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President’s Leadership Circle gala celebrates Trojan generosity

The Nikiases open their home to employees who went above and beyond during 2013 Good Neighbors Campaign

President's Leadership Circle Dinner
The President's Leadership Circle dinner united last year's top Good Neighbors Campaign donors. (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

USC President C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias welcomed the President’s Leadership Circle — the most generous employee donors to the 2013 USC Good Neighbors Campaign — to a celebratory dinner at their San Marino home.

Now in its 20th year, the President’s Leadership Circle is a group of employees who have pledged 1 percent or more of their salaries to the previous year’s Good Neighbors Campaign, the university’s annual fundraiser in support of university-community partnerships.

“You embody all that is excellent about USC and about our continued commitment to our surrounding communities,” Nikias told the donors.

“Your support helps provide medical services and cultural enrichment as well as educational opportunities for young students … students who might otherwise not have access to life-changing, life-enhancing experiences.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Good Neighbors Campaign, which supports programs in the neighborhoods surrounding the University Park and Health Science campuses.

Last year, more than 500 employees contributed a total of $700,000 toward the record-setting tally of $1.7 million. This year’s campaign begins on Oct. 1.

Over the years, the campaign has raised more than $17.7 million — with 100 percent of proceeds funding 600 community partnerships, including the Neighborhood Academic Initiative, FitFamilies and the USC Thornton Outreach Program.

Nikias encouraged donors to raise the overall total to $19.7 million.

“I hope you will share your enthusiasm for the Good Neighbors Campaign with others and help us achieve this year’s goal, which is more ambitious than ever, in recognition of our 20th anniversary: $2 million for 20 years.”

Expressing thanks

Vince Womack, music director at Foshay Learning Center, one of the USC Family of Schools, and leader of the USC Thornton Outreach Program, thanked the donors for their generosity.

“From us at the Foshay Learning Center, from our music program, from me as a teacher, thank you,” he said. “You have created more than programs; you have created life-altering opportunities for excellence which have consequently fostered the arts and education in our community.”

For leadership circle member Jim Moore, vice dean at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, increasing his percentage and encouraging others to do the same is part of being a Trojan.

“I live near the UPC campus and see firsthand the strength, safety and access that the Good Neighbor Campaign provides to children and families. So I take it upon myself to do what I can to support more programs.”

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President’s Leadership Circle gala celebrates Trojan generosity

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