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Half Century Trojans Still Fighting On

Half Century Trojans Still Fighting On
2011 Half Century Trojan Luncheon honorees, from left, Millie Farnsworth, Sammy Lee and Verna Dauterive

Several generations of Trojans gathered in the spirit of “honoring the past, celebrating the present and building the future” at the 2011 Half Century Trojans Luncheon on Oct. 28.

Half Century Trojans president Terry Pearson ’53 and USC Alumni Association chief executive officer Scott M. Mory shared the dais at Town & Gown, where USC’s senior alumni group welcomed its newest members: the Class of 1961, which will celebrate their 50th reunion during Homecoming.

Al Checcio, senior vice president for University Advancement, called the Half Century Trojans “the custodians of the USC history and legacy of which we are all so proud.” Among the members of Checcio’s audience was Fred Keenan ’37, the senior-most member of the Half Century Trojans at the event.

Speaking of building the future – literally – keynote speaker Kristina Raspe MCM ’08, MRED ’09, USC vice president for real estate development and asset management, discussed the ongoing development and enhancement of USC. Her presentation on the ambitious redevelopment plans for University Village was a highlight of the luncheon.

Following Raspe’s keynote, the Half Century Trojans paid tribute to three USC alums whose devotion to their alma mater is matched by their accomplishments.

Distinguished Service Award honoree Millie Farnsworth ’46 was the first woman captain of the USC Trojan Debate Squad. Half Century Trojans Hall of Fame honoree Verna Dauterive ME ’49, EdD ’66 pledged the largest gift ever made by an African American to a U.S. institution of higher learning – $25 million to USC in 2008. And fellow Hall of Fame honoree Sammy Lee MD ’47 was the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States. Lee won the men’s 10-meter platform diving competition at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.

Here’s what each had to say about being recognized by their fellow Half Century Trojans.

Millie Farnsworth
Distinguished Service Award
Presented by Half Century Trojans president-elect Dann Angeloff ’58

“Each time I have stepped on the campus since my graduation, for a micro-second of time, I have seen it as it appeared the first time I came here as a freshman in 1942. That vision is quickly joined by a strong feeling of affection and appreciation for all that the university has given me. So, as I think of the term “service,” for me, it will always be associated with the words ‘love’ and ‘respect.’

“After today, that special moment will have company. Each time I step into Town & Gown, I will see it as I do right now, filled with wonderful members of the Trojan Family and friends.”

Verna Dauterive
Half Century Trojans Hall of Fame Award
Presented by USC Rossier School of Education dean Karen Symms Gallagher

“I must say that my first reaction to receiving this particular honor was to laugh at myself! A half-century! It was almost as if I was being rewarded just for making it this far. You should call it the Methuselah Award. But I really am proud and honored to have been a part of the university’s life for so many years.

“The university has been my best opportunity – many people’s best opportunity – to have a real, tangible impact on the world. It was the best opportunity for me to get involved, to make a difference and to reach back to help others on my journey. In other words, it was the best opportunity to change myself and to change the world. So I took it and ran with it. And here I am today.”

Sammy Lee
Half Century Trojans Hall of Fame Award
Presented by USC head diving coach Hongping Li ’89

“You are looking at the oldest Olympic gold medalist. I turned 91 in August. Next year I hope to go to the 2012 Olympics in London, the city where I won my first gold for the 10-meter platform and bronze for the 3-meter springboard.

“When I was in USC medical school, the pool was only two blocks away, so I would dive during lunch. When I did poorly on exams, I would dive away my depressions. I shocked the world when I became the first nonwhite diver to win an Olympic gold.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my fellow Trojans who pursue life with three R’s: respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for your actions.”

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