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Caldwell family continues legacy of neighborhood scholarships

The USC Retired Faculty Association (RFA) Board of Directors hosted its new and returning Caldwell Neighborhood Scholars at a luncheon on Sept. 13. The scholarship, founded by the late USC Professor Russell Caldwell, supports deserving students who have graduated from high schools in USC neighborhoods. The RFA has maintained this program since Caldwell’s death in 1979.

Two new supporters, Carol Caldwell-Hankey, granddaughter of the program’s founder, and her husband, Eric, both USC alumni, praised the program’s long-term success.

“I was just 6 years old when my grandfather died,” Caldwell-Hankey said, “and did not know about the program named in his honor. When my father, USC graduate Stan Caldwell, died last November, I found information about the scholarship among his papers and decided I needed to get involved to help carry on my grandfather’s legacy.”

In its 48th year, the RFA/USC Caldwell Neighborhood Scholarship program is funded through partnerships between USC retired faculty and staff and the Financial Aid Office. The first award for $549 was granted in 1967 and renewed for a full four years. The current four-year award is $3,000 every year for each of eight scholarship winners. To date, nearly 400 students have received more than $1 million.

The RFA board hosts two annual scholarship luncheons. The first event in the spring encourages interaction among the scholars themselves and with board members. At the second luncheon, the recipients share their USC experiences. The fall luncheon featured an address by RFA President Bill Petak, with introductions from Kaaren Hoffman and Victor Marshall Webb, RFA board members and co-Caldwell Scholarship program chairs.

Also attending the recent luncheon were Martin Levine, vice provost and senior adviser to the provost; Beth Meyerowitz, vice provost for faculty affairs; Craig Keys, associate senior vice president for Civic Engagement; Thomas McWhorter, dean of Financial Aid; Claude Zachary, director of USC Archives; Theda Douglas, associate vice president, Government Partnerships and Programs; and Janette Brown, USC Emeriti Center executive director.

“I speak for all the Caldwell Scholars that our experience at USC would not have been the same without RFA and [the] Financial Aid Office support and mentoring,” said Pablo Escobar, a senior majoring in psychology. “Thank you.”

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Caldwell family continues legacy of neighborhood scholarships

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