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A night of recognition for USC’s volunteers

The event’s hosts Patrick Auerbach (far left) and Ramona Cappello (far right) with the six President's Award honorees (Photo/Armando Brown)

The USC Alumni Association paid homage to the global network of Trojan Family volunteers at its annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner on Sept. 19. USC trustees, senior administrators and academic deans were among the nearly 550 attendees at the sold-out event.

Held at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom, the event was co-hosted by Ramona Cappello ’81, president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors, and Patrick Auerbach EdD ’08, associate senior vice president for alumni relations, and featured remarks by Senior Vice President for University Advancement Al Checcio.

In his opening remarks, Auerbach called the Volunteer Recognition Dinner “one of the highlights of the entire year, when we bring together outstanding and dedicated volunteers from across the university who do it all — from mentoring students to organizing events, to raising money, providing sage counsel and advocating on behalf of USC.”

Six Trojans were honored with President’s Awards in recognition of their leadership, service, achievement and overall contributions to USC:

• Modesta Bassity MA ’73, a longtime member of the Alumnae Coordinating Council, Town and Gown of USC, and Trojan Guild of Los Angeles

• Gregory Hillgren ’76, MBA ’77, co-chair of the USC Marshall School of Business Campaign Initiative Committee and a member of the school’s Board of Leaders

• Rod Nakamoto ’83, MBA ’94, immediate past president of the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association and a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors

• Kathryn Shirley MBT ’97, chair of both the USC Black Alumni Association’s Advisory Council and its Recruitment and Retention Committee

• Robert Skinner ’85, JD ’90, chair of the USC Gould School of Law Board of Councilors and a past member of his law school class reunion committee

• Linda Ward ’71, MA ’74, president of the Trojan Club of the Desert, a member of the Trojan League Associates of the Desert and a dedicated supporter of USC Athletics

In recognition of their efforts to engage alumni and foster philanthropy, QSAD Centurion and the USC Alumni Club of North Texas received Volunteer Organization of the Year Awards.

Founded in 1958, QSAD Centurion, the support group for the USC School of Pharmacy, has raised more than a million dollars for the school and continues to play a pivotal role in maintaining the school’s reputation as an internationally recognized center of pharmacy education.

The USC Alumni Club of North Texas, serving Trojans in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, has been a standout for raising scholarship funds and connecting Trojans in a region far from Southern California.

Cynthia Wiese ’96, executive assistant to USC Trojan Marching Band Director Arthur Bartner, received the Volunteer Friend of the Year Award, which is given to a USC faculty or staff member in recognition of outstanding support for alumni volunteers. In addition, a total of 35 USC volunteers went home with Widney Alumni House Awards for their loyalty, support and dedication to the university and the community.

The evening’s most poignant moment came in form of a tribute to USC Trustee Barbara Rossier MS ’62, EdD ’71, namesake of the USC Rossier School of Education, who died Aug. 11. Fellow trustee and immediate past president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors Mitchell Lew ’83, MD ’87 remembered Rossier as “an inspiring leader, a devoted Trojan, a valued mentor, and a loyal and caring friend.”

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A night of recognition for USC’s volunteers

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