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Tradition & Innovation

One year after its official launch, USC College’s fund-raising initiative gathers steam

Tradition & Innovation

In September 2005, USC College publicly announced its largest-ever fund-raising initiative, Tradition & Innovation, with the ambitious goal of raising $400 million by 2010.

Since the announcement fund-raising has proceeded apace: The College received $46 million in gifts and pledges in the 2005-06 fiscal year, and $10.4 million in the first quarter of 2006-07. To date, the initiative has brought in almost $200 million in pledges and donations, nearly half its goal.

Said USC College Dean Peter Starr, “The initiative owes much of its success to the leadership of USC trustees and members of our College Board of Councilors. We’re very grateful — their support and guidance has been absolutely key to our efforts.”

Pat Haden (B.A., English, ’75) has played a leading role in the fund-raising effort. A USC trustee and member of the College’s board, Haden serves as chair of the Tradition & Innovation steering committee. The Rhodes Scholar and former NFL quarterback has also supported the College initiative through personal donations and scholarship grants awarded by the George Mayr Foundation, which he chairs.

Haden is especially thankful to all of the donors who, as he said, have made his job easier. He points to Katherine Loker (B.A., English, ’40) as a prime example.

”Katherine is among the College’s most generous benefactors,” Haden said. “Her stalwart support, over so many years, has been extraordinary. There’s no doubt she’s made a difference in the advancement of the College — directly through her generosity, but also as a role model for other donors.”

Among other gifts, Loker continued her 27-year tradition of supporting the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute with a 2006 surprise gift of $1 million.

“Tradition & Innovation gives the faculty and students the support they need to increase the pace of their innovative work,” said Diane MacGillivray, the senior associate dean for advancement in the College. “And we’re seeing the impact.”

”To continue to forward movement, the initiative must reach out beyond the College’s Board leadership and draw support from a wider range of College supporters,” MacGillivray said.

“Larger gifts energize the initiative, providing essential momentum,” she said. “But we’re working to increase all levels of engagement and participation among alumni, parents and other stakeholders, and to reach out to foundations and corporate philanthropy.”

And even the youngest College alumni are responding. Many members of the Class of 2006 each contributed a small but meaningful amount — $20.06 — to the initiative.

“Most new graduates live on a tight budget, so we were especially appreciative of their generosity and interest in supporting their alma mater,” MacGillivray said.

Kristy Hawley (B.A., international relations and communication, ’06) pledged her 2006 donation to the Center on Public Diplomacy, an interdisciplinary collaboration of the College’s School of International Relations and the USC Annenberg School for Communication.

“The center's work is extremely important in a world dominated by global media messages and 30-second sound bites,” Hawley said.

“Donating was one small way to contribute to a project that made an impact on my learning experience at USC.”