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A Trojan in touch with his USC Rossier roots

by Andrea Bennett
USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher and alum Brent Noyes (Photo/Courtesy of USC Rossier)
USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher and alum Brent Noyes (Photo/Courtesy of USC Rossier)

Brent Noyes ’75, MS ’79 knows how to be true to his school. His latest commitment to his alma mater, the USC Rossier School of Education, is a gift of $25,000 over a five-year period.

The chairman of The Academy, USC Rossier’s leadership giving society and a longtime member of the USC Rossier Board of Councilors, Noyes has been one of the school’s most vocal, enthusiastic and supportive alumni for decades.

His recent gift, which supports the Annual Fund and homecoming at the level of the Dean’s Laureate Circle, demonstrates a commitment to his USC Rossier legacy.

“People need to reflect back to when they went to school and how it influenced their lives,” he said. “It’s about listening to what is needed and giving back any way that you can. That’s what the Trojan Spirit is.”

Noyes was a Trojan long before he stepped onto the USC campus to study music and teaching in the 1970s. With more than 35 relatives who went to USC and an abundance of Trojan Spirit in the family, the fourth-generation Los Angeles-born Noyes was destined to follow suit.

“Every year, my grandfather threw an ’SC vs. UCLA party after the game at his house in the Wilshire area, and they’d take out all of the furniture and we’d decorate every room,” he recalled. “I’ve been going to the games since I was very young, and my dad always talked about how when he went to ’SC, you used to drive in and park at Tommy Trojan.”

Noyes said his father went into the Korean War before he could graduate but “was able to enjoy everything he loves about the school through our eyes.”

Today, Noyes carries on the tradition with his wife, Virginia, whom he met at USC, and their three children. The Glendale resident takes his daughter, Alexis, 27, to just about every USC football, baseball, basketball and volleyball game he can.

“My middle daughter with autism really comes out during the games. She’s just the biggest rah-rah person you will meet. She has all of her ticket stubs and buttons from the games,” he said, adding that his Christmas present each year from all three children is a picture of them in full USC colors.

“That always brings me a lot of smiles,” Noyes said.

Noyes came to USC with aspirations of singing, but he was able to explore much more on the vibrant campus.

“I never wanted to leave. There was too much going on. It was a place where you could try many different things — I was even in the marching band for a week,” Noyes said.

He tried student teaching in music and fell in love with education. After earning his degree from USC Rossier, Noyes quickly discovered the power of the Trojan Family as doors opened to job opportunities due to his USC affiliation. That network continued to propel his career and give him an edge over the competition during his 37 years in education as an elementary principal in the La Canada, Las Virgenes and South Pasadena unified school districts.

Seeing the value in those relationships and determined to forge new connections for other alumni, Noyes has been underwriting USC Rossier’s homecoming

Tailgates event every year since the 1980s.

“It isn’t possible for me to give a big building, so I try to find ways to assist the dean in building our alumni base, and homecoming is the biggest way that people connect,” he said. “It’s fun to have that fellowship with our alumni. They’re closer than friends; they’re really family members.”

Noyes is committed to supporting and mentoring current students as well.

“We don’t just graduate and leave; we graduate and then help others graduate, too,” he said.

As a member of the San Gabriel Valley Trojan Group, he interviews USC students who are prospective scholarship recipients.

“I get the opportunity to meet bright, creative and exemplary students. It makes me want to come back and do more; it makes me feel young,” Noyes said. “If you want to feel that way, you volunteer. And there are so many ways that people can help.”

And as chairman of The Academy at USC Rossier, which recognizes gifts of $500 or more, Noyes said he wants other alumni to know that every single gift makes a difference.

“It may not depend on a few giving millions, but on millions giving a few. It’s not about how much we give, but how we give. We give different, but we sacrifice the same,” he said. “That’s the power of the USC Trojan community.”

Academy members will be honored for their generosity at a special “Leaders in Giving” event on June 15 at the USC University Club. For more information about The Academy and how to join, contact Diana Hernandez, director of annual giving for USC Rossier, at dehernan@usc.edu or (213) 740-3499.

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