Generations of student-athletes have firmly established USC’s reputation as a collegiate athletic powerhouse. These exceptional USC alumni know firsthand the value of academic excellence and the thrill of school pride, and it’s no surprise that many are among the university’s most dedicated supporters. Meet two Trojans who are proud to give back to the programs that put them on the path to success.
David Kirtman ’05
As a high school tailback from outside Seattle, Kirtman was expected to land at the University of Washington. Intrigued by USC’s strong business school and network, however, he paid USC a visit. “The campus, palm trees, weather and people just felt right,” he remembers.
Soon, Kirtman was enrolled as a business major and wore a No. 37 jersey as a Trojan fullback. After graduation, his NFL career included stints with the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints. In 2010, he started a new chapter in finance. He is a wealth manager for JP Morgan Private Bank near Seattle.
As a former athlete, he recognizes the character-building opportunities that sports can offer beyond the playing field. He sees USC Athletics as a place to develop not only leadership but also soft and interpersonal skills. “In this age of technology, texting and social media, our interpersonal skills are growing weaker,” he says. “Yet, they make the difference between getting opportunities, jobs and promotions.”
Over the years, Kirtman’s dedication to USC has remained steadfast. He has supported USC Marshall School of Business, the athletic program and the USC Alumni Association, and he hopes to continue giving back to the programs that did so much for him.
“As alumni, there’s so much power in our USC network,” he says. “It’s our responsibility to grow and sustain that network, helping the people we care about.”
Jennifer Biehn ’95
Like Kirtman, avid golfer Jennifer Biehn ’95 opted to move away from home — she grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona — to attend USC on an athletic scholarship. As a freshman, Biehn recognized the ideal situation she was in. “Having someone pay for my education so I could play golf and go to school — what a blessing that was. Plus, I graduated with no student debt,” says Biehn, the 1994 Pac-10 individual champion.
The communications major now lives in Denver, where she’s a partner at Odgers Berndtson in the division for higher education and sports practice. She’s maintained close ties with USC’s golf program, lending her efforts to events like the Lynn Swann Golf Classic and the USC Alumni Association’s 20-year reunion committee. She credits coach Renee Baumgartner for instilling a guiding principle in her life: “She taught me about accountability.”
To that end, Biehn hopes to repay USC — literally. “There’s a point of pride in giving to USC,” she says. “My goal is to eventually pay my scholarship back.”
Another part of that accountability is helping talented young Trojans experience the opportunities she had as a student-athlete. “I want to wholeheartedly look back at my alma mater and say, ‘Wow, this place is even more amazing than when I left it.’”