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Keck Foundation chair recognized with honorary degree

Robert Day and USC President Steven Sample display Day’s honorary degree in humane letters.

Robert Day, chair and president of the W. M. Keck Foundation and member of the Keck School of Medicine’s Board of Overseers, received an honorary degree in humane letters, honoris causa, May 10, recognizing his extensive achievements in philanthropy and commerce.

Day commented that receiving the degree was “a great honor.”

“I believe that the university has made tremendous progress over the last five years,” he said. “We at the W. M. Keck Foundation are proud to be partners with the University of Southern California in building the Keck School of Medicine of USC.”

Born in Los Angeles in 1943, Day graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1965 with a B.S. in economics before launching a career in investment banking, starting at the New York investment firm of White, Weld and Co.

In 1971, Day founded Trust Company of the West, a firm that began with $2 million under management and has grown to manage in excess of $90 billion today. It is now one of the largest independent trust companies in the country.

As chair and president of the W. M. Keck Foundation, Day leads a $1.5 billion organization that contributes primarily to higher education and research into science, engineering and medicine. In 1999, the Keck Foundation contributed $110 million to USC to rename the university’s medical school.

Day also serves on the board of directors of Société Générale, as director of Freeport-McMoRan Inc., and as member and former chairman of the board of trustees at Claremont McKenna College. He is also a member of the Business Council, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Alfalfa Club in Washington, D.C.

In January, Day was drafted to serve on President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Keck Foundation chair recognized with honorary degree

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