Trojan friends and supporters gathered in April to toast nine notable leaders at the 85th Annual USC Alumni Awards gala. The event spotlights alumni whose achievements and dedication have brought honor and distinction to USC.
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ASA V. CALL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The university’s highest alumni honor recognizes exceptional commitment to the university.
William McMorrow ’69, MBA ’70
Chairman and CEO, Kennedy Wilson
Under his leadership at Kennedy Wilson, USC Trustee William McMorrow has grown one office with 11 employees into a global real estate company with 25 offices around the world. At USC, he has endowed the Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative and the William J. McMorrow Global Real Estate Program at the USC Marshall School of Business. He helped launch the Performance Science Institute and serves on the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate’s executive board. His philanthropic efforts include positions on the Navy SEAL Foundation’s board of trustees and Loyola High School’s board of regents.
ALUMNI MERIT AWARD
This award celebrates remarkable accomplishments that reflect the range and quality of a USC education.
Carmen Nava ’84
Former senior vice president, AT&T Entertainment Group
Prior to her retirement last year, USC Trustee Carmen Nava served for 33 years at AT&T in leadership roles across departments including sales and customer service. Nava served on multiple advisory boards for the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. She has been a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, and is currently on the corporate advisory board of the USC Latino Alumni Association (LAA). A former scholarship recipient, she has been a steadfast supporter of LAA scholarship programs that enable Latino students to attend USC.
Carol Gomez Summerhays DDS ’78
Past president, American Dental Association
Carol Gomez Summerhays served as the first Filipina-American and fourth female president of the American Dental Association. Summerhays has dedicated her career to building diversity within a traditionally male-dominated field, promoting volunteerism and working to improve oral health for the underserved. She started her career as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps, then opened a private practice in San Diego. Her many professional honors include a U.S. Congressional Record commendation and an Ellis Island Medal for her service to the United States.
Kevin Tsujihara ’86
Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros.
Entertainment Kevin Tsujihara oversees worldwide operations, including the production, marketing and distribution of film, television and video games, for Warner Bros. and is the first Asian-American to head a major motion picture studio. A member of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ board of councilors, Tsujihara also serves on the American Film Institute’s board of trustees, the Motion Picture Association of America’s board of directors and the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ advisory council.
YOUNG ALUMNI MERIT AWARD
This honor recognizes achievements of an alumnus or alumna aged 35 or younger.
Ryan Coogler MFA ’11
Ryan Coogler made cinematic history with the release of his third film, the critically acclaimed blockbuster Black Panther, the highest-grossing film helmed by an African-American director. Coogler’s first feature film, Fruitvale Station, won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards. His second, Creed, a sequel to the classic Rocky series of films, earned him the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s New Generation Award. In 2016, Time magazine named Coogler one of the year’s “100 Most Influential People.”
ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD
This distinction honors alumni’s outstanding volunteering efforts in service to the university.
Bob Padgett ’67
Past president, USC Alumni Association Board of Governors
Throughout his career and during his retirement, former USC Trustee Bob Padgett has volunteered his medical services to several organizations. He served as ship’s surgeon for the World Campus Afloat program in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Asia. Padgett also gave his time to the Flying Doctors of Mercy program. The USC Black Alumni Association presented Padgett with its President’s Award in 2005, and he has served on the boards of several USC organizations, including USC Associates, USC Athletics and the USC Women of Troy.
Valerie Gumbiner Weiss ’74, MPA ’81
Past chairman, Alumnae Coordinating Council
Longtime volunteer Valerie Gumbiner Weiss has dedicated countless hours to the Trojan Family. A member of the Trojan Affiliates since 1981, she also is a member of Town & Gown of USC and co-chaired the group’s 2009 benefit gala. In 2002, Weiss was named chair of the university’s Alumnae Coordinating Council. She also has served as president of both the Intersorority Parents Council and the Alpha Delta Pi Parents Club. Previously, Weiss worked at the USC Marshall School of Business as a graduate admissions officer, registrar and coordinator of the MBA Alumni Association.
Recipients of this special award receive honorary alumni status for extraordinary dedication and service to the university.
Bruce and Madeline Ramer
Steadfast USC supporters
Bruce and Madeline Ramer are dedicated ambassadors and supporters of USC who contribute their time, energy and expertise to several university boards and organizations. A partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, Bruce Ramer is a member of the USC Board of Trustees, chair of the USC Institute on Entertainment Law and Business, and a member of the boards of councilors of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the USC Gould School of Law and the USC Shoah Foundation—The Institute for Visual History and Education. Madeline Ramer is co-president of the Smith Family Foundation and a principal of Smith Properties, a family investment company engaged in real estate. She has served on the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ board of councilors and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s board of overseers.