errors under the watchful eye of Sam Gustman, opposite page, bottom left. The Visual History Archive now resides in USC’s central computing facility, but mirror copies exist in multiple locations.

THE STARS ABIDE By the time the Shoah Foundation merged with USC in 2006, it had already spent $250 million. Much of the seed money had come from Steven Spielberg’s pocket, though other donors both private and corporate chipped in by the millions. Big research grants, such as $7.5 million from the National Science Foundation and $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education, helped. Spielberg’s goal from the start had been to get the testimonies into the hands of educators and students, so an alliance with USC made sense. Piggybacking on USC’s advanced supercomputing infrastructure, the institute’s Visual History Archives could be distributed to centers of learning worldwide. Soon after the merger, USC earmarked $8 million to support the archive’s migration to a rot-proof digital backup scheme. But funds remain crucial, as technology relentlessly marches forward. Last October’s Ambassador for Humanity Award gala marked the kickof of the $150 million USC Shoah Foundation Initiative, part of the $6 billion Campaign for USC. The event, now in its 18th year, has always been a star-studded afair. The 2013 gathering in New York City honored actor and human rights activist George Clooney. Hosted by comedian Jon Stewart, it featured actress Sandra Bullock and a performance by singer Norah Jones. It pulled in $3.7 million. Addressing the 800 USC Shoah supporters in the American Museum of Natural History in Central Park, USC President C. L. Max Nikias made a solemn pledge: “I want to assure you that from generation to generation—l’dor vador—my university will forever safeguard the precious, life-afrming testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archives.”


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 44

Te testimonies, Gustman explains, were captured on what was state-of-the-art technology in the mid-1990s: half-hour Betacam SP videotapes. Te collection flled 235,000 of them. At the peak of production, video crews were taping more than 300 interviews a week. Working from feld ofces in remote corners of places like Bulgaria and Slovenia, the crews had no way to reproduce the tapes. So they popped the originals into boxes and mailed them to Universal Studios, where the Shoah Foundation had originally set up shop in a couple of trailers. Miraculously, none of the tapes were lost, though some were damaged. A few arrived completely fattened. Te fx: create “Frankentapes,” reanimated hybrids stitched together from old and new cassette parts. A robotic tape player then copied every tape in three diferent formats before the masters were moved into an underground storage facility. Later, the interviews were transferred to motionpicture-industry-standard digital fles, a three-year process that cost $8 million. Still, about 4 percent of the testimonies contained digital glitches—potentially leaving some 12,000 tapes from being seen. USC Shoah technicians—mostly USC Viterbi engineering students—are now combing the testimonies for what experts call signal errors. Second by second, pixel by pixel, these students are flling the digital gaps. Gustman brings an engineer’s zeal to his work, leaving nothing to chance. With the help of a robot, he makes sure every digital bit of the archive is protected. Two identical copies of the complete archive reside in the university’s main data center, where every night the robot compares hundreds of testimony pairs in search of discrepancies. Any suspect data get dumped automatically. Digital archivists call the process “preservation through migration.” Word of their expertise gets around. Smaller groups now turn to the institute for assistance in digitizing and indexing their fast-decaying collections. Te 1,400 testimonies of the San Francisco-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services, for example, are currently undergoing restoration and preservation at USC Shoah Foundation. Tey’ll be integrated eventually into the Visual History Archive. “How do you guarantee that something is going to last 100 years?” Gustman asks. “Te only things we have right now that meet this standard are stone and paper. No one’s got a crystal ball. Te reason we’re doing preservation through migration is because that’s the best you can do today.” Should disaster strike, there’s a backup plan. A replica of USC’s self-duplicating archive exists at Clemson University in South Carolina. Eventually, Gustman wants mirror archives on every continent. “If you really want testimony to be around forever, you have to keep the risk as low as you can,” he says.

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:44 AM

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 45

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:17 AM




Testimonies were conducted in 33 languages and 57 countries. After English, the archive’s most common languages are Russian and Hebrew. Five testimonies are in sign language.

Steven Spielberg started the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation a year after fnishing Schindler’s List. The foundation merged with USC in 2006.

When the Shoah project began in 1994 … • Computers communicated by DIAL-UP MODEM. • Email was an UNPROVEN TECHNOLOGY. • THE FIRST WEB BROWSER, MOSAIC, had just been launched. • Disk space cost $1 MILLION PER TERABYTE. Today, it costs $35 PER TERABYTE.


The archive currently holds 4 petabytes of data, the equivalent of 1 million DVDs.

usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 46

About 500 testimonies from the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide will eventually be recorded and added to the archive.



It would take someone a dozen years of continuous viewing to watch every video in the archive.


The Visual History Archive’s 50,000th testimonial was that of Branko Lustig, a Shoah Foundation founder and co-producer of Schindler’s List. At age 11, Lustig and his mother were transported from their home in Croatia to Auschwitz.


The foundation trained 2,300 interviewers, hired 1,000 videographers and recruited more than 100 regional coordinators in 34 countries to record testimony.

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:46 AM

in depth



“Do you remember any songs from your youth?” the girl asks the man who sits before her. “Tis is a lullaby that my mother used to sing to me,” replies Pinchas Gutter, bursting into Polish song. Te 81-year-old Holocaust survivor has a surprisingly fne voice. Beguiled, the girl smiles. Their connection is palpable. It hardly seems to matter that Gutter is a virtual 3-D projection. Ever since the Nazi death camps were liberated, survivors like Gutter have been visiting classrooms around the world, sharing memories both joyful and painful, making the unthinkable all too real. Researchers and educators know that the best way to help kids learn about the Holocaust is to have a survivor visit a classroom and speak to them. But survivors cannot visit every classroom. Enter technology. Transmitting these powerful, face-to-face encounters to future generations is the goal of New Dimensions in Testimony, a pioneering collaboration between the USC Shoah Foundation and USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, as well as the Del Mar, Calif.-based company Conscience Display.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 47

Only about half-million Holocaust survivors are alive today, about 120,000 of them in the United States. Teir average age is 79. “Te clock is ticking,” says AnneMarie Stein, communications director at the USC Shoah Foundation. “In another 20 years there’ll be no survivors left.” But Gutter will keep speaking—and singing—in digital form. Last year Gutter, who lives in Toronto, spent 12 hours on a 3-D light stage at ICT’s Playa Vista, Calif., headquarters, answering hundreds of questions while an array of high-defnition cameras flmed him from seven angles. Visitors to the 2013 SIGGRAPH conference—the computer graphics world’s annual news-making mega event—got an early glimpse of what’s possible: Tey viewed a 10-inch-high version of Gutter using next-generation technology called an automultiscopic display, and they didn’t need 3-D glasses to do it. Builders are now constructing a life-size version of the system so it can be brought into classrooms and small auditoriums. But visual technology is just a part of the project. Just as remarkable, Stein says, is that kids can ask the virtual Gutter about a range of topics. With the help of

voice-recognition processing and naturallanguage technology developed at ICT, the virtual survivor understands and responds appropriately to viewers’ questions. It helps that researchers have watched and taken note of the questions students typically ask survivors at schools and other sites. (Te most frequent ones involve revenge, God, justice and survival.) Te system learns from previous question-and-answer pairs through artifcial intelligence, notes ICT natural language expert David Traum. If someone asks an unanticipated question, the software selects the most relevant answer or just redirects the chat. “At its worst, a conversation could seem like a politician who stays on message no matter what,” Traum says. “But at its best, this technology can give people an individualized way to learn, allowing them to get answers to questions in the order they want to ask them.” In time, these digital survivors will be able to recognize raised hands and make direct eye contact with the questioner. Plans call for nine more virtual survivors to be built and deployed in interactive installations at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and other educational settings. usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:17 AM

in depth

RWANDA GENOCIDE Above, an exhibit from the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. USC Shoah Foundation has partnered with the organization to help collect, index, preserve and disseminate its survivor testimonies.


THE POWER OF MEMORY Facing page, photos of life before and during the Holocaust are integrated into the Visual History Archive. TOP ROW: Sidonia Lax in Sherman Oaks, Calif., giving her testimony in 1994, and as a girl in Poland in the 1930s. SECOND ROW: Roman Kent in a pre-war family photo, and in New York, 1996. THIRD ROW: During her 1995 interview, Paula Lebovics produced a photo of herself (fifth child from left) in Auschwitz, taken by Russian liberators in 1945. FOURTH ROW: Esther Jungreis as a baby in Szeged, Hungary, 1936; and in 1995 in North Woodmere, N.Y.

usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 48

Some may feel that the Holocaust should stand alone, a horror to be studied and remembered, one that cannot be compared to any other. But to USC Shoah Foundation leaders, all genocides provide stories that can teach tolerance. Sixty-fve testimonies from the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide recently joined the Visual History Archive, with hundreds more to follow, as teams of Rwandan interviewers and videographers are trained through a USC Shoah partnership with the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Testimonies from Armenia, Cambodia and Darfur also will join the collection. In December, the institute announced plans to preserve testimony of the 1937 massacre in Nanjing, China. As the institute helps others collect and preserve these testimonies, it is also turning toward distributing the stories, especially to teachers and students. Tat’s USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith’s strong suit. But Smith, a Christian theologian by training, sees the USC Shoah Foundation testimonies as more than a scholarly resource. He considers them a sacred call to action.

“Tis is not a memorial to the past. It’s a challenge to our present,” says Smith, the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education at USC. “In that archive are 52,000 people who have given us a legacy—an amazing, terrifying, horrible, hopeful, inspiring, challenging legacy. It’s a treasure trove of their lives. We need to listen to those voices. We need to keep the memory alive, because that’s the heart of our conscience.” Faculty around the world have developed more than 400 courses drawing on the archive. Not confned to Holocaust studies or history, these courses range from information science at the Fachhochschule Potsdam to political science at Democritus University of Trace; from art history at the Freie Universität Berlin to linguistics at Charles University in Prague. At USC, more than 100 courses rely on the testimonies. Colin Keaveney uses them in his advanced French literature course. One of the assigned texts is Dora Bruder, a novel about a young girl in Auschwitz. To anchor the story in reality, Keaveney assigns selected French-language testimonies as required viewing. To encourage secondary school students to explore the archive, USC Shoah Foundation created the award-winning interactive website IWitness. Te institute also hosts a short-flm contest for USC students. While the full 52,000 testimonies are only available to USC Shoah partner institutions, anyone can visit VHA Online, where 1,200 English-language Holocaust testimonies and 10 Rwanda testimonies (in Kinyarwanda, with English subtitles) are viewable. Hundreds of testimonies can also be seen on the institute’s YouTube channel.



spring 2014

2/27/14 7:17 AM


USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 49

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:17 AM


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1.indd 50

winter 2013

3/14/14 7:14 AM

Te Ultimate Playground USC students create the digital future in a new interactive building.


by robert bradford

Scott Fisher strides purposefully up a wide staircase to the third foor of the new Interactive Media Building at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Fisher and his research team know the building inside and out—from its more than 4,000 electronic sensors to its miles of fber optic cable. Tat’s because Fisher—professor, associate dean of research and director of the school’s Mobile and Environmental Media Lab—and his team worked with the architects from the earliest stages to develop the building’s unique feature: the ability to interact with its inhabitants and appear as a playful character. As Fisher walks through the building, he’s followed from one location to another by an “identicon” that appears on various screens. Tis identicon—an image generated by the building itself—remembers its previous interactions with visitors and uses these memories to give them personalized information they might want to know. Tink of the brainy building’s technology as a more welcome take on HAL from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. A storytelling character, it can engage people walking within it through a Wi-Fi tracking system and mobile app. At any given moment, the building knows where you are and how much energy you’re using. It can suggest a special event you might want to attend. Today, the identicon tries to engage Fisher in play and prompts him to contribute a new photo to the building’s crowdsourced photostream. “I’ve joked that the name should be ‘Te Building for Very Cool Stuf,’” says Elizabeth Daley, dean of cinematic arts. “It’s the ultimate playground that lets

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1.indd 51

people really try things and collaborate.” Te school’s longtime mantra, she notes, is that the most important skill students will acquire here is the ability to cooperate. Te need to share narratives is fundamental to our species, Daley explains. “People have always told stories interactively. We’re like herd animals—we like to interact with each other. Tis building will help to transform the way we tell our

“The culture in which media is made has a deep infuence on how media is made.” stories. It’s about narrative writ large.” Students and professors are already using the building to create new stories that will have an impact on an array of businesses and industries. Tey are creating programs that senior citizens can use to monitor their health; they are developing apps that will allow college students to live more sustainable lives; they are engaging underserved communities to help high school students make the transition to higher education. For Tracy Fullerton, chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division, one of the facility’s strengths is how it fosters creative community. “Te culture in which media is made has a deep infuence on how media is made,”

Fullerton says. “Te hope for the building is that we have a home for that culture.” Before the Interactive Media Building opened in June 2013, programs in interactive media and games were spread out across the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ facilities. Now they inhabit a single, unifying space where students and professors can converge to work on the next iteration of technology-driven storytelling. USC undergraduate and graduate students are already national leaders in game development. Te 2014 edition of Te Princeton Review ranked the university as the top game-design school in North America. USC’s graduate games program has been ranked No. 1 for fve consecutive years; its undergraduate games program was ranked at the top for four out of those fve. (Tese rankings are shared by the Interactive Media & Games Division and USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science.) “Our students have gone out in the last 10 years to redefne what we think of when we think of games,” Fullerton says. Now they have an even better place to play and create. It’s a big, open expanse that feels like an inviting downtown LA lounge—except it has the vibe of a tech startup where wunderkinds tote laptops and tablets everywhere. In this room, up-and-coming game developers kick back and relax one minute and have intense conversations the next. Tis isn’t your typical stodgy college classroom. Tese large, fexible spaces were designed for interaction and collaboration. Te couches are curved and comfortable; usc trojan family


3/14/14 7:19 AM



usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 52

spring 2014

2/27/14 7:18 AM


USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 53

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:18 AM

Fantasy Lives Here You’re on a narrow catwalk inside the belly of a fying whale, its ribs and muscles rippling before your eyes. Actually, you’re in Room 311 of the Interactive Media Building—better known as the MxR Studio. The brainchild of immersive media pioneer Mark Bolas, the studio is the kid sister of the larger Mixed Reality Lab at the Marina del Rey headquarters of USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies. “It’s a dream come true to have this outpost here,” says Bolas, who is an associate professor in the USC School of Cinematic Arts. “We can build the hardcore technology there, bring it on campus and have people use it in this lab.” By people, Bolas means pretty much anyone. In the true spirit of the open-source movement, Bolas and his colleague Scott Fisher believe that emerging technology should be shared, not hoarded. Bolas, who has been nicknamed “the Willy Wonka of VR,” welcomes anyone into his virtual-reality factory, no golden ticket required. Art students, mechanical engineers, journalism scholars, even entrepreneurs like Palmer Luckey, the developer of the much-anticipated Oculus Rift, have sampled his concoctions. The only requirement, says Bolas, is a certain immersive spark in the eye. What if 50 people called tomorrow, asking to work in the MxR Studio? Bolas glances at project manager David Nelson and shrugs. “We’d fnd a way to make it work,” he says. The MxR toolkit—including Bolas’ complete suite of open-source code plus an array of hardware fabrication and modifcation instructions—can be downloaded at projects. Just select the DIY menu and explore. We recommend you try the VR2Go mobile viewer. It’s got everything you need to turn a smartphone into an immersive device.

GROUP THINK Students and faculty members work together in spaces throughout the Interactive Media Building to explore the potential of media.

On the third foor, colleagues across disciplines come together to advance their studies. One project already in development in the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center targets people with spinal cord injuries, integrating shoulder exercises into a game in which players fy through sweeping, pre-Columbian South American landscapes. Another game suite under way named Collegeology—a collaboration between the Game Innovation Lab and USC Rossier School of Education’s Pullias Center for Higher Education—helps underserved high school students get accepted to college and prepare for university life. Te games assist students with important skills from writing personal essays to navigating fnancial aid. Fullerton points to a new lab dedicated to one of USC’s advanced game courses—Advanced Games Project 491. More than 100 undergraduates are registered in the popular course, and an equal number of students volunteer just to get the experience of being part of this ambitious endeavor. In a related class, project leaders develop a company and business model around the games created, readying them to be pitched to investors. Exploring innovative game-design territory is a hallmark of the Interactive Media & Games Division. Fullerton’s Game Innovation Lab pursues experimental game design in cultural realms including art, science, politics and learning. Walden, a Game is a good example. Fullerton’s game, which is still in development, simulates the experiment in simple living made by Henry David Toreau at Walden Pond in 1845-47. Te game allows players to walk in the philosopher’s virtual footsteps, attend to the tasks of living a self-reliant existence, and cultivate their own thoughts and responses to the concepts discovered there. Another game spawned by the lab was Cloud, a popular, ethereal game by acclaimed designer Jenova Chen that centers on a hospitalized boy who dreams he can fy. Te Interactive Media Building has plenty of technological tools that will help in their game-design eforts. Fullerton points to new developments like Oculus Rift, a next-generation virtual BUILDING PHOTOS AND RENDERINGS COURTESY OF USC SCHOOL OF CINEMATIC ARTS

the light, natural woods and vibrant reds, greens and yellow on the walls are fresh and inviting. As a group of students hashes out an idea for a game concept, an undergraduate working on a project in a neighboring pod overhears the banter. She pops her head up. “I have an idea for you guys,” she volunteers. Tat’s exactly the kind of freewheeling discussion Fullerton envisioned as she worked with colleagues to develop the concept for the building. Lab space devoted to game design has doubled at USC with the opening of the building, boosting faculty research.



usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 54

spring 2014

3/7/14 7:57 AM

reality headset designed for immersive games and education applications that has origins in the lab headed by immersive media expert Mark Bolas. Tis technology—once esoteric and limited to expensive prototypes for a small number of hardcore users—is becoming widely accessible, providing limitless possibilities for experiences that transport users into full-sized, three-dimensional worlds. But the possibilities don’t end with games. Fullerton cites the emerging feld of “immersive journalism,” through which reporters will incorporate tools like Oculus Rift to bring their audience quite literally into the story. “Game design is going in multiple directions,” Fullerton says. “It is moving just as strongly in virtual reality as it is in actual reality. Some technologies move us into our own minds, and some technologies are moving us into society and diferent worlds.” The Interactive Media Building reaches beyond game designers and flmmakers: It draws students throughout USC who want to learn innovative ways to communicate ideas. Holly Willis, chair of the School of Cinematic Arts’ newly created Media Arts + Practice Division, oversees a variety of degree and certifcate programs as well as eforts to introduce newmedia literacy skills across the university. Te new facility will enable students to build important skills regardless of their felds of study: How do you translate abstract ideas to tell a story visually? How do you make complex information come alive so people understand it? Stale PowerPoint presentations will eventually vanish, Willis says. Instead, she envisions presentations on science, business, architecture, medicine and literature that resemble scenes from Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. Alex McDowell, who helped design and develop the futuristic world of Spielberg’s 2002 thriller, is a professor who works with students across many of the school’s divisions. He and other interactive media experts will introduce USC students to the immersive power of technology. Te possibilities are endless, Willis says. Imagine a discussion about public health and urban demographics in which a speaker uses physical gestures to move through data sets to engage her audience. Imagine a virtual walk-through of a proposed architectural design in which the building shifts and seems to come alive. Imagine an immersive astronomy course where students fy through the universe to see new worlds. Te idea of exploring new worlds is essential to USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Afairs Elizabeth Garrett. She toured the Interactive Media Building in the fall, and the building, on cue, greeted her by her frst name and welcomed her to the future of a truly interactive world. “Te building will help us pursue one of the university’s mandates: to allow students to master many forms of interactive media to communicate efectively,” Garrett says. “In the future, these students will combine the knowledge and depth of a quality university education with collaborative and technical skills they can’t obtain anywhere else, to create realities we can’t even conceive of today. “Tis is where the future will be created.”

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD_R1.indd 55

LEVEL THREE The Game Innovation Lab emphasizes cross-disciplinary applications in felds like policy and art. Across the hall, the Creative Media and Behavioral Health Center focuses on public health and medicine. The Mobile and Environmental Media Research Lab explores mobile storytelling in specifc places, and the Fabrication Lab houses 3-D printers and technical tools.

LEVEL TWO Student collaboration is core to the school’s interdisciplinary philosophy, and several shared seating areas are available on this foor. To encourage collaboration on a larger scale, a think-tank meeting room holds workspaces for groups.

LEVEL ONE The main entrance lobby is designed to showcase the latest faculty and student projects. A screening room ofers four times the resolution of standard HD. A jury classroom has customizable workspaces and a seminarstyle layout for multimedia presentations.

LOWER LEVEL The “render farm” houses state-of-the-art server technology and 130 servers for rendering. Labs include one devoted to advanced game development, collaboration spaces with screens, and workstations big enough for advanced kinetic projects that require a lot of space.

usc trojan family


3/14/14 7:21 AM

Trojan Pride = Doing Your Part There are a lot of things to be proud of at USC. Let’s make alumni participation one of them! More than 220,000 donors have supported the $6 billion Campaign for USC. You can join them today. It takes only a few minutes to make a gift and a difference. There is strength in numbers, so let’s show the world that USC’s alumni are proud to be Trojans!

the campaign for the University of Southern California FA S R E G N A T R O J A E

Please call or make a gift online: USC Office of Annual Giving (213) 740-7500 Toll Free: 877 GIVE USC

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 56

2/27/14 7:18 AM



AN OPEN BOOK Cheshire cats, fying wizards, grumbling gumshoes, you name it—they all come alive in books. Catch the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the USC campus on April 12 and 13 to hear from famous authors and celebrities, watch flm screenings and see chefs cook up culinary creations. Visit books for details.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 57

usc trojan family


3/7/14 8:02 AM

family news

In the wake of Reunion Weekend, two Trojans share their memories of USC. by hope hamashige

Forty years separate Michael Paulin ’63 and Jason Scott ’03, but their life stories share a common thread: USC. Like thousands of their fellow Trojans, Paulin and Scott reunited with old friends during Reunion Weekend in November. Here’s why two members of the Trojan Family came back—and how they stay connected to the USC experience. Michael Paulin ’63 It was the early 1960s, and politics was a hot topic at USC. Michael Paulin was talking with a few fraternity brothers and friends about the changes they wanted to see on campus. Tey didn’t think any of their group would be a good candidate for student body president—but another friend would. So they proposed his candidacy and spearheaded his campaign. “We ran it like we thought people would run a campaign for president of the United States,” Paulin says. “And we won.” Five decades later, those USC friends, who had dubbed themselves Trojans for Representative Government, came together at Reunion Weekend 2013. Besides taking in lots of ofcial events, they held their own private dinner on campus to celebrate the real victory of their campaign: friendships and Trojan Family connections that have endured for 50 years. After college, many in the group scattered. Paulin went into the hospitality business and moved to Hawaii. But the Trojans for Representative Government never lost touch. “We wrote each other letters for years and years, and sometimes we spoke on the phone,” says Paulin.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 58

Trough calls and letters and now email, Paulin kept track of any developments, good and bad, in the lives of his Trojan friends. So when they see each other in person— at weddings or other USC events—they don’t spend much time catching up. Tey get straight to the business of enjoying the company of old friends. “We just talk and laugh when we get together,” he says. Distance not only failed to erase his friendships—it’s also no barrier to his relationship with USC. A former member of the crew team, Paulin regularly visits with four other former crew members who made Honolulu their home after college. His group even held a few unofcial reunions in Hawaii in the intervening 50 years, with Paulin arranging to put up his classmates in the hotels he owned at the bargain-basement price of $63 a night. One year he also arranged for the Trojan Marching Band to show up and play some early morning tunes for the guests. But it was his daughter, he says, who really rekindled his interest in the university. “When my daughter went to USC, I went to Homecoming those years, and it really brought me back into the Trojan Family,” says Paulin, whose daughter be-

came the 17th member of his family to attend USC. Since then, Paulin has attended fve Homecoming football games and returned for several fraternity reunions, including one to dedicate a new house for his fraternity, Kappa Alpha. He also served on the Class of 1963’s reunion committee. “USC will always feel like going home to me,” he says. Jason Scott ’03 Jason Scott was raised in a home of USC football fans; his paternal grandfather grew up near campus and encouraged his children to root for the Trojans. But Scott’s inspiration to become a Trojan didn’t come from anyone in his immediate family. It came from George Lucas. As a high school student in Albuquerque, N.M., he wrote a letter to Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas’ company, explaining that he planned to pursue a career in special efects for flm and wanted advice about where he should attend college. He got a letter back recommending that he consider USC, among a few other places. Lucas couldn’t have known just how benefcial that piece of advice would be for Scott, who had moved with his family to Ramstein, Germany, where he completed high school. He enrolled at USC in 1999 as a computer science and cinema student. It didn’t take long for Scott to get his Hollywood start. He remembers coming home from class one day and fnding a note from a neighbor in the dorm that read: “Would you like to work on a Spielberg movie this weekend?” “Tat was my frst movie, and the guy who wrote that note is working in flms as an editor,” Scott says. In the decade since graduating, Scott has lived his childhood dream of working in visual efects for flm at companies including DreamWorks, where he worked on flms such as Madagascar and Shrek the Third, and El Segundo, Calif.-based


Home Again

spring 2014

3/7/14 8:03 AM

Te undergraduate classes of 1964, 1974, 1984, 1989, 1994 and 2004 will celebrate their reunions at Reunion Weekend 2014 on Oct. 17-18. Visit for details. 1

Rhythm & Hues, where he currently works and which won an Academy Award for Life of Pi in 2013. Still, Scott said he was caught by surprise at Reunion Weekend’s dinner gala when USC President C. L. Max Nikias talked about him during a speech about distinguished alumni. “I heard the president say my name and he asked me to stand, but I just sat there thinking he couldn’t have said my name,” Scott says. “Tat was a really special moment for me to be recognized by him, and at an event like that.” Certainly, Scott has worked to get to where he is, but he acknowledges that USC played a role in his success. Starting with the note on his door, his career has benefted from the education and the friends he’s made as a Trojan. “Every job I have had has come through a USC connection,” he says. “And just as people have gotten work for me, I get work for my classmates too.” Scott has helped USC and remained connected to the university by serving on his class reunion committee and by teaching non-degree-granting classes on occasion, as well as serving on panels. Looking back, he’s pretty happy with the decision he made after getting that letter from George Lucas many years ago. “USC was a great choice for me,” Scott says.


What’s up with Reunion Weekend? Trojan alumni get together with old friends and make new ones at Reunion Weekend. Among last year’s highlights: • • • • •

Lectures and classes from top faculty Reunion gala dinner Tailgate Homecoming football game Campus tours





REUNION WEEKEND 2013 #1 Trojan Marching Band musicians take a break from festivities to pose for a budding fan. #2 Members of the Class of 1973 celebrate their 40th reunion. #3 Badges aplenty help identify the Trojan faithful during Reunion Weekend. #4 Niki C. Nikias and C. L. Max Nikias, center, welcome USC alumni back to the University Park Campus. #5-7 Friends old and new get together at tailgates before USC’s victory over Stanford.



USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 59

3/7/14 8:14 AM

family news

Launch Pad USC provided the tools to success for Daniel J. Epstein ’62, whose Trojan spirit makes him a natural for the Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award. by jessica raymond


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 60

Dan Epstein is fanked by USC Viterbi Dean Yannis Yortsos, left, and USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

He thinks back fondly on his college days, from time spent with fraternity brothers to classes with iconic engineering professors such as George Chilingar, who Epstein says “put on such a stellar performance that you couldn’t help but get engaged in the material.” He also remembers the jobs he worked to put himself through school: “I did a variety of things—tutored math, was a teaching assistant at the [engineering] school, managed an ice cream store. You name it, I did it.” After graduating, Epstein worked for a company that constructed infrastructure and buildings in Florida for the space program’s ambitious growth in the 1960s. He recalls building on Merritt Island, which at the time was completely

vacant and rife with alligators, constructing the Vertical Assembly Building for the Saturn V rocket, and being awakened by rocket launches. “Tey would actually shake me out of bed,” he says. “Late at night, there’d be a gigantic roar, and you could feel the vibrations, even though it was probably three miles away.” Epstein has long credited his professional success to his USC education, so when he was able, he wanted to give something back to his alma mater, both to show his appreciation and to help take USC to even greater heights. Says Epstein: “I’d seen the university making gigantic strides…and I wanted to be a part of that.”


By his own account, Dan Epstein ’62 wasn’t at the head of his engineering classes at USC. “I sure had to work hard,” he says. “Tey dragged me over the fnish line.” Epstein certainly left those days behind him, as he received his BS in industrial and systems engineering with honors and went on to become the founder and executive chairman of the ConAm Group of Companies, one of the largest apartment management/ownership frms in the country. On April 26, he’ll receive the 2014 Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award, USC’s greatest alumni tribute. Troughout the decades, Epstein has given countless hours to USC. A member of the USC Board of Trustees since 2002, he serves on the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Board of Councilors and the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate’s advisory council. He’s also in regular contact with the chair of the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, which was renamed in his honor after his transformative endowment gift. Epstein’s enthusiasm for USC spread to his family as well. His wife, Phyllis, serves on the boards of councilors for the USC Roski School of Art and Design and the USC Shoah Foundation, and both of the couple’s children, Michael and Julie, graduated from USC. In addition, four grandchildren are in line to become SCions. As a family, they gave the lead gift to create the new headquarters for the USC Alumni Association—the Epstein Family Alumni Center—which opened in August 2010.

spring 2014

2/27/14 7:18 AM





’0 6,


’0 9

Time on Her Side


Super-volunteer Jaime Lee ’06, JD ’09 makes time management an art form. Here’s a hint to her success: It’s about making choices.

At last count, Jaime Lee ’06, JD ’09, serves on the governing boards of three USC alumni organizations; a city agency that issues industrial-development bonds; a state agency that regulates speech, language and hearing-related licensees; the Hollywood-Wilshire YMCA; the Korean American Coalition; and a nonproft that backs improvements in downtown Los Angeles’ Fashion District. How does she fnd time for all this volunteer work while holding two executive positions in her family’s extensive real

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 61

estate development and management business? “When you prioritize the things that are important to you, it’s easy to fnd a way to do it all,” says Lee, executive vice president of Jamison Services, a property management company, and chief executive ofcer of Jamison Realty, a leasing and brokerage frm (both part of the Jamison group of companies based in Los Angeles). “I usually make a list of everything I want to accomplish, how much time each item will take, and then fnd a way to ft them in.”

That’s been her approach to life since she was an undergraduate English major at USC Dornsife and taught herself time-management techniques. Back then, on any given day she might ft in classes, honor-society meetings, lacrosse practice, magazine editing, homework and part-time work, both on campus for the Ofce of Protocol as well as in the family business. Lee considers passion to be as important as planning for success. “If you don’t enjoy what you do, you won’t be efective in your role, and you won’t

properly manage your time commitments,” she says. “You can’t ‘create’ time for something you’re not interested in.” She attributes her job satisfaction to striving to better the lives of everyone in her family, and meeting and working with new people in a feld that never bores her. How about her work for the USC Alumni Association? It all comes from her love for USC, explains Lee, who initially got involved through the USC Asian Pacifc Alumni Association’s (APAA) board of directors in 2010. “At frst it was just fun to spend time with fellow Trojans,” she says, “but as I got more involved with the APAA’s scholarship program, it became incredibly rewarding to interact with current students and develop strong relationships with people I’ve mentored.” She went on to join the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and the USC Gould School of Law Alumni Association’s board. For the past four years, she’s served on the host committee for the USC Women’s Conference. Her family members have strong Trojan connections too. Alumni include her mother, Miki Nam ’79, and her grandfather, Andrew Chung Woo Nam DDS ’72. Lee’s three younger brothers have double USC degrees as well: Phillip ’08, JD ’12; Brian ’09, MBA ’14; and Garrett ’11, JD ’14. Lee’s parents instilled the value of community service in her, she says, stressing that “it’s important to help those who’ve helped you.” She’s both idealistic and pragmatic about the end results of her community work. “I’m hoping for a better world,” Lee says. “For me, philanthropy is not just about writing a check. It’s about getting to know an organization’s programs and the work it does, and contributing as much as you can with the skills that you have to help as much as possible.” ROBIN HEFFLER

usc trojan family


2/27/14 7:18 AM

The USC Alumni Association proudly announces the

81st Annual USC Alumni Awards Saturday, April 26, 2014 The Westin Bonaventure Los Angeles

Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award DANIE L J. E P ST E I N ’ 6 2 Executive Chairman and Founder, The ConAm Group of Companies

Alumni Merit Awards RONNI E LOT T ’8 1 NFL Hall of Famer and Four-Time Super Bowl Champion BOB O SHE R ’8 1 President, Sony Pictures Digital Productions GAIL S A MUE L ’8 8, MBA ’0 2 Chief Operating Ofcer, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Young Alumni Merit Award AJA BROWN ’0 4, MP L ’0 5 Mayor of Compton, California

Alumni Service Awards MICH A E L A . FE L I X ’8 3 Member, USC Latino Alumni Association Corporate Council Advisory Board JANA WA RI N G GRE E R ’ 7 3 Chair, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Board of Councilors CH RI ST I N E M. OFI E SH ’ 74 Executive Board Member, Town and Gown of USC | | tel: 213 740 2300


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 62

winter 2012 2013 autumn

2/27/14 7:18 AM

family class notes 1 9 6 0 s

1 9 7 0 s

Nedra Zachary ’60 (LAS) of Beverly Hills, Calif., is celebrating her 42nd year as director and founder of the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers. She is the recipient of both the silver and gold Decorations of Merit from the Republic of Austria.

George Gokel PhD ’71 (LAS) has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is a Distinguished Professor of Science and director of the Center for Nanoscience at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Kenneth Klein ’63 (MUS) and Gerald Robbins ’68 (MUS) recorded a live performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto that is featured in the opening scene of the 2013 flm Te Butler. Richard S. Meyers MS ’63 (EDU), PhD ’71 (EDU) retired after serving more than three decades as a university president at schools including Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest, Calif.; Pasadena (Calif.) City College; Western Oregon State College; Webster University in Webster Groves, Mo.; and most recently Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif. Alma Fowlkes MSW ’65 (SSW), a longserving volunteer for the California Social Welfare Archives at the USC School of Social Work, was recently honored by the USC Alumni Association with the USC Widney Alumni House Award. Te award recognizes outstanding sustained volunteer service and contributions to the Trojan Family.


Alfred H. (Colton) Qöyawayma MSME ’66 (ENG) received an honorary Doctor of Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, last June. He also was selected as an American artist in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and is co-founder of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Jewel Kolling Basse ’67 (LAS) of San Francisco, a leading trial lawyer with more than 30 years of litigation, arbitration and mediation experience, has been invited to join the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 63

Ismael Dieppa DSW ’73 (SSW) was inducted into the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. His accomplishments include building a trans-cultural social work curriculum, actively recruiting a larger number of Chicano and Native American students to MSW and PhD programs, and promoting the adoption of the California Social Work Education Center.

Class notes appear online. Read news about each graduate at and send your news to

the world instead,” she said with a laugh. In 1972, she met a group of radical social workers at an Asian-American mental health conference in San Francisco. Many were alumni of the USC School of Social Work, and they recruited her to apply to the graduate program. Although she is now in politics, “I will always be a social worker,” Yamada said. She strives to fght for the aging, adult services and people with disabilities. Gary A. Carnow ’75 (EDU), MS ’77 (EDU), EdD ’82 (EDU) retired from his position as chief technology ofcer in the Pasadena (Calif.) Unifed School District. He served the students of Southern California for more than 38 years, working as a teacher, technology specialist and a central ofce administrator in various districts, including the Alhambra and Los Angeles unifed school districts. John D. Meyer PhD ’78 (LAS) was awarded the 2013 Davies Medal by the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain in recognition of his contributions to the development of digital imaging and thermal ink jet printing. He lives in Tracy, Calif.

Mariko Yamada Mariko Yamada MSW ’74 (SSW), a member of the California State Assembly, was inducted into the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. She is the frst woman of Japanese-American descent to serve in the California legislature and the fourth MSW elected to the California State Assembly in its 164-year history. Yamada grew up in a modest home and was the youngest of four children born to parents who spent four years in the Manzanar War Relocation Center following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Her family’s struggles led her to pursue a psychology degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a focus on Asian-American mental health. “My joke is I studied psychology to save my family but realized that it would not work, so I pursued social work to try to save

Lyn Ellen (Hicks) Rhoda ’78, MFA ’82 (DRA) of San Clemente, Calif., wrote After the Avalanche—Digging Trough Grief, after she lost her frst husband in an avalanche at a Southern California ski resort, and published the book to provide hope and encouragement for anyone sufering loss.

1 9 8 0 s

Leon Laub ’80 (BUS), MBA ’90 (BUS), vice president and wealth management adviser for Merrill Lynch in Brea, Calif., celebrated his 25th year in the fnancial services industry. Daniel D. Beintema ’82 (LAS) was appointed vice president of development by the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. A Navy veteran and carrier naval aviator, he previously served as vice president of operations and community partnerships at the San Diego Foundation.

usc usc trojan trojan family family


3/7/14 8:14 AM

Aram Peter Kezirian

Michele Moretti Michele Moretti ’82 (BUS) of Los Gatos, Calif., reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in September. “We were not sure of the temperature, but our water froze in our containers on the way to the top,” Moretti told the San Jose Mercury News. Te peak was so high that she was above the clouds. “Air is thin,” she said, “so the celebration is short before you head down.” Gregory Franklin ’83 (LAS), EdD ’97 (EDU), superintendent of the Tustin (Calif.) Unifed School District, received the USC Alumni Association’s Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award for his record of service and achievements as chair of the USC Rossier Dean’s Superintendents Advisory Group and member of the USC Rossier Board of Councilors. Rod Gilfry MM ’83 (MUS), associate professor of vocal arts and opera at the USC Tornton School of Music, performed the role of Howard K. Stern in the opera Anna Nicole with the New York City Opera in September. Anita U. Nelson ’83 (BUS) is CEO of Single Room Occupancy Housing Corp., which has developed 29 permanent supportive housing projects in Los Angeles. Her newest project, the Gateways Apartments, is a LEED Gold-certifed building that provides 108 private studio apartments for chronically homeless and low-income individuals in Los Angeles.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 64

In honor of the late A. Peter Kezirian Jr. JD ’89 (LAW) and his work in international policy and foreign relations, the Kezirian family has established the A. Peter Kezirian Jr. Memorial Fellowship in Public Service and International Law at the USC Gould School of Law. Te fellowship will enable students to engage in international public service projects within the governments of developing nations making difcult transitions to peace, stability and democracy, as well as the intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations that support these eforts. A third-generation SCion, he was the son of Marilyn Kezirian ’60 (BUS), ’62 (EDU). Peter Kezirian was involved with the 1995 Armenian Judiciary Conference in Yerevan, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Republican Institute and the Pacifc Council on International Policy, and was a German Marshall Plan Fellow. He served in the Armenian Assembly as its state chair and on the national board of trustees. In 2009, Kezirian was recognized as a community leader by the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church. After graduating from USC, he joined the international law frm of Debevoise & Plimpton. In 1998, he joined the Cooperative of American Physicians-Mutual Protection Trust and was most recently the senior vice president for corporate strategy and strategic development. Travis W. Winsor ’89 (BUS), CEO of Te Raymond Group, a national wall and ceiling contractor, is celebrating his 17th year with the company. He lives with his wife, Nicolle Winsor ’93 (SCJ), and their three children in Orange County, Calif.

production and one for writing, both in the short-form category. She recently joined the city of San Diego’s Corporate Partnership Ofce as marketing manager. Hector Rodriguez MS ’98 (EDU), EdD ’09 (EDU), EML ’12 (EDU) was recently promoted to deputy chief of the Los Angeles School Police Department, the nation’s second-largest law enforcement agency of its kind. Te department is considered a leader in school and student safety.

2 0 0 0 s

Filiberto Gonzalez MSW ’00 (SSW) was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve fve years on the North San Fernando Valley Area Planning Commission, which decides on new developments and conditional use permits, and alcohol licenses. Dan Brunn ’01 (ARC) recently won a design award from the Southern California Development Forum for his design of Yojisan Sushi, a restaurant in Beverly Hills, Calif. Monique Sosa Allard ME ’02 (EDU), EdD ’06 (EDU) was named assistant provost for student engagement within the USC Division of Student Afairs. She previously served as executive director of student support and equity programs at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Bear McCreary ’02 (MUS) earned an Emmy Award—his frst—in 2013 for Outstanding Original Main Title Teme Music for Da Vinci’s Demons, a STARZ original series. He lives in Bellingham, Wash.

1 9 9 0 s

Adnan Mahmud MS ’03 (ENG) was nominated for the Microsoft Alumni Foundation’s Integral Fellows Award in recognition of his dedicated service to philanthropy. He founded Jolkona, a microfnance organization that has donated over $700,000 for more than 140 causes.

Jennifer (Nichols) Kearns ’94 (LAS) received two 2013 Emmy Awards, one for

Mark Spratt MSW/MPA ’03 (SSW), a member of the USC School of Social Work’s Board of Councilors and an advocate for the


family class notes

We welcome updates from our fellow Trojans. Go to to submit news through your school’s online form or to your school’s listed contact.

spring 2014

3/7/14 8:16 AM





’0 4 ,


’0 5


Landslide Winner

As a young girl, Aja Brown ’04, MPL ’05 had an unusual interest: real estate and construction. She’d beg her mom to take her to local development projects, and on Sundays she’d analyze the Los Angeles Times classifeds to compare rental units in diferent areas and cities. “I always knew what the median rents were,” she says, sitting tall in her hefty brownleather ofce chair. It was the beginning of a passion for community development—one that’s landed her the mayorship of Compton, Calif. Where others see a fnancially troubled city beset by gangs and crime, Brown looks at Compton as a “diamond in the rough.” Fueled by studies in policy, planning and development at the USC Price School of Public Policy, Brown envisions Compton as a thriving community with quality housing, a strong educational system and safe streets and neighborhoods. Brown’s ties with the south Los Angeles County city go back

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 65

decades to a dark time in her family’s life. In 1973, Brown’s maternal grandmother was raped and murdered in her Compton home. Her mother fed to Altadena, where she raised Aja and her twin brother to stay out of trouble and work hard. Brown remembers her mother telling them even in kindergarten that she couldn’t aford college for both, so they’d have to get good grades to earn scholarships. The plan worked out: Brown attended USC thanks to grants. In 2009, ignoring the reservations of her concerned mother, Brown and her husband moved from nearby Gardena to Compton. Was she deliberately returning to her roots? “I know it seems like that, but no,” the 31-year-old says. “I just saw so much work that could be done here.” Brown frst volunteered for the city, then she became a city employee and founded a community-development nonproft. Each approach on its

own seemed incomplete, she says, so she ran for mayor in 2013 and won decisively. Though fairly new to Compton, she’d previously held civic posts in other cities, including planning commissioner in Pasadena. Public safety, economic development and youth development are her priorities. She proposes the school district turn the city’s three high schools into academies focused on science and technology, business and trades, and arts, respectively; she wants to see Saturday and afterschool programs at the new community center. What comes after Compton? Brown says she focuses on today: being a “great mayor” so she can meet her community’s needs. “Peace comes,” she adds, “when you know that you have done all that you can do, and so, every day, I strive to do my personal best.”

“Peace comes when you know that you have done all that you can do, and so, every day, I strive to do my personal best.”


usc trojan family


3/7/14 8:17 AM

lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, was awarded the school’s Dean’s Service Award. He is a senior manager in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice, where he supports Fortune 100 companies with their global business transformations and process improvements.

Sisters (from right to left) Valerie Ananias ’04 (LAS), Debbie Ananias ’06 (LAS) and Cindy Ananias ’09 (MED) published the book SOS: Spirit of Survival, which chronicles their family’s experience aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized of the coast of Italy in 2012. Just two hours after embarking on a seven-day cruise, the ship hit a reef during an unofcial, ofcourse salute to coastal residents. As the ship listed just short of 90 degrees, it hit the rocky sea foor and stabilized. For the frst time, the family faced the prospect of death as they huddled together in the darkness and mass confusion with screaming passengers and an ill-prepared crew. “We talked and prayed, waiting for the water to come, waiting to die,” Valerie Ananias said. “But for some reason, despite the situation we were in, I knew there was a way out. Te way it felt waiting near that railing, I was certain of dying and living at the same time.” Her way out came in the form of a favorable wind that blew the vessel back in toward shore and not out to sea, where it would have capsized completely. Since the tragedy, the Ananias family has joined a mission to advocate for improved cruise ship safety regulations. Linda Fischer EdD ’05 (EDU) was recognized by USC’s Ofce of Campus Activities and the Women’s Student Assembly with a Remarkable Women Award for her work on issues related to women in the military and sexual assault in the military. She lives in Rockdale, Texas.


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 66


The Ananias Sisters

spring 2014

2/27/14 7:39 AM

We welcome updates from our fellow Trojans. Go to to submit news through your school’s online form or to your school’s listed contact.

Lily Chowana-Bandhu ME ’07 (EDU) is director of campus activities within the USC Division of Student Afairs. Daria Hosseinyoun ’08 (BUS) published Roots of Gratitude: A Young Man’s Global Search for Happiness, which tells the story of his year backpacking across Asia to fnd truth through Buddhism, yoga and Aikido. Bob Lydecker ’08 (MUS), GCRT ’09 (MUS) is co-composer for Fox Television’s Sleepy Hollow. He lives in Los Angeles.

2 0 1 0 s

Shawn Keohe MPA ’10 (SPP) was elected to the Los Angeles County Employee Retirement Association’s board of retirement and board of investment.

family class notes Derik Nelson ’10 (MUS), a singer/songwriter and guitarist on the television series Glee, recently completed his fall West Coast tour of 30 high schools to raise $100,000 for arts and music education. Joining him were Brian Hargrove ’09 (MUS) and Jack Kovacs ’10 (MUS). Sam Pitnick ’10 (ARC) received an honorable mention in the Association of College Administrators’ Timber in the City Competition in Brooklyn, N.Y. His winning design was recently exhibited at the U.S. Green Building Council’s GreenBuild conference in Philadelphia; it will be exhibited at the AIA National Convention in Chicago in June. Tim Bessolo EdD ’11 (EDU) was named assistant provost for division initiatives and operations within the USC Division of Student Afairs. Previously, he served as the assistant dean of academic afairs in the USC School of Social Work.

Olivia Rubio MSW ’11 (SSW) was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve a fve-year term on the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, which establishes and oversees policies for the Neighborhood Councils and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Previously, she served on the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council as a budget advocate. Jack Tseng ’11 (LAS) of the American Museum of Natural History in New York helped unearth the oldest big cat fossil yet in the Himalayas. Estimated at 4.4 million years old, the new cat species was named Panthera blytheae and is closely related to the snow leopard. Jongnic Bontemps GCRT ’12 (MUS) worked with Marco Beltrami GCRT ’93 (MUS) to provide additional original music for the theatrical remake of Carrie. He was one of six fellows chosen for the 2013

Alumni-funded student loans

Graduates: Don’t overpay on your student loans. Refnance with SoFi.

“One of the most promising new solutions [to the] problems that plague the student loan industry”


Choose from low fxed or variable rates. Borrowers save an average of $5,600*


Combine federal and private student loans; one monthly bill with a single rate

See what SoFi has to ofer


Leverage member services, from career advising to entrepreneurship support


* SoFi average borrower savings assumes 10-year student loan refnancing with a weighted average rate of 7.67% and a loan balance of $86,000, compared to SoFi’s median 10-year rate of 5.875% (with AutoPay). CFL license #6054612. See website for details.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 67 s


g ort

n... ed m o o s und

g -f min lumni o C A

usc trojan family


3/7/14 8:18 AM

Trojan To Trojan – A Great Way To Do Business! Find Trojan-owned and afliated businesses and services in your area. Support Trojan businesses, and take advantage of special Trojan Family discounts. And if you’re a business owner, list with us to market directly to the Trojan Family. Use promo code USCMAG14 to get 50% of the listing price! | | tel: 213 740 2300


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 68

spring 2014

2/27/14 7:39 AM

family class notes

Obituaries of members of the Trojan Family appear online at

Sundance Music and Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif. Eric Menjivar MSW ’12 (SSW) recently completed a social work residency at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfeld, Calif. He is now the ADAPT (Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment) program manager for Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, serving 2,500 active duty and civilian personnel. Jina Sang PhD ’12 (SSW) accepted a tenure-track faculty position at the University of Akron School of Social Work in Akron, Ohio.

Michael Parker ’03 (BUS), MBT ’04 (ACC) and Karrie Parker, a son, Westin Pearson Parker.



A L U M N I Wilbur “Moose” Thompson ’49, MS ’57 (ENG), Long Beach, Calif.; Dec. 25, 2013, at the age of 92. Robert R. Dockson MA ’40 (LAS), PhD ’46 (LAS), Los Angeles; Nov. 26, 2013, at the age of 96.


William Bourne Seixas ’40 (BUS), San Pedro, Calif.; July 1, 2013, at the age of 92.

Lindy S. Diamond ’81 (BUS) and Ivone Alem.

Kenneth Peters MS ’48 (EDU), Tarzana, Calif.; Nov. 25, 2013, at the age of 98.

Bianca Strong ’02 (LAS), MAT ’05 (EDU) and Ruben Neves. Robert “Rob” Abergas ’06 (LAS) and Kristen Nicole Wong ’06 (LAS), ’11 (DEN).

Leighton Loo ’94 (BUS) and Tifany (Hu) Loo MPP ’02 (SPP), a daughter, Leia Karen Loo. Stephanie N. Kelly ’00 (LAS) and Matthew C. Kelly ’00 (LAS), a son, Everett. Joseph Conzonire Jr. ’01 (BUS), MBA ’08 (BUS) and Michelle (Smith) Conzonire ’02 (EDU), a daughter, Cerina Monique Conzonire. Bianca Strong ’02 (LAS), MAT ’05 (EDU) and Ruben Neves, a daughter, Fiona Marie Neves. Julie Hemphill ’03 (EDU), MEd ’04 (EDU), a son, Caleb Jones. He joins sister Anna Pearl, 5.

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 69

Mike Caston MS ’73 (EDU), EdD ’80 (EDU), PhD ’81 (EDU), Escondido, Calif.; Oct. 27, 2013, at the age of 65. Joel Pressman ’73, MM ’75 (MUS), Los Angeles; Nov. 18, 2013, at the age of 63. Douglas Lowry MM ’76 (MUS), Rochester, N.Y.; Oct. 2, 2013, at age 62. Amy Friedheim ’81 (LAS), San Francisco; July 22, 2013, at the age of 53.

F A C U L T Y, F R I E N D S


Barbara “Sis” Ross Parsons ’50 (EDU), Phoenix, Ariz.; Aug. 19, 2013, at the age of 85.


Kingdon Charles “KC” Hicks ’58 (BUS), San Clemente, Calif.; May 5, 2011, at the age of 85. Nancy Bricard Woods ’55, MM ’67 (MUS), La Quinta, Calif.; Nov. 17, 2013, at the age of 80. Wilfred “Bill” Steiner ’57 (LAS), LLB ’60 (LAW), Crestline, Calif.; Aug. 16, 2013, at the age of 82. Leona Vivien Crook Miller MD ’60 (MED), La Jolla, Calif.; November 2013, at the age of 89.



Robert Cheng-Tung Wang, Villa Park, Calif.; Sept. 27, 2013, at the age of 84.

Barbara “Sis” Ross Parsons ’50 (EDU), Phoenix, Ariz.; Aug. 19, 2013, at the age of 85.


Lindy S. Diamond ’81 (BUS) and Ivone Alem, a daughter, Elenia Mae Diamond.

Robert Edward Gaskill ’69 (ENG), Santa Ana, Calif.; Sept. 5, 2013, at the age of 90.


USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences USC Leventhal School of Accounting USC School of Architecture USC Marshall School of Business USC School of Cinematic Arts USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism USC Kaufman School of Dance Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC USC School of Dramatic Arts USC Rossier School of Education USC Viterbi School of Engineering USC Roski School of Fine Arts USC Davis School of Gerontology USC Gould School of Law USC Libraries Keck School of Medicine of USC USC Thornton School of Music Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy USC School of Pharmacy Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy USC Price School of Public Policy USC School of Social Work

Michael “Mickey” McNamee ’62 (LAS), San Marino, Calif.; Jan. 2, at the age of 74. Frank E. Spielberg ’62 (BUS), Summit, N.J.; Oct. 6, 2013, at the age of 91. Neal Samuel Salisian Sr. ’63 (BUS), Pasadena, Calif.; May 10, 2013, at the age of 74.

Susan Bell, Carrie Banasky, Andrea Bennett, Caroline Bhalla, Wendy Gragg, Katherine Grifths, James Morse, Jane Ong, Kathleen Rayburn, Mara Simon-Meyer and Teresa Marie Whitaker contributed to this section. usc trojan family


3/7/14 8:21 AM





’6 3

If the game was on the line, there were few Trojans who could step to the free-throw stripe and take a shot like Bill Sharman. Known as “Bullseye Bill,” Sharman took his shooting prowess at USC to the NBA ranks and became one of professional basketball’s best players in the 1950s. Sharman, an All-American at USC in 1950, died at his home in Redondo Beach, Calif., on Oct. 25, 2013, at age 87. A four-year letter-winning forward at USC in 1947–50, Sharman still ranks among the all-time top 25 in scoring at USC. He was named USC’s most inspirational player in 1949, and became team captain and most valuable player the next year. He also played two seasons for the USC baseball team (1949–50) before signing a professional contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He played baseball briefy in the Dodgers organization before his basketball career took of. In 10 seasons with the Boston Celtics, he was named All-NBA frst team four times and played in eight All-Star Games, earning MVP honors in 1955. His partnership with Bob Cousy helped land Boston four NBA championships. He later became a standout coach, rising from college to the professional coaching ranks. He returned to his Southern California roots in 1971–72 to lead the hometown Los Angeles Lakers to a 69-13 regular-season record and their frst NBA title, earning honors as the league’s top coach that year. That season, the Lakers recorded 33 straight victories, still an NBA single-season record. By winning titles in the ABL with Cleveland, ABA with Utah and NBA with the Lakers, Sharman became the frst coach to win championships in three diferent pro leagues. Sharman joined John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as the only members enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and a coach. Sharman was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor in 2002 and was a member of USC’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 70

class in 1994. He had his No. 11 USC jersey retired and hoisted into the Galen Center rafters for display in 2007. Sharman is survived by his wife, Joyce, sons Jerry and Tom, daughters Nancy


Te Straight Shooter

Scott and Janice Hand, and six grandchildren and 10 greatgrandchildren. DAV I D T U T T L E A N D ALICIA DI RADO

spring 2014

3/7/14 8:21 AM

It’s not just travel. It’s Trojan Travel. Unlock the treasures of India and Nepal—legendary mountains, stunning monuments, exotic wildlife—while experiencing the exceptional service and camaraderie of USC afnity travel. Or choose from more than 40 other group travel adventures —places like Africa’s Great Rift Valley, France’s Provence and Burgundy, and the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Plus, we now ofer expert, personalized vacation planning through our brand-new ConSCierge Service. Visit or call (213) 821-6005 for more information and to book your next Trojan Travel adventure.

hTTP://Alumni.uSC.Edu | Alumni@uSC.Edu | TEl: 213 740 2300

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 71

2/27/14 7:39 AM

family q & a

Send your questions or memories to Ask Tommy at Include your name, degree, class year and a way to contact you. Questions may be edited for space.

Ask Tommy Questions and answers with Tommy Trojan

FIND TOMMY Winter 2013 answer: Tommy was on page 39.

Dear Tommy,

My wife and my mother both attended UCLA. My father and I both attended USC. Tis posed no challenge to family harmony because the distaf side were mostly interested in literature and left sports to the menfolk. J o h n s. g a i n es e D D ’72 My mom and dad both graduated from UCLA. My only sister graduated from UCLA. I graduated from USC in 1983. How do we keep the peace? Don’t make it personal. Don’t take family members to any USC-UCLA games! Don’t bet on the games. Don’t talk too much before or after the game, win or lose. Be gracious and a good sport, regardless who wins. My dad—maybe he was hedging his bets—had both USC and UCLA covered,


usc trojan family

USC_TFM_Spring14_BodyPgs_RRD.indd 72

Trojan-Bruin couples put their diferences aside for nuptial harmony.

although he sure would complain every time tuition came due for me at USC. Yet his business partner was a USC graduate. My family roots for USC when they are not playing UCLA, and I do the same. Now, Notre Dame is a diferent story! No family members attended there; I love to “hate” Notre Dame. Fight On! J o n at h a n l. B o g g s ’83 My family believes in blending. Like our country, we think mixing it up is healthy and creates individuality. Besides USC, we have Cal Berkeley, UCLA and a few Stanford grads in our mix. We are a democracy of colleges. We seldom come to blows—in fact, we are downright cordial and polite. Tose of us from USC take the “high road,” having been exposed to good manners and graciousness in college days! We all enjoy our diferences and occasionally join the opposition at play! Go Trojans, Fight On! D o rot h y s u n D B y e ’56

Dear Readers,

With fnal exams just a few months away, students are studying hard, and everyone has a favorite place to do that at USC. I like reading under the oaks in Associates Park—especially since they have an unusual history. Did you know that one of the big trees grew from a tiny sapling given to discus thrower Ken Carpenter ’39 at the 1936 Berlin Olympics? It’s one of two “Olympic oaks” originally planted at the park. Te other, earned by the 1936 U.S. 400-meter relay team starring Frank Wykof ’32 and Foy Draper ’36, died of root rot in 2002. But I digress. Whether students know their USC history or not, it’s clear that they’re loyal to their study hideouts, and debates over the merits of various libraries still rage. (Doheny? Hoose? Leavey? Choose a side.) Tell me your favorite study spot at USC and any stories you remember about it, and I might share your thoughts in a future issue.


A Trojan married to a Bruin? (Autumn 2013) Please. I entered USC in ’74 studying for my Master of Social Work after graduating UCLA ’71 (BA, Teater Arts). I was my own crosstown rival, and my “battle” was within myself! What to do? Over the next two years I fnally made a peace I could live with. I would root USC for football (I was there during the best of the Pat Haden/John McKay/Anthony Davis years, including attending the 55-24 historic “comeback” victory over Notre Dame), and cheer UCLA for basketball (I attended during the Coach Wooden years: seven straight national titles and the beginning of the 88-game winning streak). My rival teams have each had their ups and downs over the past 40 years, but every September through March I loyally start alternating between my well-worn cardinal and gold jersey and my threadbare blue and gold tank. It still works for me! Paulette (P ons) D ouglas MSW ’ 76

spring 2014

3/10/14 8:58 AM


Listening. Learning. Leading. On a quest to make health care better for everyone. Unwavering in our desire to heal. Unrelenting in the face of challenges. United for the greater good. At Keck Medicine of USC, we are not practicing medicine, we are redefning it. For appointments, call: (800) USC-CARE See how we’re improving lives:

USC_TFM_Spring14_CoverPgs_RRD.indd 3

2/27/14 10:34 AM

USC Trojan Family Magazine University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089-2818

non-profit organization u.s. postage paid university of southern california

Change Service Requested



Talking Stick Resort has earned the reputation as one of the most distinct resort destinations in the Southwest. We proudly invite you to experience what others are saying about Talking Stick Resort. Visit the best Scottsdale has to offer today. • • • • •

Award of Excellence (Talking Stick Resort) by Travelocity Best Casino (Talking Stick Resort) by Phoenix Magazine Best Restaurant View at Dusk (Orange Sky) by AZCentral AAA Four Diamond Award (Talking Stick Resort) by AAA Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2013

S C O T T S D A L E | 8 6 6 . 8 7 7 .9 8 9 7 | T A L K I N G S T I C K R E S O R T. C O M Locally owned and caringly operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

USC_TFM_Spring14_Cover2_3_4_Pgs_RRD_R1.indd 4

3/18/14 4:43 PM

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.