Philanthropists Louis and Helene Galen give $35 million to realize the dream of a USC events center.
Anyone looking to document the longevity of Louis and Helene Galen’s dedication to USC athletics need only look to a moment more than 25 years ago, when Louis Galen LLB ’51 proposed to his London-born wife in front of 3,000 people at a USC/Notre Dame football rally.
But it was the depth of their devotion that was on display in Heritage Hall last August, when the couple gave $25 million to USC’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to build a new campus events center. The gift brought their total contribution to the center to $35 million, pushing the USC athletics department over the $70 million threshold required to begin construction on the project. In recognition of their gift, the 10,258-seat center will be named the Galen Center.
|A view from Figueroa Street of the future 10,258-seat Galen Center.|
“This generous gift from our dedicated friends Helene and Lou Galen allows us to turn our dream of building a sports and cultural events center into a reality,” said President Steven B. Sample in announcing the gift. “Because of their generosity, USC students will have a state-of-the-art facility for varsity basketball and volleyball, as well as a superb cultural center for the presentation of concerts and other events. I am proud to see the name of these dedicated Trojans on our new center.”
The Galen Center will play host to an estimated 130 events a year, including Trojan men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball games as well as concerts, pageants and theater performances.
The center will give the Trojan men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams their first true home-court advantage and boost recruiting efforts in both sports, said USC athletic director Mike Garrett.
“The gift from the Galens is, as far as we know, the largest private gift given to any athletic department for a capital project,” Garrett said.
“It is certainly, by far, the largest gift ever received by the USC athletic department.”
The proposed site of the new Galen Center is at Jefferson Boulevard and Figueroa Street near the University Park campus. The facilities will include the USC Athletic Department Hall of Fame, a Cardinal & Gold function room, a USC auxiliary ticket office, concession stands and an athletic merchandise store. A 45,000-square-foot athletic pavilion will be attached to the facility by an atrium and will include three practice courts as well as coaches’ and administrative offices.
A 1,200-space parking structure will be built between Flower Street and the Radisson Hotel, and additional parking will be available in the 1,900-space University Parking Center a block away from the center.
The university is working with city and community agencies to complete an Environmental Impact Report and obtain building permits. Construction is expected to be completed by May 2006.
This latest gift is the third multimillion-dollar donation from the Galens, who initially created a $10 million trust for the center’s construction earlier this year (see “The Center of the University,” Autumn 2003, p. 56).
“USC has always been an important part of my life – there’s just something about it,” Lou Galen said at the time. “We felt that if we could make an additional gift to the university, we should direct it where it would do the most good. And from our point of view, this is it. The university needs a campus events center.”
The couple also donated $1.25 million to establish a combined dining and social activities center for students in 1997; and in 2000, the Galens gave $300,000 to endow the Helene and Louis Galen Ceramics Studio in the USC School of Fine Arts, to enhance USC education in the arts.
Louis Galen is director for World Savings and Golden West Financial. In 1960, he became president of Lynwood Savings and Loan, a company he founded, and changed its name to World Savings. Galen then formed Trans World Financial, a holding company for World Savings, which merged with Golden West Financial and grew into a multi-state institution.
Helene Galen is a member of the USC School of Fine Arts’ Board of Councilors and is active in various charitable organizations in Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs. She has served on the boards of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, the Eisenhower Hospital and the Palm Springs Museum.
Despite their busy schedules, the Galens have always made USC football an integral part of their lives. Lou Galen first bought USC football season tickets in 1947 when he returned to Los Angeles after serving in World War II, so he wouldn’t miss any more games.
The London-born Helene was a pigskin neophyte when she first met Lou, but she quickly came to share her future husband’s passion for the game, as evidenced by the aforementioned proposal.
And then there was their wedding day. That day – strategically scheduled after the conclusion of the 1975 football season – Louis presented his wife with a Trojan Marching Band helmet, which she wore at their reception. The two then danced their first dance as husband and wife to the wedding band’s rendition of “Fight On.”
Ann of White Gables
|Photo by Michele A.H. Smith|
Ann Hill ’71, MA ’74 took the helm this fall as the 80th president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, only the fifth woman president in the association’s 118-year history. As USC prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2005, Hill reflects on her good fortune to be serving USC’s alumni during a period of unprecedented excellence – not to mention her daughter Emily’s freshman year at the university.
What are your goals for the USC Alumni Association this year? Internationalization, specifically around the Pacific Rim, is an important strategic initiative for USC and the Alumni Association. We will continue to strengthen our existing international alumni club networks and develop new contacts throughout Europe and the Pacific Rim. Already we have more than 20 active international alumni clubs, with several more currently forming. We’re also going to continue to expand our class reunion program. This year, we held 10-year, 25-year and 50-year reunions, along with our annual Half Century Trojans Day. It’s a magical experience for alumni to return to campus with their classmates, and we’d like to continue to build on this tradition.
You talk about internationalization – how can stateside alumni take part in the internationalization of USC? The USCAA is helping USC prepare for the third “USC in Asia” conference to be held in Seoul, South Korea, next October. All alumni are invited to attend these international conferences, which showcase USC faculty and explore cultural, social, political and professional topics. I also strongly encourage traveling alumni to take advantage of the worldwide alumni network. I’ve heard so many terrific stories about travel tips received from alumni living overseas.
What would you say to alumni who aren’t currently involved with USC? How can they get back in touch? To make it easy for all alumni to continue a lifelong association with the university, the USCAA has made membership in the Alumni Association free for all alumni. All you have to do is go to the USCAA Web site (https://alumni.usc.edu) to sign up. From there you can also join the e-mail list of a club in your area to hear about local events and activities. When something sparks your interest, make the effort to participate. For so many reasons, you’ll be glad you did!
So, how does it feel to be a Trojan parent? It’s so great, because it makes me feel connected to the students, who of course are the future of our Alumni Association. When you come onto campus, you can just feel their energy. It’s exciting to think about what lies ahead for them, at USC and beyond.
What piece of advice would you give your daughter, or any freshman, entering USC? I would encourage Emily, and all students, to take a semester abroad. When I was in college, times were different; I hadn’t traveled, and I really didn’t have the courage to explore the unknown. If I could do it over, I would definitely apply for a program overseas. College is a wonderful time to spread your wings and test your courage, and studying abroad can be a great adventure.
Back to the Garden
USC alums Azzam and Suzie Alwash are determined to salvage Iraq’s priceless Mesopotamian marshland ecosystem.
Kayaking in Southern California with his wife and daughters, Azzam Alwash PhD ’89 smiles, remembering the waters of his childhood in Iraq.
As a boy, he had joined his father on visits to villages throughout the southern Iraqi marshlands. He saw grass houses perched on floating islands woven of reed and silt, children fishing and playing, people tending herds of water buffalo. It all looked like a recreation of Sumerian scenes depicted in 8,000-year-old clay tablets unearthed by archeologists from ancient Ur.
When he was 20, Alwash was told he would have to join Saddam’s Baathist party to continue his university studies. He refused, and left for America that year – 1979 – to complete his education. After earning an undergraduate degree in engineering at Cal State Fullerton, he came to USC for his doctorate. Here, Alwash met and married Suzie (Reynolds) Alwash MS ’84, PhD ’88, then a graduate student in geology.
|Suzie and Azzam Alwash at their Long Beach home|
Recounting his boyhood travels in the Iraqi marshlands, Alwash promised his new wife that, one day, they would kayak the reed forests of his homeland.
“I fell in love with Azzam,” says Suzie Alwash, “and then I fell in love with the marshes, even though I had never been there.”
Neither knew when they met, of course, that just over a decade later, they would be working to assemble leading scientists from around the world to undertake the most ambitious ecological restoration effort in human history.
A more storied land would be difficult to imagine. Mesopotamia was the crucible of Western civilization, home to Babylon and Ur, and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Biblical scholars believe that the stories of Eden and the Great Flood are rooted in the vast, verdant marshlands of lower Mesopotamia – thousands of square miles of abundant reed stands interspersed with cottonwood, tamarisk and the world’s largest date palm groves.
Before the 1990s, the marshlands of modern-day Iraq were the largest wetland ecosystem in the Middle East and western Asia. Set amid unforgiving, cauterized desert, the wet abundance of the marshlands provided safe harbor for hundreds of species of wildlife.
|Azzam at Bagra International Airport in June before a helicopter “fly over” to survey the parched marshes|
Two-thirds of western Asia’s migratory birds – some 130 species – stopped here on their winter journeys between Europe, Africa and Asia. The marshes were also critical breeding habitat for Persian Gulf shrimp and fish, which sheltered their eggs in its salty estuaries. Mammals such as the smooth-coated otter, the striped hyena and the gray wolf depended upon the marshes’ resources for their own survival. And the rich silts that spawned some of the first human civilizations have sustained rice, wheat, barley and fruit trees grown by the “Marsh Arabs” for thousands of years.
All told, before they were destroyed, Iraq’s marshlands were worth more than $600 million a year to the regional economy. Since their desiccation, Kuwait’s fisheries have dwindled and fishing families in Iraq have lost their livelihood.
Although wetlands like these only occupy a tiny and rapidly diminishing percentage of the planet’s surface (currently, about 1.5 percent), they are disproportionately valuable real estate. Half the ecosystem services on the planet are provided by wetlands; to emulate the water filtration, nutrient delivery and other services provided by wetlands worldwide would cost $30 trillion a year, economists estimate. In short, allowing functional wetland systems to perish is economic madness.
But in the aftermath of the 1991 uprisings against Saddam Hussein, the Baathist regime punished the Marsh Arabs by transforming the Mesopotamian marshlands into arid saltpan. Massive diversion canals and dams were constructed to drain the marshes and re-route the Tigris and Euphrates around them, denying life-sustaining water and nutrients. A half-million Marsh Arabs were killed or displaced in one of the most under-reported genocides on record.
In August 2001, NASA released satellite images of Saddam’s handiwork. In under a decade, 90 percent – nearly 8,000 square miles – of wetland had become wind-swept wasteland. “It was really an engineering tour-de-force,” Alwash says, grimacing.
|A 1974 photo of Marsh Arab life before Saddam siphoned nearly 8,000 square miles of wetland.
Marsh Village photo by Nik Wheeler
Undoing the damage will require a similar display of determined ingenuity. Alwash’s childhood experiences coupled with his USC doctorate in engineering leave him unusually well suited to meet that challenge and help Iraq’s Marsh Arabs reclaim their homeland. His wife, now a professor of earth science at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., brings additional expertise.
“When we saw the satellite images of marshlands turned into desert,” she recalls, “we said: ‘We’re scientists; we can do something about this.’”
Securing a $190,000 grant from the Iraq Foundation, where Azzam Alwash is a board member, the couple initiated the Eden Again project. They hired a wetlands restoration expert and started contacting leading restoration ecologists, soils experts, hydrologists, botanists and zoologists from around the world. In February 2003, more than a dozen Eden Again scientists – all leaders in their fields – met with the Alwashes and Marsh Arab refugees in Irvine to examine scientific data, satellite images and maps.
The last day of the meeting, the assembled scientists announced their conclusion: most of the Iraqi marshlands can be restored, if the political will could be marshaled to the cause.
It wasn’t going to be easy. Soon after Saddam was deposed, impatient Marsh Arabs had tried to take matters into their own hands, destroying the dictator’s earthworks here and there. Their hasty, localized efforts probably have done more harm than good.
“I have to celebrate their human spirit and the sheer joy of water,” Suzie Alwash says. “But these efforts won’t amount to much unless the restoration is properly designed. The water will basically just pond and evaporate, leaving even more salts.”
What’s needed is flowing water, to flush the evaporitic salts and toxins away. “These soils have a memory,” says Eden Again team member Thomas Crisman, director of the University of Florida’s Center for Wetlands. That memory is retained in seed banks and soil chemistry, awaiting the careful, strategic reintroduction of slowly flowing water.
A blueprint of the restoration effort to come was released in April. It received media attention from Newsweek, National Geographic, CNN and NPR, as well as major newspapers. The Eden Again project dwarfs the one undertaken in the Florida Everglades, though it will cost significantly less.
Alas, delivering the required water will be no simple matter of undoing Saddam’s dams and canals. Upriver, Turkey is completing massive dams that will hoard most of the annual flow of the Euphrates. But Azzam Alwash remains optimistic; he believes Iraq can obtain the water it needs by purchasing electricity from Turkey. After meeting with officials in the United Nations Environment Program and U.S. international aid agencies all summer, he is securing the funds and political will needed to restore the marshes to ecological health.
Reclaiming the marshlands from oblivion will give not just Marsh Arabs but all Iraqis hope for the future, he argues.
“Restoration of the marshes is a great symbol,” Alwash says. “Bringing back to life – from the dust and salt of the current destruction – the [cradle] of Western civilization: I can hardly think of anything more symbolic of the rebirth of Iraq.”
– Bryant Furlow
Now & Then:
Moving on Up
|Robol photo by Stefano Paltera|
Move-in day has always proved a taxing affair for USC students, fraught with heavy lifting and the social impropriety of teary parental goodbyes. And then there’s the change in environment: Settling into the cramped, bare quarters of a dorm room, suddenly the familiar four walls of a native bedroom hold renewed appeal. It takes some doing to recreate the comforts of home. Back in 1907, a men’s residence (above left) sported plain amenities but ample wall space for a student’s personal effects, such as fraternity flags, drawings and photos. Today the rooms have gotten smaller, but the decorating possibilities remain endless. Below right, student Rob Robol sprawls out on a faux-leather bedspread, surveying his USC Fluor Tower dorm-turned-bachelor pad, replete with black molded chairs and a white shag rug. Credit should go where credit is due, however: Rob received help from an interior designer as part of a Los Angeles Times piece on USC dorm makeovers.
The Boy of Autumn
He’s a hot young pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. So why is Mark Prior walking down Trousdale Parkway with a backpack?
Mark Prior could have just sat back and let his burgeoning major league career take its course.
In his first full season in the big leagues, Prior has already proved a star pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. He finished the season with an 18-6 record, a 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts, placing him among the National League leaders in pitching stats. And in his first playoff appearance against the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NL Divisional Series, Prior pitched a masterful, two-hit complete game leading the Cubs to a 2-1 victory. With a blistering fastball and a knee-buckling curve, Prior has the sporting press whispering his name in the same breath with the Cy Young award, pitching’s top honor.
|Illustration by Tim Bower|
After being named 2001 College Baseball Player of the Year as a Trojan, Prior signed a record $14.5 million contract with the Cubs, the largest such deal ever for an amateur player. He is only as old as the number on his jersey, 22, and already his autograph on one fetches hundreds in the collectibles market.
So the question begs to be asked: Financially set for life, luxuriating in the opulent lifestyle of a professional baseball player, why is Prior walking down Trousdale Parkway with a backpack slung over his shoulders?
The answer: Prior is finishing his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He returned to USC last October and is back in class again this fall. At the same time, he is challenging cynics who say the term “student-athlete” is an oxymoron.
“We work three, four hours a day devoted to our sport,” says Prior. “Athletes get a bad rep on campus.”
It’s a reputation based on scant substance.
“Grades [among athletes] have shifted more upward than downward,” says USC’s Magdi El Shahawy, director of student athlete academic services.
With education a high priority for Prior, returning to school was not a question of “if,” but of “when.” His family had set high standards. Both parents graduated from Vanderbilt University, his brother from Villanova University and his sister from the University of San Diego. In August 2002, three months after his debut with the Cubs, Prior broached with his parents the idea of finishing USC.
It wouldn’t be easy. But waiting until his baseball career cooled a bit had its own drawbacks. “If I put it off, by that time, I could be 28 or 29 and coming back to school,” he says.
Because the regular baseball season overlaps with the first five weeks of the fall semester, Prior (a business major) had to make special arrangements with the USC Marshall School of Business. When he suffered a hamstring injury late in the 2002 season, the Cubs allowed him to travel to Los Angeles to meet with his advisor, Mark Kennedy, who teaches managerial decision-making and planning.
Prior and Kennedy came up with a plan. The Cubs pitcher would return after the end of the regular season and complete assignments equivalent to what he had missed in the first few weeks, essentially condensing a semester’s workload into under two months.
The assignments were “fairly tough,” says Kennedy, “but Mark did a good job and handed them in on time.”
Prior also had to write an extra term paper on marketing. Kennedy had suggested he tackle a topic he knew well: baseball. “He came up with a paper about accounting for teams with lower payrolls and how they can be financially successful. It was pretty cool,” says Kennedy.
With riches beyond any college student’s comprehension, why would Prior go through all this trouble for a piece of parchment? “You wouldn’t think I would have needed it, but getting a degree makes me feel more complete as a person,” he says.
There’s more to it that personal growth, however. Prior realizes that with the riches comes fame, and with the fame comes responsibility.
“It sounds funny when I say it, but I’m in a situation now where I’m looked up to by kids,” Prior says.
“I think professional athletes are role models, so how am I going to tell kids to stay in school if I don’t have a degree?”
Prior transferred to USC from Vanderbilt in 1999. His pitching stats as a Trojan were a prelude to his major league success. In 2001, he went 15-1, with six complete games and a 1.69 ERA. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was an astounding 11-to-1, with 202 strikeouts and 18 walks in 138.2 innings.
“He’s a guy with very unusual determination and work ethic,” says USC baseball coach Mike Gillespie, who took his team to back-to-back College World Series in the two seasons Prior played.
These days, Prior makes San Diego his winter home. He works out in the weight room Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the off-season and does his studying Sundays and Monday nights. Every Tuesday and Thursday during the fall, he makes the two-hour drive to campus.
With two courses under his belt from last year, Prior returned this fall for his three last classes. He’ll graduate in December.
“I want to have options when I’m done,” he says. “I hope I play baseball for 20 years, but I know I might not be there for 20 years.”
– Kevin Pang ’03
Bound for Success
|Photo by Michele A.H. Smith|
Cinema-TV graduate Jeff Blitz may not have set out to film the American Dream, but he found it in his documentary Spellbound.
“Congradulations, Nupur” is the enthusiastic, if ironically misspelled, marquee tribute from a Hooters Restaurant in Florida to the hometown middle-schooler who has just advanced to the prestigious National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Jeff Blitz MFA ‘97 directed the motion picture Spellbound, which tells the inspiring – and occasionally heartbreaking – stories of Nupur and seven other gifted young spellers who are preparing for the bee. One of several documentaries that have taken the country by storm over the last year, Spellbound was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature in 2002 and has won more than 15 top prizes at film festivals throughout North America.
Blitz decided to make Spellbound after watching the final rounds of the National Spelling Bee on ESPN in May 1997. “I knew that instant that it was the project I wanted to do,” says Blitz, who at the time was a graduate student in the USC School of Cinema-Television’s producing program. In the beginning, however, warmly humorous touches like the Hooters marquee moment were far from his mind.
“When we started making Spellbound, we anticipated that it was going to be a much darker film,” he recalls. “But we had to respect the reality of what we found, which was that it wasn’t so.”
Although they study to the brink of exhaustion, the spellers followed by Blitz and producer Sean Welch are not pressured or pushed into competing by demanding families. “We expected to find a lot of ‘stage parents,’ parents who had ushered their kids toward this because of some insidious motive on their part,” says Blitz. “What we really discovered was that the kids dragged their parents into it more often than not.”
The courageous competitors of Spellbound represent a mosaic of ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, and many are children of first-generation families. For them, the bee represents an opportunity to create a better life through hard work and perseverance, and their optimism and resilience make them hopeful symbols of the enduring relevance of the American Dream.
“These kids are usually self-starters whose energy and devotion are rewarded with participation in the bee, with meeting like-minded kids, and with being treated like champions, win or lose,” reflects Blitz. The spellers may be highly trained intellectual athletes, but, as Blitz emphasizes, the real competition in the bee is not “kid versus kid,” but “kid versus word.”
The same holds true for the filmmaker, who made Spellbound with help from several USC pals, including editor Yana Gorskaya MFA ’02 and recording mixer Peter Brown MFA ’95. Says Blitz, “It’s such a great thing to feel like you have a group of friends who are sharing the experience with you.”
– Jacqueline Angiuli
by David L. Wolper ’49 with David Fisher
Simon & Schuster, $30
| Any Hollywood maven who has produced both the award-winning miniseries “Roots” and the surreal children’s comedy Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is going to have a beguiling tale to tell. In his cheery and chatty memoir, David Wolper ’49 traces his rise from film distributor to TV and film producer. Along the way, he drops a veritable buffet of famous names. Tinseltown’s more absurd attributes are on abundant display: Working on a documentary about the mating habits of animals, Wolper and a co-producer grapple with how to film the simulated birth of a human baby. Hearing that stop-action animation with a doll would cost $50,000, Wolper writes, “Fifty thousand dollars! I picked up my cigar. ‘I’ve got a better idea,’ I said. ‘We’re going to use midgets. It’ll cost us five cents and nobody will know the difference.’”
Skriabin, Prokofiew, Rachmaninow
by Wojciech Kocyan DMA ’00
| ”If you pass up this disc,” warns Classics Today of this solo recording, “you’re missing a gold mine in pianist Wojciech Kocyan.” France’s Le Monde de la Musique touts the USC graduate’s “technique implacable” and “sonorité somptueuse,” while the Polish-language Hi-Fi asserts: “At the keyboard, he is a philosopher.” The Paderewski Piano Competition first prize-winner now concertizes internationally and teaches keyboard at Loyola University. In his native Poland, critics are comparing Kocyan to Richter and Ashkenazy. His new CD – a collection of sonatas and preludes by three early 20th-century Russian greats – was nominated for a 2003 Frederyk Award, the Polish equivalent of a Grammy. No surprise, really. Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed had dubbed him “a rapt, astonishing performer” back in 1997, after a USC performance of Górecki’s preludes.
A Season in Photos
Spring Foward, Fall Forward
|Lights, Camera, Alumni
At its 25th annual Alumni Awards and Scholarship Benefit Dinner in April, the Black Alumni Association presented a record-breaking 76 scholarship awards and raised more than $170,000. Enjoying a moment in front of the camera are, from left, director/ screenwriter Reggie Hudlin; USCBAA’s 2003 Alumnus of the Year, entertainment attorney Stephen Barnes ’78; and producer/director John Singleton ’90.
Photo by Leroy Hamilton
“All the meaningful lessons I’ve learned through life came either from personal experience – which was usually painful – or were shared with me by a caring parent, teacher, mentor or coach,” John Naber ’77 told graduates at Pepperdine University’s Seaver College commencement ceremony in April. Naber, who won four gold medals and a silver at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, encouraged the class of 2003 to “celebrate a life of purpose and productivity together with those that love you the most.” The university presented Naber with its highest honor, a Doctor of Laws degree.
Photo by Ron Hall
|A Texas-Sized SCend Off
The USC Alumni Club of North Texas hosted its annual SCend Off in July to welcome new freshman and their parents to the Trojan Family. Dean Joseph Aoun of the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences spoke about undergraduate education at USC during the keynote address. Pictured, USC freshmen from the Longhorn State meet with Dean Aoun (center, in cowboy hat), at the Arlington home of Mr. and Mrs. Thad Smotherman, whose daughter, Hillary, graduated from USC in 2002.
Photo by James Jester
|Pinning Them Down
C.R. Roberts ’58 pins an incoming freshman at the third annual Welcome to the Trojan Family Celebration, held adjacent to the Alumni House in August. The event, sponsored by the USC Black Alumni Association, provided new students and their parents the opportunity to connect with alumni, graduate students, faculty and student campus leaders.
Photo by Adam Hawley
|The Kindest Cut
Provost Lloyd Armstrong, Jr., Gabilan Foundation representative Betty Thysen ’37, President Steven B. Sample and Marilyn Flynn, dean of the School of Social Work, prepare to unveil USC’s new Social Work Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in August. “World-class facilities attract world-class faculty,” President Sample told the 300 students, faculty and alumni in attendance. The 14,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will serve doctoral and master’s students at the school, ranked eighth of 740 social work programs nationwide by U.S. News and World Report.
Photo by Amy Tierney, Lee Salem Photography
|Of Might and Men
Alumni from all over the country kicked off the 2003 USC football season in style at the “Southern Comfort Weekender” sponsored by the USC Alumni Club of Georgia. More than 4,000 Trojans attended the game against Auburn in late August and were rewarded with a resounding 23-0 victory from the 2003 Orange Bowl champs.
|Club leaders arranged a full weekend of activities for traveling Trojans, including a Friday night pep rally, a Saturday picnic and tailgate and a celebratory Sunday champagne brunch.
Photos by Dan Avila
|Have Traveler, Will Travel
A week after the Auburn game, fans cheered the season’s inaugural appearance of Traveler, the university’s fabled all-white equine mascot, at the Coliseum home opener in early September. USC held off a late threat from Brigham Young University and won the game, 35-18. This fall, equestrian manager Joanne Asman assumed the responsibilities of training and housing Traveler, taking over the reins from Patricia Saukko DeBernardi, who retired from the mascot program at the end of the 2002 football season. Pat Saukko is the widow of original Traveler rider and owner Richard Saukko, who made his debut astride Traveler in 1961.
In mid-September, the Student Administrative Services building on Childs Way was renamed Hubbard Hall in honor of John R. Hubbard, the university’s eighth president. Morning fog gave way to brilliant afternoon sunshine in time for the dedication, which opened with a performance by members of the USC Trojan Marching Band. “From attracting prestigious faculty and generous endowments, to raising the university’s standards of academic achievement, both as an administrator and a professor, Dr. John R. Hubbard deserves much credit for USC’s ascent into the top ranks of America’s elite research universities,” said President Steven B. Sample in introducing the day’s honoree. Hubbard then spoke of the debt he owed his parents for “keeping me on the straight and narrow academic path.”
Photo by Meaghan Agnew
|Weather or Not
To celebrate KABC–TV’s “College Week,” weatherman Garth Kemp took his show on the road to area universities, including USC, broadcasting during the morning news and “Good Morning America.” The 5 a.m. call didn’t dampen the Trojan spirit, as 75 students representing Army ROTC, the USC Song Leaders, Parkside International Residential College and Naval ROTC showed up in the chilly late-September dawn to cheer, holler and wave banners and pompoms. Kemp was game for all high jinks, delivering his forecast from the bottom row of a human pyramid and from a perch at Tommy Trojan’s feet, having climbed the statue with barely a boost.
Photo by Elaine Lapriore
More stories about: Commencement 2003