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Robert Rollo: “USC has always been a part of my family’s life and my life. It’s just a natural thing.”

photograph by Michelle Smith

Natural Selections
If anyone has kept the connection, it’s the incoming USC Alumni Association president Robert Rollo ’69, MBA ’70.

“I just love this place,” says Robert Rollo, smiling broadly and gesturing to the campus surrounding Alumni House, when asked why he agreed to serve as president of the USC Alumni Association.

“USC has always been a part of my family’s life and my life. It’s just a natural thing,” adds Rollo, who received his BS with honors in business in 1969 and his MBA in 1970, and today is a managing partner of the executive search firm TMP Worldwide. Rollo’s parents – Wesley Rollo ’40 and Betty Stone Rollo ’42 – met at USC and his wife, Kimberlee, has three degrees from USC – BS ’71, MEd ’75 and MPI ’91. Sister Carol graduated in 1966 with a BA in history, and his father-in-law, Robert Dockson MA ’40, PhD ’46, was dean of the USC Marshall School of Business. Son Robert is an alumnus (class of ’98) and his other three college-age children – Jonathan, Vanderbilt ’01; Katheryn, Connecticut College ’03; and Patrick, U.S. Naval Academy ’05 – are, explains Rollo, “Trojans at heart.”

It’s thus no surprise that one of Rollo’s goals as Alumni Association president is to help recruit as many SCions – children or grandchildren of Trojans – as possible to USC. He calls them the “best and brightest of our legacies. SCions now represent 20 percent of the freshman class. In 1990 the percentage was less than 10 percent.”

The number of alumni clubs in the United States has doubled to 58, which Rollo considers an important achievement. “We’ve done a good job of creating more clubs,” he says, “but there are still parts of the world where alumni live in significant numbers but do not have a connection to USC. In addition to enhancing the benefits available to them as alumni, we want to attract top students from around the country and the world through the recruiting efforts of our alumni.”

He’s also hoping to increase opportunities for fellow alums to become involved with the university here on campus. “We have a top-flight Parents’ Weekend, for example,” he says, “but I believe it can be improved.” Plans for a “more consistent reunion program” are also on the agenda. And Trojan Travel is in Rollo’s sights as well. “As with all of the Alumni Association’s programs, we want our trips to offer something that alumni could not get anywhere else – trips with faculty or alumni experts on a certain site or topic, for instance.”

Rollo’s alumni involvement isn’t the only experience he brings to his presidency. His professional career – 20 years in the executive search field – gives him an interest in career development and distance learning. TMP Worldwide, Inc. is the leading provider of global recruitment solutions, including the dominant Internet career portal ( and the world’s largest recruitment advertising network.

“We want the Alumni Association to be a resource for an educated person throughout the cycle of his or her life,” says Rollo. “Ongoing assistance with career planning, job opportunities and new distance learning technology are certainly an important part of the lives of alumni.” The association has developed a partnership with the Career Planning and Placement Center to provide career services to alumni.

Rollo credits his predecessors for the Alumni Association’s current achievements and for laying a foundation on which he and future presidents can build. The association is in the second year of a new strategic plan designed to dramatically restructure alumni relations at USC, in response to a charge from USC President Steven B. Sample to make the association more inclusive and responsive to alumni.

“The Alumni Association now embraces all USC alumni, eliminating the former requirement of paid membership,” Rollo says. “We’re focusing much of our effort on our online presence, an online directory, lifetime e-mail forwarding addresses, working to fulfill our mission of reaching out to engage and support all alumni, lifelong and worldwide.”

Campaign Watch

Thanks to continued strong support from the Trojan Family, USC’s Building on Excellence campaign total exceeded $1.86 billion as of March 31. The university is fast closing in on its goal of raising $2 billion by the end of 2002. Among recent gifts to the campaign are:
• The Therese Kerze-Cheyovich trust has given $1.25 million to endow a scholarship for international students in the USC Thornton School of Music.
• Ronald H. Bloom ’55, who has supported a wide range of projects and programs at USC (including the beloved Bloom Walk), has pledged $1 million to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to support the new campus events center.
• Wayne G. Bemis DDS ’63 and his wife, Margaret (Peggy), have pledged $750,000 to establish the Wayne G. and Margaret L. Bemis Endowed Professorship in Endodontics at the USC School of Dentistry.
• Mr. and Mrs. Herbert V. Nootbaar gave more than $700,000 to USC to help support student-musicians in the university’s world-famous marching band through the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Marching Band Scholarship Fund.
• Louis Galen LLB ’51 and his wife, Helene, have given the USC School of Fine Arts $300,000 to create the Helene and Louis Galen Ceramics Studio and Endowment.
• Keyshawn Johnson ’96, former USC football star who now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has given $125,000 to help renovate the Trojan football locker room.

Generous ‘Thank You’

Since Joseph Aresty was cured at the USC/Norris Cancer Center, he and his wife Catherine have continued to help others.

Joseph Aresty came to the USC/Norris Cancer Center in 1994 hoping that Donald G. Skinner could rid him of cancer. Skinner, chair of the Department of Urology in the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and his colleagues did their work.

In gratitude, Aresty and his wife, Catherine, gave the USC/ Norris $2.5 million two years later, then another $3 million in 1998. Now they have given $5 million to construct a floor devoted to urological cancer research within the future Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower. In recognition of their support of more than $10 million, the urology department has been renamed the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology. This designation, said Bill Watson, director of development at USC/Norris, reflects the powerful impact that the Arestys’ philanthropy has made on the university’s leadership in urologic treatment and research.

Of the gifts he and his wife have made, Aresty said, “My hope was that these sums would, in some way, help future patients afflicted with urologic malignancies, and that research would someday conquer this dreadful disease.”

“There is a great joy in giving,” he added. “I am very thankful for what Dr. Skinner and the center have done for me and overjoyed that Catherine and I are able to participate in this new endeavor.

“Dr. Skinner is very well known on the East Coast. I consulted with many doctors, and they all pointed me in his direction.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Aresty have been extremely generous,” said Skinner, who holds the Hanson-White Chair in Medical Research at USC. “They came to us seeking a better quality of life and then asked what they could do to help support a better quality of life for other patients.”

Giving for the Greatest Good

If one quality characterizes Wallis Annenberg’s philanthropy, it is her passion for support that will produce the greatest possible benefit. Her recent gifts to the university, totaling $11.5 million, demonstrate this, ranging across the USC Community Mobile Dental Van, the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, USC’s Summer Seminars and the USC Annenberg School for Communication. Vice president of the Annenberg Foundation and former West Coast editor of TV Guide, Annenberg – a USC trustee since 1971 and the youngest person ever to serve on the university’s board – has long encouraged USC programs. Through the foundation established by her father – publisher, broadcaster, diplomat and philanthropist Walter Annenberg – she has directed grants to USC for scholarships for women over 35 and support for visiting scholars to use USC’s Special Collections.

“Wallis’ dedication to helping others is an inspiration to us all,” says President Steven B. Sample. “Through her visionary efforts, she has given hundreds of people the opportunity to gain an education, to become leaders of their communities, and to achieve personal and professional success. It is with great pride that we count her as a member of the Trojan Family.”

Black Alumni Celebrate 25 Years

Actor William Allen Young ’80 (left), poses with USC Black Alumni Association president Monique Hunter-Dennis ’79 and filmmaker John Singleton ’90 at the BAA Alumni Awards and Scholarship Benefit. Young was master of ceremonies and Singleton was honorary chairperson of the event, which marked the 25th anniversary of the association. The black-tie event attracted more than 600 alumni, friends and family and raised an unprecedented $150,000 in scholarship funds. Since 1976, more than $700,000 has been awarded to black undergraduate and graduate students attending USC.

TLOC Benefits Humanities Initiative

Participating in Trojan League of Orange County’s annual benefit in April were, from left, Sarah Pratt, dean of curriculum in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Joseph Aoun, dean of the College; Mary Richardson, president of TLOC; and Nancy Helm, benefit chairman. Proceeds were directed to the Humanities Initiative in the College, and the program featured faculty from the departments of English, Italian and history and spanned the ages from Renaissance Italy to poetry and literature of the 21st century.

Topping Dinner Supports Cancer Research

Attending the annual Norman Topping Dinner last April were, from left: USC/Norris oncologist James Waisman, actress Barbara Eden, cancer survivor Eileen Garcia, and this year’s Topping Dinner joint honorees, Henrietta C. Lee and Melvin J. Silverstein, director of the USC/Norris Lee Breast Center. The event raised more than $1 million for USC cancer research.

Town and Gown Honors Bartner

Town and Gown of USC’s annual spring scholarship luncheon honored Art Bartner (left), director of the USC Trojan Marching Band. With him are (from left) guest soloist Dale Kristien, Evelyn Brunkow with her daughter Kathryn Sample and USC President Steven B. Sample. The major goal of Town and Gown’s Benefit is raising money for its scholarship program, which has grown from $124,000 in 1979 to more than $900,000 for the academic year 2000-01, and to more than $1 million for the year 2001-02.

Hall of Fame Who’s Who

Twenty-two Trojan sports luminaries, including former football player Brad Budde, pictured with Frank Gifford and Marcus Allen, were inducted into the fifth class of USC’s Athletic Hall of Fame at a gala black-tie dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena last May. The Hall of Famers, who will have commemorative plaques installed at Heritage Hall, were selected by a 75-member panel consisting of media and USC alumni and athletic department supporters.

Swim With Mike at 21

The Gerald and Betty Ford “People Helping People” award winner Jason Sehorn ’93, with fiancée Angie Harmon, listens to scholarship recipients Nick Enriquez and John Siciliano at the 21st Annual Swim With Mike. This year’s event raised $400,000 to benefit USC’s Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund.

USC Alumni Awards 2001

1. Patrick C. Haden ’75

USC President Steven B. Sample (left) and J.K. McKay ’75 present the Asa V. Call Award, the university’s highest alumni honor, to Pat Haden (center), a general partner in the private equity investment firm of Riordan, Lewis & Haden. A star quarterback at USC and a Rhodes Scholar, Haden has been on the USC Board of Trustees since 1991.

2. Richard W. Cook ’72 and Richard J. Riordan

Dinner Committee chairs Dick Cook and Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan welcomed guests to the gala celebration at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.

3. Awards of Merit

Drew Pinsky MD ’84 (left), Frances Wu DSW ’74 and Jeffrey J. Miller ’72, MBA ’73 were given Alumni Merit Awards for their professional accomplishments. As radio and TV’s “Dr. Drew,” Pinsky counsels millions of young adults through his show “Loveline.” Wu founded the Chinese-American Golden Age Association and Golden Age Village, serving elderly Chinese in Southern California. Miller is a Pasadena investment counselor and major supporter of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, endowing a chair and a forum to address the economic impact of public policies.

4. Kathryn A. Sample

Robert S. Rollo ’69, MBA ’70, president-elect of the USC Alumni Association, names Kathryn Sample an honorary alumna of USC in recognition of her decade of service to the university.

5. Thomas C. Halvorsen EdD ’80

Associate vice president for alumni relations Judith Blumenthal MBA ’84, PhD ’88 presents an Alumni Service Award to Tom Halvorsen in recognition of his extensive service to the USC Rossier School of Education, where he has served in
virtually every volunteer position.

6. Michele Engemann ’68

USC Alumni Association president David F. Brubaker ’67, MBA ’68 presents an Alumni Service Award to Michele Engemann, recognizing her active volunteer support, including service as president of Trojan League of Los Angeles and membership in Town & Gown, the USC School of Theatre Board of Councilors and USC Associates.

7. William C. Allen ’79

Judith Blumenthal presents an Alumni Service Award to Bill Allen, recognizing his past presidency of the USC Alumni Association, including his contributions to the Strategic Plan, and his long service to the USC School of Cinema-Television.

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