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Investing in the Future

Investing in the Future

Mitchell and Deena Lew found more than a top-notch education at USC. They found each other.

Mitchell Lew (B.S., biological sciences, ’83; M.D., ’87) met Deena Inouye (B.S., business, ’85) in front of Doheny Library in 1980, early in their undergraduate careers. Twenty-five years later, the Lew family lives in Anaheim, where Dr. Mitchell Lew serves as president of Genesis Healthcare, a medical group. After working as a teacher, Deena Lew is a full-time mother to their two children, Amanda, 15, and Troy, 12.

USC gave the Lews a start on their careers and love, and now they’re giving back. Said Mitchell, “We’re giving back to the school that educated us, allowed us to make lifelong friends and, of course, to meet each other.” The Lews donated to the USC Associates — and designated the money to benefit Trojan causes that mean the most to them.

A quarter of their gift funded scholarships for USC College students intending to pursue careers in medicine. “My time at the College was the four best years of my life,” Mitchell explained. “We feel it’s important to provide educational opportunities for the next generation.”

Another quarter went to the USC Marshall School of Business for its Career Advantage Program, a year-long mentoring program that connects business undergraduates with successful Marshall alumni in Southern California.

As a physician, Mitchell has seen firsthand how cancer devastates sufferers and their families. As a result, the Lews decided to direct one-fourth of their donation to USC/Norris Cancer Center. USC/Norris is one of only 39 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, and a leader in cancer treatment, research, prevention and education.

Mitchell and Deena, respectively of Chinese and Japanese descent, also dedicated a quarter of their gift to the Asian Pacific Alumni Association. “We are very proud of our heritage and were involved with Asian organizations when we were in school,” said Mitchell. “The students we see now were us 25 years ago, and we want them to have similar opportunities.”

The Lews’ philanthropy provides a unique personal benefit to the couple themselves. Their investment in USC’s future deepens their connection with the alma mater that has meant so much to their past and present.  

“USC is regarded as one of the top schools in the country,” said Mitchell. “There are opportunities all over the world in association with USC, and we want to be part of them.”