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After 50 years as USC’s man of many hats, Alan Kreditor will retire

Over five decades, the administrator and professor has taught, raised millions and made USC Price his beloved home

Alan Kreditor and President Nikias
Alan Kreditor receives the Guardian Award for Vision and Leadership in 2009. (Photo/Tom Queally)

At the end of this semester, Alan Kreditor takes leave of the beloved university he has shepherded, shaped and served for literally half a century.

The position Kreditor retires from is professor of planning and development at the USC Price School of Public Policy. But he’s worn many other hats over the five decades of his extraordinary tenure.

He joined the USC faculty in 1966, a young city planner working as a United Nations adviser to the Irish government and teaching at Trinity College. Leaving Dublin for Los Angeles, Kreditor little imagined he’d spend the rest of his life here.

“But I fell in love with Southern California,” said the longtime San Marino resident, who turns 80 next month. “I’ve been every place, and I assure you, there’s no place better.”

Setting a foundation

Educated at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert in real estate, urban planning and design, Kreditor went on to be dean of the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development — one of the precursory schools to today’s USC Price. Established in 1974, SPPD was the first independent school of its kind in the nation.

Kreditor’s USC legacy also includes the 1988 creation of the Lusk Center for Real Estate, a national hub for real estate research and professional education. As the center’s executive director, Kreditor held the Lusk Chair in Real Estate Development.

In 1992, Kreditor left the policy dean’s office for a corner suite in Bovard Administration and the new title of senior vice president for university advancement. In that role, he oversaw the late President Steven B. Sample’s landmark Building on Excellence campaign.

A ‘heady experience’

When the nine-year campaign concluded in 2002, it had raised $2.85 billion — nearly triple its original $1 billion goal. Under Kreditor’s stewardship, USC was the first university in the country to receive five donations of $100 million or more. Hailed the most successful capital campaign in the history of American higher education, Building on Excellence established USC as a fundraising maverick.

“My fundraising job was a pretty heady experience,” Kreditor said. “I had this feeling that I was going to be helping the university make progress.”

Looking back at his time here with a perspective of 50 years, he reckons, “we’ve really matured.”

After 16 years as USC’s chief fundraiser, Kreditor returned in 2008 to the USC Price faculty — the position he will now leave, assuming emeritus status.

“It’s been a nice finale for me these last few years — bringing me back to where I originally started, as a teacher,” he said. “I really enjoy the students.”

What now?

In retirement, Kreditor intends to stay busy with the numerous boards and committees on which he serves, including the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC. He points to the IACS president, the Rev. James Heft, as a spiritual adviser and major influence in his life.

Kreditor and his wife, Marcia MS ’69, raised four children — all of them Trojans. They have seven grandchildren, including two current USC students and one graduating in the Class of 2016.

USC Price has prepared a special website paying tribute to Kreditor’s 50-year legacy at USC.

A farewell celebration, hosted by President C. L. Max Nikias and USC Price Dean Jack H. Knott, is planned for Wednesday afternoon.

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After 50 years as USC’s man of many hats, Alan Kreditor will retire

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