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Major Gift to Support Scholarships

The $8 million to the USC Dornsife Undergraduate Fellows Fund will go toward sending students on international travel, field research and into the community.

In Cairo, Egypt, USC Dornsife undergraduates studying religion and democracy braved temperatures of nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit to visit the Great Pyramid of Giza. They are shown here at stone blocks of the pyramid's base. Photo by Steven Weier.
In Cairo, Egypt, USC Dornsife undergraduates studying religion and democracy braved temperatures of nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit to visit the Great Pyramid of Giza. They are shown here at stone blocks of the pyramid's base. Photo by Steven Weier.

A new $20 million gift from anonymous donors will endow student support at USC Dornsife, the USC School of Social Work and the USC Marshall School of Business. This is one of the largest individual gifts for student support in the university’s history.

The donors, a married couple and longtime USC supporters, have designated $8 million to the Dornsife Undergraduate Fellows Fund at USC Dornsife, $6 million to the General Scholarship Endowment Fund at the School of Social Work and $6 million to the James G. Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund at USC Marshall.

“Endowed scholarships remain a critical resource for attracting the highest quality students to our university, and the tremendous generosity of these donors will significantly advance USC’s efforts in this important area,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “Their extraordinary gift will bring the dream of a USC education to deserving students for many generations to come.”

The Dornsife Undergraduate Fellows Fund provides selected students within USC Dornsife with grants ranging between $6,000 and $10,000 that can be used for international travel, field research and service to various communities.

“Extracurricular learning experiences are a distinctive feature of USC Dornsife College,” said Dean Steve Kay. “Thanks to this remarkable gift, even more USC Dornsife students will be able to extend their academic learning and develop skills and perspectives they need to succeed in their chosen fields.”

The General Scholarship Endowment Fund at the School of Social Work ensures that qualified students are not denied the opportunity of attending the school because of financial circumstances. The fund also provides merit-based scholarships that help the school attract students with exceptional potential to advance the field of social work through service, policy and research.

“Increasing support for student scholars — our nation’s future social work practitioners, innovators and leaders — is the USC School of Social Work’s top priority,” said Marilyn L. Flynn, dean of the School of Social Work. “This gift will touch the lives not only of our scholarship recipients but also countless individuals and families in the communities they serve.”

The James G. Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund is a challenge fund established by Tyler Muse ’07 and his family and is named for the current dean of USC Marshall. The fund provides tuition assistance for outstanding and deserving undergraduate students enrolled at the school.

“I am personally honored that the donors have chosen to generously contribute to this scholarship fund, which helps ensure that the best and brightest students have the opportunity to attend Marshall regardless of their financial situation,”Ellis said. “This gift will pay dividends far into the future as USC Marshall graduates distinguish themselves as global leaders.”

This anonymous gift is part of The Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to secure $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world.

Last month, USC announced it had raised $3 billion just three years into the campaign. As part of the campaign, the university seeks to raise $1 billion for endowed student support and has raised $196.3 million toward that goal to date. Click here to learn more about the standout students that make up the most recent class of Trojan freshmen.