USC honored Trustee Rick J. Caruso ’80 with its most distinguished alumni honor, the Asa V. Call Award, at its 84th annual Alumni Awards on April 22.
The Asa V. Call Award is given to an alumnus who has shown exceptional commitment to the university and the community by generously giving their time, energy and leadership.
“Rick Caruso’s immense pride for USC is unsurpassed, and his love of the school is visible across our campuses,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said. “That includes the Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology, the USC Caruso Catholic Center and Our Savior Parish church. With inspired generosity, Rick and his wife, Tina, are putting into practice their philanthropic vision, which will benefit Trojans for many generations to come.”
My years at USC fundamentally changed my perspective on what it means to be part of a community.
“I am so honored to receive this award from USC,” the honoree said. “My years at USC fundamentally changed my perspective on what it means to be part of a community, and what my responsibilities are as a member of that community. There isn’t a better university that changes the lives of young people so significantly, and they have won my respect, commitment, devotion and gratitude.”
The Carusos have donated more than $50 million to USC, most recently $25 million to endow the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology, one of the nation’s largest and highest-ranked facilities for research and treatment of diseases of the ear, nose and throat. He is the CEO and founder of Caruso, one of the largest, privately held real estate development companies in the U.S., which has created some of Southern California’s most extraordinary destinations, including The Grove and The Americana at Brand.
The USC Alumni Association also recognized six notable Trojans for their achievements and contributions to the university:
- Receiving Alumni Merit Awards were 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.
- Allyson Felix ’08, nine-time Olympic medalist and the most decorated woman in American track and field history, received 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, received Alumni Service Awards.
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, world-renowned architect Frank O. Gehry ’54, opera great Marilyn Horne ’53 and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis ’73.