Amy King Dundon-Berchtold, a real estate investor, philanthropist and treasured member of the Trojan Family, died on March 16 following a stroke. She was 74.
A 1972 graduate of the USC Rossier School of Education, Dundon-Berchtold had deep family connections to the university. Her mother, Joyce King Stoops, and stepfather, Emery Stoops, were both USC Rossier professors. Dundon-Berchtold met her first husband, Paul Edward “Ed” Dundon at USC Rossier, where he earned his doctorate in education.
Dundon-Berchtold and her family also had a long tradition of making impactful gifts to USC. Her parents established the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Education Library, the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean’s Chair in Education and 25 scholarships for USC Rossier students.
After her husband died in 2008, Dundon-Berchtold created the Paul Edward Dundon Endowed Scholarship for Doctor of Education students in the K-12 leadership concentration, honoring his 20 years of service as superintendent of the Garden Grove Unified School District. In addition to their support of USC Athletics and medical research, Amy and her husband James “Jim” Joseph Berchtold endowed the USC Amy King Dundon-Berchtold University Club at King Stoops Hall in 2016.
“Amy had a special affinity for brick-and-mortar projects,” said Karen Symms Gallagher, the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of USC Rossier. “Throughout her career, she demonstrated a remarkable ability to envision a building’s full potential and bring it to life. In all her endeavors, Amy enlivened her surroundings with creativity, generosity and warmth. She is deeply missed by the USC community and all who knew her.”
Education alumna’s philanthropy spurred by longtime connections to USC
Born in Illinois, Dundon-Berchtold moved to California as a child. Her mother earned her doctorate in education in 1966 from USC, where she met and married Emery Stoops. Both of her parents taught at USC Rossier, and Joyce King Stoops also served as assistant dean for student life.
Alongside her bachelor’s degree in education from USC Rossier, Dundon-Berchtold completed an MBA at the University of California, Irvine. While at USC, she met and married Ed Dundon, a U.S. Marine Corps officer who worked as a school superintendent in Orange County. He founded the Dean’s Superintendents Advisory Group at USC Rossier, creating networking opportunities between the school and California superintendents.
Dundon-Berchtold’s real estate investment career grew out of observing her mother’s own investments in rental properties. As she got her start in the business, the two held a friendly competition, comparing their performance over a year.
“It turned out that I was actually pretty good at it. … I won,” Dundon-Berchtold said in a recent retrospective story for USC Rossier’s centennial celebration. “In one year, I doubled my initial investment. What I loved most about real estate was the chase. I loved it so much that I kept buying bigger and bigger places, from the condos we started with to apartment buildings and commercial properties.”
Her success in business enabled her to give back to her alma mater in later years, and she viewed endowing the USC Dundon-Berchtold University Club as a homecoming.
“When I came to USC as an undergraduate, that building was the education library,” she said in the article. “I majored in education, so I spent a lot of hours studying there and my favorite spot on campus was a tall tree right behind the building.”
Beyond USC, Dundon-Berchtold and her husband Jim Berchtold supported the University of Portland, Central Catholic High School of Portland, the Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund in honor of Ed Dundon and St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Santa Monica.
She also served as a regent of the University of Portland, where she and her husband established the Dundon-Berchtold Institute for Moral Formation and Applied Ethics, which offers classes, events and research support. They also gave the lead gift to build Dundon-Berchtold Hall, which opened in fall 2019.
Dundon-Berchtold is survived by her husband Jim Berchtold and numerous other relatives. The family requests that donations be made to the Joyce King Stoops and Amy King Dundon Scholarship at USC Rossier. To make a gift, visit the school’s giving website, click the “Make a Gift” button, select “Please direct my gift to a specific school or program” and follow the prompts to select the scholarship fund. For further information, call 213-821-2670 or send an email.
A memorial will be scheduled at a future date.