6 military veterans who graduated from USC Dornsife
On July 27, 2019 the USS Paul Ignatius, named for USC Dornsife alum Paul Ignatius, was commissioned into service by the U.S. Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Erin Bullock/Released)

6 military veterans who graduated from USC Dornsife

These alumni set an example of service and leadership through their experience in the U.S. armed forces and their careers. [3 ¼ min read]
BySara Lattman

The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is proud to have many accomplished alumni veterans. From setting important military firsts to using their service experiences to develop technologies aimed at healing wounds, the Trojan Family of veterans has achieved many milestones in service and research.


Star Solider

USC Dornsife alumnus Viet Long became the first Vietnamese-born general officer in the United States military in 2014. Long and his family were rescued from communist Vietnam in 1975 by the U.S. military and he knew he wanted to serve and give back to the nation that saved his life. Long graduated from USC Dornsife in 1987 on a full ROTC scholarship. With a degree in biological sciences, Long credits his experience at USC with giving him critical thinking skills and teaching him how to seek out success and step out of his comfort zone. Read a profile on Long >>




Virtually Cured 

After six deployments to Afghanistan as a military clinical psychologist with the U.S. Air Force, alumnus Marat Zanov joined alumna Dawn McDaniel at Virtually Better Inc., a Georgia-based technology start-up. Virtually Better uses virtual reality technology to help treat anxiety disorders such as phobias and PTSD. Zanov and McDaniel, who each earned a Ph.D. in psychology from USC Dornsife, are using a USC-developed software called “Brave Mind” to help clinicians tailor a patient’s treatment to specific scenariosand help them overcome their trauma. Read more about their story >> 



A Name with Firepower 

In July 2019, alumnus and former Navy Secretary Paul Ignatius became the namesake for a U.S Navy  Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. Ignatius earned his bachelor’s degree in history from USC Dornsife in 1942 and soon after joined the Navy. Ignatius was offered the position of assistant secretary of the Army in 1961 and served in the administrations of presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson for eight years. Ignatius also held the positions of under secretary of the Army and assistant secretary of defense before becoming secretary of the Navy in 1967. He was inducted into the Half Century Trojans Hall of Fame in 2014. Read a profile of Ignatius >>


An (Air) Force of Nature 

Michael Donley’s life came full circle when he became secretary of the U.S. Air Force. Born on an Air Force base in 1952, Donley grew up surrounded by all things military. He was drafted at age 19 and sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to work as an intelligence specialist, then accepted into the School of International Relations at USC Dornsife, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations. After graduation, Donley moved to Washington, D.C., confident the city’s strong network of Trojan alumni could help him start his career. Read a profile of Donley >>



The Glory of Ed Flory ’49

As a freshman at USC Dornsife, alumnus Ed Flory was drafted to serve in World War II, carrying a USC identification card from president Rufus Bernhard von Kleinsmid with him. Flory kept his card throughout his service — it was in his pocket as he fought with the Army’s 4th Armored Division during the historic Battle of the Bulge. When Flory returned to USC four years later, his interests shifted to world politics. He left his pre-med major behind and earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations from USC Dornsife in 1949. Flory is also a Half Century Trojan. Read a profile on Flory >> 



Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) 

USC Dornsife alumnus Lt. Col. Russell Todd Zink led the Lone Star Battalion in 2011 to help Afghanistan create a government to replace Taliban rule. Zink graduated from USC Dornsife in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and then joined the U.S. Marine Corps. After 7 ½ years of active duty, Zink became a reservist and has served in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. Read a profile on Zink >>