Eight exceptional alumni were honored at the 81st Annual USC Alumni Awards, which the USC Alumni Association (USCAA) hosted at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Presenting the Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award, the university’s highest alumni honor, to USC Trustee Daniel J. Epstein ’62, USC President C. L. Max Nikias acknowledged the Trojan Family’s legacy of unwavering support for the university.
“Throughout its history, USC has relied on tried and true Trojans whose deep devotion and selfless spirit of service have benefited their beloved alma mater,” Nikias said. “Dan Epstein is an extraordinary alumnus whose hallmark is humility, whose guidance is generosity and whose creed is commitment. His impressive achievements and impeccable character make him an inspiration to the entire Trojan Family.”
Epstein is the founder and executive chairman of the ConAm Group of Companies, one of the nation’s top privately owned apartment management/ownership firms, as well as a longtime university benefactor and alumni leader. In 2003, he provided the naming gift for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Five years later, he contributed the lead gift for the Epstein Family Alumni Center in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.
In addition to Epstein, seven other alumni were recognized at the April 26 gala, which drew nearly 800 Trojans and friends, including such local dignitaries as Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino, California State Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer ’87 and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas PhD ’89.
Recognition of loyal alumni
Alumni Merit Awards, which are given to alumni in recognition of their professional accomplishments, were presented to Ronnie Lott ’81, NFL Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion and philanthropist; Bob Osher ’81, president of Sony Pictures Digital Productions; and Gail Samuel ’88, ’89, MBA ’02, chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
The Young Alumni Merit Award, which recognizes outstanding alumni up to the age of 35, was presented to the Honorable Aja Brown ’04, MPL ’05, the youngest candidate and the first woman elected mayor of Compton, Calif.
Alumni Service Awards recognizing volunteer efforts on behalf of the university were presented to Michael Felix ’83, a member of the USC Latino Alumni Association Corporate Council Advisory Board, the USC School of Dramatic Arts Board of Councilors and the USC Associates Board of Directors; Jana Waring Greer ’73, chair of the USC Dornsife College Board of Councilors and a member of the Widney Society, the USC Associates (chairman level) and Cardinal & Gold; and Christine Ofiesh ’74, an executive board member of Town and Gown of USC, president of the Trojan Guild of Los Angeles and a member of the USCAA Board of Governors.
Patrick E. Auerbach EdD ’08, associate senior vice president for alumni relations, and Ramona Cappello ’81, USCAA Board of Governors president, co-hosted the gala, which Auerbach described as more than just a celebration of this year’s honorees.
“It’s also a recognition of the impact USC’s loyal alumni have made, and continue to make, in fueling USC’s rise to the forefront of the world’s private research universities.”