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NROTC Scholarship Fund celebrates legacy of service and loyalty

The scholarships will be given next year in honor of the program’s former academic coordinator

The USC Price School of Public Policy has received a gift of approximately $2 million from the estate of David and Lee Hayutin to provide scholarships for Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) students at USC.

Serving as a testament to the strength of the NROTC community, the couple created this scholarship fund in honor of Anna Hawley Searles, the program’s former long-serving academic coordinator.

Standout applicants for the NROTC Scholarship Program will be awarded scholarships through a highly competitive selection process, and they receive full tuition, books, fees and other financial benefits at the university. Upon graduation, midshipmen are commissioned as officers in the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Marine Corps.

Through the David and Lee Hayutin NROTC Scholarship Fund, USC will further expand its capacity to educate and train highly qualified young men and women for service as commissioned officers in the nation’s armed services. This is the largest gift in the program’s history, which dates back to 1940.

This gift will expand our capacity to help young servicemen and women access a world-class education.

Jack H. Knott

“The David and Lee Hayutin NROTC Scholarship Fund is a tremendous investment in the university’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which boasts a noble history of preparing young officers with the discipline, character and integrity needed in all great leaders,” said USC Price Dean Jack H. Knott. “This gift will expand our capacity to help young servicemen and women access a world-class education that instills in them the highest standards of honor, courage and commitment.”

A tribute to lifelong connections

David Hayutin served as a naval reserve officer at USC more than 60 years ago, graduating in 1952 with a degree in physics from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He later completed his law degree, graduating from the USC Gould School of Law in 1958.

Now over six decades later, this gift serves as a tribute to the lifelong connections formed in the NROTC program at USC, among the officers themselves and between the officers and program staff.

“The David and Lee Hayutin NROTC Scholarship Fund is a true testament to the closeness of the NROTC community and of the Trojan Family as a whole,” said Regina Nordahl, associate dean at USC Price and university liaison for the NROTC program. “I know I speak for all of my colleagues in the program when I say that it is a privilege to serve the NROTC community at USC, and the relationships I have formed with officers over the years are some of the most cherished moments in my career.”

Searles: a mentor to midshipmen

Anna Hawley Searles, born in 1898, served as the academic coordinator for the NROTC program for 15 years. She came to USC in 1930 as an administrator for the Institute of Character Research in the School of Philosophy and was later promoted to director of the institute. She then assumed the role of academic coordinator for NROTC in 1943.

Anna Hawley Searles

Anna Hawley Searles, former academic coordinator of the NROTC program at USC (Photo/courtesy of USC NROTC)

Over the course of her tenure at USC, Searles mentored close to 1,000 NROTC midshipmen. A scholar in her own right, Searles authored and co-authored 19 books in the fields of literature and character education.

Character was indeed a reoccurring theme throughout Searles’ tenure at USC. She often wrote about the tremendous privilege and responsibility that officers have to uphold the highest standards of character, both in service and in civilian life.

“A good character is a system of refined and reliable habits. You would not be in that uniform unless you had acquired these habits along the way,” Searles wrote in the 1955 edition of the Trojan Sea Horse, the NROTC program’s annual yearbook. “It is a great challenge to wear on your sleeve the evidence of the manner of man you have made of yourself. It is a great achievement to be worthy of the confidence and trust of those in authority who have chosen you for the high test of command.”

Searles served under USC President Rufus B. von KleinSmid, who led the university during the establishment of the NROTC program at USC.

President von KleinSmid’s commitment

In the years following World War II, von KleinSmid further expanded the university’s commitment to the armed services to accommodate the swell of veterans enrolling under the G.I. Bill. Before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, USC had enrolled an average of 6,000 full-time day students. Less than five months after the war ended, 8,300 daytime students and 3,500 evening students were enrolled at the university. The following year, veterans comprised 70 percent of the university’s daytime students.

In recognition of von KleinSmid’s commitment to armed services and military veterans, the Navy selected him as a member of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Naval Academy four times, and he was made “honorary admiral” by the officers and men of the USS Iowa in 1947.

Throughout the university’s long-standing heritage of service and support for military officers and veterans, it was Searles who provided the day-to-day, steadfast leadership and guidance of young naval officers enrolled at USC.

President von KleinSmid reflected upon Searles’ character and commitment to the NROTC program in the 1953 dedication of the Trojan Sea Horse, writing: “A fine teacher, instinctively sympathetic with youth, she interprets their attitudes with rare accuracy, analyzes their difficulties, and guides in the solutions of their problems. Many young men have been saved to the requirements of academic success and hence to later vocational adjustment as well as to the service of their country because of her persistent personal interest and sane advice. Her versatility of background, sharp intelligence and strong self-discipline have always been thrown forcefully but inconspicuously into the service of others.”

Since Searles’ retirement from USC in 1958, there have been three other academic coordinators for the NRTOC program at USC — all of whom have been women.

The David and Lee Hayutin NROTC Scholarship Fund will award its first scholarships to students in fall 2015. In addition to supporting NROTC scholarships at USC, the Hayutin family left $2 million to USC Gould to provide scholarships, with preference for students who served honorably in the U.S. Navy.

The Hayutin gift advances the Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort that seeks to raise $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world. Three years after its launch, the campaign has raised more than $3.71 billion.

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NROTC Scholarship Fund celebrates legacy of service and loyalty

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