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Dr. Larry Berg


The Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC mourns the loss of one of its founders, Dr. Larry Berg.

Dr. Berg joined the University of Southern California’s Department of Political Science in 1969 and co-founded the USC Institute of Politics and Government (IPG) in 1978, now known as the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. Dr. Berg’s commitment to students and learning was widely admired, and his leadership laid the foundation for the political internships, conferences and panel discussions that make up the Unruh Institute today. Over the years, Dr. Berg’s foresight benefited thousands of students, many of whom have gone on to careers in politics, government, and public service.

During his time at USC, Dr. Berg was known for being an expert on California’s initiative process, as well as for publishing numerous works on corruption in the financing of judicial political campaigns in California. His tenure in politics includes a variety of influential roles – he served as a Board member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), as a Robert F. Kennedy delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and as an advisor to Senator Edmund S. Muskie (D – ME), the author of the Federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.

Beginning in 2014, the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC will offer an annual award for a student or students who have demonstrated a strong interest in public service through their academic work, political involvement, and civic engagement. The Dr. Larry Berg Award for Political Leadership will provide students with financial support to work on behalf of an elected official or cause that inspires them. The Award will continue Dr. Berg’s legacy of engaging students in public service. For more information on the Dr. Larry Berg Award for Political Leadership, please click here. 


Carmen Warschaw


Carmen Warschaw, a longtime figure in national and California Democratic politics, passed away on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. She played a critical role in the creation of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and its programming, and we will be forever grateful for her guidance.

Warschaw and her late husband, Louis, were both USC alumni. In 2008, she established the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at USC's Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Her generosity extended well beyond the political science department at the University -- she helped found USC Dornsife's Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, and made significant contributions to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In 1968, her philanthropic activities were recognized by the Los Angeles Times, when they named her Woman of the Year.

Having attended every Democratic National Convention from 1968 to 2008, Warschaw was a political force to be reckoned with. Her passion and rigor for politics earned her the nickname “Dragon Lady” by her opponents, a name she wore with such pride that the family yacht eventually bore the same title. She was the first female chair of the California Fair Employment Practices Commission, a former member of the DNC, and served as the national vice-president of the Anti-Defamation League.

Warschaw is survived by her daughters Hope and Susan, sons-in-law John Law and Carl Robertson, grandchildren Jack Harvey Larsen Law-Warschaw, Cara Robertson and Chip Robertson, and great-grandchildren Louis Harvey Robertson and Rose Frances Harvey Robertson.

Her presence and leadership will be missed by this Institute and all who had the distinction of knowing her. 


Kam Kuwata


Kam Kuwata’s passion for politics is legendary. It was a passion he shared with everyone around him, regardless of political party or ideology. Kam’s keen interest in politics developed at a young age. Kam studied political science at University of Southern California and volunteered for several Democratic campaigns and causes. He earned his degree in 1975 and, as a proud member of the Trojan Family, he generously gave back to his Alma Mater over the ensuing years.

The Unruh Institute of Politics at USC Dornsife College has benefited immensely from Kam’s generous participation in several programs hosted by the Institute. His most recent appearance was on the evening of November 17, 2010, when Kam took part in our post-midterm election panel discussion about the California campaigns for governor, US Senate, and the state’s ballot propositions. USC students stayed long after the program to talk informally with Kam and his fellow panelists. No one need underscore how valuable these interactions are to the students: encouraging their political voice, extending expertise and a longer view of the electoral politics, and fostering an enthusiasm for lively debate. Kam never forgot the importance of offering support and guidance to these young people and he always set an example of devotion to public service.

Beginning 2012, the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC will offer an annual award for a student or students whose academic work, political involvement, and civic engagement has prepared him/her for the valuable experience of working on a political campaign. The Kam Kuwata USC award will be given to a student or students who have demonstrated a strong interest in campaign politics and provide them with financial support to work on behalf of a candidate or cause that inspires them.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Kam Kuwata Award may be made to USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. This award will honor Kam’s work and inspire young people to continue his legacy of public service and political advocacy. Please make checks payable to The USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and mail to: USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, University Park Campus, Von KleinSmid Center (VKC) Room 263, Los Angeles, California 90089-0045. Phone: 213-740-8964, Web:

For more information about Kam's life and work please, click here.


Joseph R. Cerrell


 Every student that participates in our programming here at the Unruh Institute has benefited from Joe's devotion to public service. His legacy will live on in our students as they benefit from his example and work to make the world a better place.

 In a career that began over half a century ago, Joseph R. Cerrell has been a transformative figure in California and national politics, government, and public service. He served as a key advisor for presidential candidates John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey, Lloyd Bentsen, John Glenn, and Al Gore, and worked alongside Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown, Jesse M. Unruh, and both Pat and Jerry Brown. Cerrell Associates, which he founded, is one of the most influential consulting firms in California. Throughout his life, Joe was a loyal and committed Trojan. As an undergraduate in the 1950s, he founded the USC College Democrats. As a dedicated alumnus, he co-founded the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. Joe Cerrell’s legacy will live on through his commitment to service and love of politics. Thank you, Joe, for all that you have done for the Trojan Family!

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