Rick Caruso ’80, a USC trustee, the founder and CEO of Caruso Affiliated and the founder of the Caruso Family Foundation, will receive the Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award, the university’s highest alumni honor, at the 84th Annual Alumni Awards.
“Rick Caruso stands among this university’s most passionate supporters, and plays a tremendous leadership role in our community,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “He and his wife, Tina, have opened their hearts to so many worthy causes at USC, carrying out a philanthropic vision that will serve generations and generations of Trojans. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this extraordinary honor.”
In addition to Caruso, the USC Alumni Association will recognize six other Trojans for their achievements and contributions to USC. Wanda M. Austin PhD ’88, the former president and CEO of The Aerospace Corp. and a member of the USC Board of Trustees since 2010; Grant Gershon ’85, the artistic director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the resident conductor of LA Opera; and Wilfred “Fred” Uytengsu ’83, the president and CEO of Alaska Milk Corp., the leading milk company in the Philippines, will receive Alumni Merit Awards. Allyson Felix ’08, nine-time Olympic medalist and the most decorated woman in American track and field history, will receive the Young Alumni Merit Award. Dan Cassidy ’59, a past president and a current member of the Half Century Trojans Board of Directors, and Vicki McCluggage ’76, a past president of the Trojan League of Los Angeles and longtime university volunteer, will receive Alumni Service Awards.
We are proud to recognize the extraordinary achievements and service of this year’s honorees.
“We are proud to recognize the extraordinary achievements and service of this year’s honorees,” said Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations Patrick Auerbach EdD ’08. “We look forward to welcoming them, and our guests, to the 84th Annual USC Alumni Awards on April 22.”
Caruso is the founder and CEO of Caruso Affiliated, one of the nation’s largest, privately held real estate companies. The company’s retail and mixed-use properties, which include The Grove and The Americana at Brand, attract millions of guests each year. A highly respected civic leader, Caruso has served as the commissioner of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and as president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. He is also the founder of the Caruso Family Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the lives of at-risk children in Los Angeles.
In 2015, Caruso and his wife donated $25 million to endow and name the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, one of the nation’s largest and most highly ranked facilities for research and treatment of diseases of the ear, nose and throat. Their gift also named and endowed the department’s affiliated treatment center for young children with severe hearing loss, the USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication. The Carusos’ previous naming gift established the USC Caruso Catholic Center and was the lead gift in building the center and Our Savior Parish Church, which provide spiritual support for many USC students. A member of the USC Board of Trustees since 2007, Caruso also serves on the USC Price School of Public Policy Board of Councilors.
“Rick Caruso is the epitome of a dedicated Trojan,” said Rod Nakamoto ’83, MBA ’94, the president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors. “We are honored to present him with this year’s Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award.”
Every year since 1932, the USC Alumni Association has paid tribute to distinguished members of the Trojan Family. The annual Alumni Awards gala is the premier event hosted by the USC Alumni Association. Past honorees include Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong ’70, renowned architect Frank Gehry ’54, opera great Marilyn Horne ’53 and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis ’73. All proceeds from the event to be held on April 22 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles support the USC Alumni Association’s programs and services.