USC Athletic Director Pat Haden blew out the candles on his 60th birthday in a big way.
Seizing the opportunity to mark the milestone and celebrate his longtime commitment to the university, USC President C. L. Max Nikias and USC Athletic Development teamed up to covertly work on a fundraising campaign to name what will be known as the Patrick C. Haden Hall of Champions in the new Heritage Hall.
Having reached out to Haden’s close friends and colleagues, as well as university trustees, the department raised $4 million in a scant few weeks, including the largest gift ever received by USC from a former student body president at the University of California, Los Angeles, Ben Vandebunt.
The gift was announced earlier this month at a celebration hosted by the president and first lady Niki C. Nikias at their home. Haden’s best friend, J.K. McKay, gave a rousing toast. USC Board of Trustees Chairman Edward P. Roski Jr. ’62, former Mayor Richard Riordan, USC Trustee Peter V. Ueberroth and Charles Griffin Cale, who endowed Haden’s Director of Athletics’ Chair, were among the guests.
“I have said many times that you are the ideal embodiment of the type of person we hope our student-athletes will become,” Nikias said about Haden. “Your dedication to the body, the mind and the athletic spirit serves as an inspiration to our students and people throughout our university.
“Because you have brought such great honor to USC,” the president continued, “we wanted to find a special way to honor you. In this way, a prominent place in the building that honors the greatest achievements in Trojan history will carry the name of one of the greatest Trojans of all time. And your legacy as a student-athlete, as an academic leader and as a person will forever be connected to the storied legacy of USC.”