Skip to main content

Trojan Treasure

New Lecture Series Honors Distinguished Alumnus

Trojan Treasure

On May 2 at the La Jolla Country Club, USC College kicked off its annual Herbert G. Klein Lecture Series on Civic and Community Leadership with a distinguished speaker—the series’ namesake, USC Trustee Herbert G. Klein (’40).

The lecture series pays tribute to a USC alumnus with an illustrious career in politics and the media. In 2003 Klein retired as vice president and editor-in-chief of the Copley Newspapers, where he oversaw the content of papers across three states, including the San Diego Union-Tribune. He worked on every political campaign of Richard Nixon, ultimately serving as the spokesperson for the Nixon White House in his capacity as director of communications, a position Klein originated. He remains active in his own consulting business and writes a syndicated column.

In his remarks, Klein recounted his career path and how embracing a community leadership role has had a profound effect on his life. “Honest leadership is a noble cause,” he said, “but it is not achieved by a decision to be a leader, but by the willingness to share yourself with others. I can tell you personally that great life satisfaction can emerge from active civic and community leadership.”

The Klein Lecture Series honors his legacy and promotes civic engagement. It does by bringing nationally recognized statesmen and community leaders to an audience including high school and university students and Trojan alumni. Lectures alternate between venues in Klein’s home town, San Diego, and at USC. Two longtime friends of Klein, Artelle Dilday and Douglas Pardee (’49), were among the first to contribute toward endowing the series.

“Herb Klein personifies a lifelong passion for learning and commitment to the betterment of society, values at the core of the College’s mission,” said USC College Dean Joseph Aoun. “We are honored that he agreed to lend his name to this speaker series.”

Klein, whose family includes four generations of Trojans, has offered significant service to his alma mater. The one-time Daily Trojan sports editor was president of the USC Alumni Association in 1975-6 and has served as a trustee for almost 25 years. The university has recognized his many achievements with an honorary doctorate at the 2006 commencement ceremony and the Alumni Association’s 1972 Asa V. Call Award. He recently established an annual scholarship covering political and governmental reporting.

Ann Hill (’71), a fellow USC trustee and past alumni president, helped establish the Klein Lecture Series. “I’ve been honored to become a friend of Herb’s. We consider him our ultimate Trojan Bard of San Diego. He is a marvelous accumulation of U.S. history in one person,” said Hill. “I’m so glad that we were able to recognize him in a way that reflects his remarkable career. He is truly one of our brightest stars.”