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Town and Gown of USC celebrates historic restoration

USC first lady Niki C. Nikias, front row, celebrates the restoration of Town & Gown's gardens, patio and walkways with "Women of Distinction." (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

The members of Town and Gown of USC, the university’s oldest women’s organization, celebrated the restoration of the garden, patio and walkways of the historic Town & Gown building — made possible by their $1 million Legacy Gift — on Oct. 1.

USC first lady Niki C. Nikias welcomed university trustees, senior administrators, academic deans, alumni leaders and USC supporters to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which also featured remarks by Senior Vice President for University Advancement Al Checcio and Town and Gown of USC President Carol Mollett.

“For nearly 80 years, Town & Gown has provided the elegant backdrop for some of the most memorable events in the history of the university and the Trojan Family,” Checcio said. “And now, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of one of our most revered campus organizations, it will continue to serve that role for generations to come.”

Mollett shared a bit of history about the patio’s Court of Recognition, which honors Town and Gown of USC members who have contributed to the preservation and upkeep of the University Park Campus landmark. She then introduced this year’s inductees: university trustees Wallis Annenberg (who was unable to attend), Verna Dauterive ’49, EdD ’66 and Michele Dedeaux Engemann ’68; university benefactors Dana Dornsife, Harlyne J. Norris, Gayle Garner Roski and Nadine Tilley; First Lady Emerita Kathryn Sample; and posthumous inductees Helen Dedeaux and Barbara Rossier MS ’62, EdD ’71.

These “Women of Distinction,” along with Elaine Otter Leventhal MLA ’89, namesake of the USC Elaine and Kenneth Leventhal School of Accounting and past Court of Recognition inductee, talked about their philanthropic commitment to the university during a luncheon panel discussion moderated by KCAL/CBS2 reporter and new Town and Gown of USC member Michele Gile.

The day’s festivities were especially gratifying for Jane Bensussen MA ’69, Town and Gown of USC’s Legacy Campaign chairwoman.

“My appreciation for the glorious building, plus my love of gardening, prompted me to step forward and lead the campaign,” she said. “I encourage all of our members to catch the spirit of our ‘legacy’ and make a gift to celebrate our majestic namesake.”

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Town and Gown of USC celebrates historic restoration

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