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John Mork elected to head USC Board of Trustees

Board Chairman John Mork and his wife, Julie, are longtime supporters of the university. (Photo/Steve Cohn)

John Mork, founder and CEO of Denver-based Energy Corporation of America (ECA), has been elected chair of the USC Board of Trustees. He replaces Edward P. Roski Jr., who has chaired the board since June 2008.

“For over a decade, USC has benefited enormously from John Mork’s boundless energy and passion for our academic mission,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias, “and from his family’s extraordinary generosity in ensuring that the life-changing gift of a USC education will be available to generations of young men and women far into the future.

“I know John will build on Ed Roski’s legacy as chairman of the board, combining the foresight and perspective of a consummate leader with the commitment of a Trojan alumnus to steer our university to new levels of achievement and opportunity.”

The son of an oil and gas wildcatter, Mork played on the Trojan baseball team as an undergraduate at USC, going on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering from the university. He served in various capacities as an engineer at Union Oil Co. before founding ECA, which is now among the top 50 energy companies in the country. He was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from USC in 2012.

Mork is a member of the Chief Executives Organization and the World Presidents’ Organization, and a past director of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. He also founded the Mountain State Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Since joining the Board of Trustees in 2006, he has served on the board’s finance subcommittee for hospitals oversight and chaired the personnel committee.

In 2011, Mork and his wife, Julie, gave USC $110 million — the single largest gift in the university’s history for undergraduate scholarships — to create the USC Mork Family Scholars Program. The program provides full-tuition four-year scholarships and living stipends for students who have demonstrated the highest levels of academic achievement and citizenship.

Mork Family Scholarships go to academically gifted students — young people who Mork believes will make the most of the promising future he envisions — including those from low-income families. In addition, a number of Mork Family Scholarships are set aside each year for students from the USC Family of Schools in South Los Angeles.

In 2005, the Morks also provided the $15 million naming gift for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

In addition to being among USC’s greatest benefactors, the Morks are Trojan parents. Their son, Kyle, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, has taken graduate courses in petroleum engineering at USC Viterbi. Their daughter, Alison ’05, MA ’10, received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the USC Marshall School of Business and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the USC Rossier School of Education.

Aligned with Mork’s overall philanthropic focus on education, the ECA Foundation, established in 1996, supports a range of programs dedicated to maximizing the development and potential of youth. ECA commits 2 percent of its cash flow annually to the foundation, which to date has distributed more than $25 million to nonprofit organizations across the United States — among them College Summit, which partners with high schools across the country to increase college enrollment rates among students from low-income communities, and the Denver-based Anchor Center for Blind Children.

Roski is president and chairman of the board of Majestic Reality Co., one of the oldest and largest privately held real estate companies in the United States. He is also co-owner of the Los Angeles Kings, the Lakers and Staples Center. He sits on many boards, including those of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California Science Center, Royal Geographical Society and National Geographic Society, among others. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served as an officer in Vietnam, Roski holds a bachelor’s in finance and real estate from USC and has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2000. In 2006, he and his wife made a $23 million endowment gift to name the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts.

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