USC Alumni Awards

On May 4, 2019 the USC Alumni Association will honor several outstanding Trojans for their professional achievements and legacy of service at the 86th Annual USC Alumni Awards at the new InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.

(Top to bottom row) Ryan Coogler, Carmen Nava, USC President C. L. Max Nikias and his wife, Niki C. Nikias, William McMorrow, Bob Padgett, Valerie Gumbiner Weiss, Bruce and Madeline Ramer, Kevin Tsujihara ,Carol Gomez Summerhays (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

Every year since 1932, the USC Alumni Association honors a small group of prestigious alumni for their professional achievements and outstanding service to the University and community at the annual Alumni Awards gala. Past honorees include Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong ’70, world-renowned architect Frank O. Gehry ’54, opera great Marilyn Horne ’53 and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis ’73.  A few of our most recent honorees include: social work pioneer Suzanne Dworak-Peck ’65, MSW ’67, actress and activist America Ferrera ’13 and real estate developer and civic leader Rick Caruso ’80.

On Saturday, May 4, 2019, we invite you, alumni, friends and family, to the 86th Annual USC Alumni Awards to celebrate this year’s honorees.

Date: Saturday, May 4, 2019
Location: InterContinental Los Angeles, Downtown, 900 Wilshire Boulevard
Time:  5:30 PM Cocktail Reception
6:30 PM Dinner and Program
Attire: Black Tie Preferred

Please RSVP by April 12
Hosted Valet Parking

Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award

Recognizes alumni who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the university and community by giving generously of their time, energy and leadership. This award celebrates alumni whose outstanding accomplishments have brought honor and recognition to themselves and USC.

Alumni Merit Award

Recognizes alumni whose remarkable accomplishments speak well for the range and quality of a USC education.

Young Alumni Merit Award

Recognizes an alumnus/a age 35 or younger who meets the Alumni Merit Award criteria.

Alumni Service Award

Recognizes alumni for their outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the university. The energy, dedication and enthusiasm of each recipient epitomize the spirit of service that is vital to USC’s growth and leadership.

Honorary Alumni

Recognizes individuals whose loyalty, involvement and contribution of time and effort with USC are extraordinary and highly valued.

Participation in Alumni Awards, one of USC’s most prestigious events, provides the opportunity to reach hundreds of the most influential and affluent members of the USC community as well as political entertainment and business leaders.   Event sponsorships and individual tickets are now available.

Proceeds from the evening support USC alumni Association programs and services for the more than 400,000 alumni worldwide your generous contribution will be acknowledged in the event program on the USC alumni Association website. All charitable contributions are fully tax-deductible.

Please visit our event website for any additional questions you might have


Thank you to all of our 2019 sponsors for their incredible support.







Bob and Rachel Clifford

Michael and Debbie Felix

Jaime Lee


— GOLD —

Cari and Corii Berg



Herb and Kathy Goodman

Patti and Allan Johnson

Ron and Tracy Berliner Smith


— Friends of Troy —

Joy Albritten and Jeff Gaul

Nedra Austin

Bank of America

Caroline and Kevin Leach

Liberty Mutual


USC Credit Union


*as of 1/14/19

Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award

William McMorrow 

BS, Business Administration, 1969; Master of Business Administration, 1970
Chairman and CEO, Kennedy Wilson

William McMorrow, a USC Trustee, is chairman and CEO of the global real estate company Kennedy Wilson, which he acquired in 1988. Under his leadership, Kennedy Wilson has grown from one office with 11 employees to a company with offices in 25 different markets throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Jersey and Japan, as well as $18 billion of assets under management across the property spectrum.

Kennedy Wilson entered the European market in 2011, when it served as the catalyst and lead investor in the recapitalization of the Bank of Ireland. Six years later, McMorrow and his team
closed a landmark transaction that combined Kennedy Wilson Holdings and Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate Plc into one global platform, with a simpler structure and an $8 billion enterprise value, positioning the global company for future growth opportunities.

In addition, McMorrow led the creation of three public companies: Kennedy-Wilson Holdings (New York Stock Exchange), Kennedy Wilson Japan (Tokyo Stock Exchange) and Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate Plc (London Stock Exchange). The latter’s $1.7 billion IPO represented the largest real estate vehicle listing since the economic downturn, as well as the second-largest real estate IPO in the London exchange’s 200-year history.

Prior to joining Kennedy Wilson, McMorrow worked in the banking industry for 17 years. He served as the executive vice president and chairman of Imperial Bank’s Credit Policy Committee in Los Angeles, and has held senior positions with a variety of financial service firms, including Fidelity Bank in Pennsylvania.

McMorrow and Kennedy Wilson have been profiled in many publications, including the New York Times, Barron’s, Irish Times, Los Angeles Business Journal and PERE. In 2012, Real Estate Forum magazine selected McMorrow as one of Southern California’s “Real Estate Icons.” In 2015, the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the United States presented the Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement Award to McMorrow for leadership and contributions to Ireland. In May 2017, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

In addition to his service on the USC Board of Trustees, McMorrow also serves on the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate Executive Board and has endowed the USC Marshall School of Business William J. McMorrow Global Real Estate Program. He is a trustee of the Navy SEAL Foundation and serves on Loyola High School’s Board of Regents; in 2010, he received the school’s Cahalan Award for Distinguished Alumni. McMorrow’s other philanthropic interests include the nonprofit Chrysalis, which presented him with its Spirit of Chrysalis Award in 2005, and City of Hope, which honored him at its 2014 Spirit of Life Celebration.

Alumni Merit Awards

Carmen Nava
BS, Business Administration, 1984
Senior Vice President (retired), AT&T Entertainment Group

Carmen Nava, a USC Trustee, retired from AT&T at the end of last year after serving the company and its customers for 33 years. In her final role as senior vice president of premium care and customer loyalty for AT&T’s Entertainment Group, Nava led a national operation serving 90+ million customers with Mobility, DIRECTV and U-verse products.

A Los Angeles native, Nava began her career as a summer intern with Pacific Bell while attending USC.
Over the years, she moved several times between Texas and California. Always a staunch customer advocate, Nava led teams across a variety of departments at AT&T, including sales, marketing, customer service, human resources, IT and external affairs. She was the first Latina to hold the position of regional president of the Los Angeles external affairs department from 1997-99. Throughout her career, Nava actively supported the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. As the highest-ranking Latina at AT&T, she served on the advisory board for HACEMOS, AT&T’s Hispanic/Latino employee association, and LEAGUE, the firm’s LGBT and allies organization. Both groups provide employees with professional development opportunities, volunteer work that improves the community, and connections with mentors.

Nava has received a number of awards for her personal and professional accomplishments, including being named by Hispanic Professionals in the Information Technology Industry as among the “Top 100 Most Influential and Notable Hispanics” for 2015 and 2016, and one of Latina Style Magazine’s “Top 5 Latina Executives” in 2013 and 2016.

At USC, Nava has served as a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, and is currently on the Corporate Advisory Board of the USC Latino Alumni Association (LAA). A former scholarship recipient, she has been a strong supporter of LAA scholarship programs that enable Latino students to attend USC.

Nava and her husband Robert ’82 currently live in Dallas, Texas, and have one daughter, who lives in Oakland, California.

Carol Gomez Summerhays

Doctor of Dental Surgery, 1978
Past president, American Dental Association

Carol Gomez Summerhays is a distinguished Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC graduate who blazed a trail in 2015, when she became the first Filipina-American and fourth woman president of the American Dental Association (ADA), the oldest and largest dental association in the world. In recognition of her historic accomplishment, Summerhays received a U.S. Congressional Record commendation.

Born into a family that has served in the military for generations, Summerhays attended the Ostrow School on an Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship. After graduating, she served as a U.S. Navy Dental Corps lieutenant until 1982, when she opened her private practice in San Diego, California.

Throughout her career, Summerhays has dedicated herself to building diversity within the traditionally male-dominated field, promoting the importance of volunteerism and improving oral health for the underserved. As chair of the California Dental Association Foundation Board of Directors, Summerhays spearheaded its capital campaign, raising more than $25 million. She also helped establish a dental clinic in Ensenada, Mexico, and continues to work globally through the FDI World Federation of Dentists.

During her tenure as ADA president, Summerhays advocated for the inclusion of dental coverage in Medicare, helped define dentistry’s role in reducing opioid abuse, and strengthened partnerships with other health associations.

A steadfast supporter of her alma mater, Summerhays has served on the Ostrow School’s Board of Councilors since 2010. She is also a member of the school’s Century Club and the Friends of Dentistry alumni support group, and has endowed two scholarships, including one honoring her Ostrow School mentor, Clifton Dummett.

Summerhays is a fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the Academy of Dentistry International. Her professional honors include the Pierre Fauchard Gold Medal and the American Association of Women Dentists Lucy Hobbs Award. In 2017, Summerhays received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her exceptional service to the United States.

Summerhays and her husband Soames live in San Diego and have two sons, Giles and Bryce.

Kevin Tsujihara
BS, Accounting, 1986
Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment

Kevin Tsujihara made history in 2013, when he became the first Asian American to head a major motion picture studio. As chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., Tsujihara oversees worldwide operations, including the production, marketing and distribution of film, television and videogames, for one of the most innovative and successful entertainment companies in the world.

Under Tsujihara’s leadership, Warner Bros. is the only studio with leading positions in film, television and videogames, as well as highly successful home-entertainment and consumer-product divisions. Warner Bros. is also home to DC Entertainment, creator of the world’s most popular and valuable superheroes. Reflecting the studio’s global perspective, Tsujihara has also made diversity and inclusion a companywide business imperative; to that end, he is working to create a workforce and film, TV and digital content that reflects the studio’s diverse global audience.

The youngest of five siblings, Tsujihara grew up in Petaluma, California, where he worked for his parents’ egg-distribution business. After graduating from USC, he began his career as a manager in Ernst & Young’s entertainment division, where he worked on audits, mergers and acquisitions for many clients, including Warner Bros.

In 1994, Tsujihara joined Warner Bros. as a director, special projects finance, and helped manage the company’s interest in the amusement park corporation Six Flags. Eleven years later, he was named president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment; in this position, he established new digital delivery platforms and business models. In addition, he managed talent, assets and growth through acquisitions to create Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the only studio-based videogame company, which generates annual revenues exceeding $1 billion.

A member of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Board of Councilors, Tsujihara also serves on the American Film Institute Board of Trustees; the Motion Picture Association of America Board of Directors; the Motion Picture & Television Fund Board of Governors; and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council. He is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs.

Tsujihara earned his MBA from Stanford University.

Young Alumni Merit Award

Ryan Coogler
Master of Fine Arts, Film and Television Production, 2011
Award-winning filmmaker 

Ryan Coogler is an award-winning writer/director/producer who made cinematic history this year with the release of his third film, Black Panther, Marvel Studios’ first black superhero film. Since its release in February, the critically acclaimed blockbuster has smashed global box office records, becoming the all-time highest-grossing film directed by an African American. In addition, Black Panther has earned praise for its ambitious, genre-breaking blend of superhero spectacle and social commentary.

Equally at home directing big-budget crowd pleasers and thoughtful, character-driven dramas, Coogler began honing his talents at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), where he made several short films. Two of them won scholarship awards from SCA: Locks (2009) received the Dana and Albert Broccoli Award for Filmmaking Excellence, while Gap (2011) won the Jack Nicholson Award for Achievement in Directing.

After graduating, Coogler turned his attention to making his first feature film—Fruitvale Station, based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a young African-American man who was killed by a police officer at Oakland’s Fruitvale BART station on January 1, 2009.  Working with SCA classmates on this independent film, Coogler received praise for tackling a controversial story with sensitivity and nuance. When Fruitvale Station premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, it won both the coveted Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film. Fruitvale Station subsequently won the Best First Film Award at both the Cannes Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards.

Fresh off the critical success of Fruitvale Station, Coogler turned his attention to co-writing and directing Creed (2015), a spin-off sequel to the Academy Award®-winning classic Rocky (1976).  A critical and commercial hit, Creed raised Coogler’s profile exponentially and won him the Los Angeles Film Critics Association “New Generation Award.” In 2016, TIME magazine named Coogler one of the year’s “100 Most Influential People.” That same year, he signed on to direct Black Panther.

An East Bay Area native, Coogler received his undergraduate degree from California State University, Sacramento.

Alumni Service Awards

Bob Padgett

BA, History, 1967
Former USC Trustee; past president, USC Alumni Association Board of Governors

Bob Padgett, a former USC Trustee, is a member of a multi-generational Trojan family whose ties to the university date back to 1946, when his father Robert enrolled at USC on the G.I. Bill. Padgett followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, but then opted to be the first in his family to enter the healthcare profession. After attending medical school, Padgett performed his post-graduate training at the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, after which, in 1973, he began a 28-year career in emergency medicine, retiring from active practice in 2001.

Throughout his career and during his retirement, Padgett has volunteered his medical services to a number of organizations. He served as ship’s surgeon aboard the S.S. Universe Campus for the World Campus Afloat program in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Asia. Padgett also volunteered for many years with the Flying Doctors of Mercy program, primarily in Sinaloa, Mexico. In addition, he served as a volunteer physician for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, as well as for the Special Olympics on numerous occasions.

An exemplary USC volunteer, Padgett has served on the boards of several USC organizations, including USC Associates, USC Athletics and the USC Women of Troy. The USC Black Alumni Association presented Padgett with its President’s Award in 2005, and during his 2009-2010 term as president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, he celebrated the opening of the Epstein Family Alumni Center. More recently, he co-chaired the Class of 1967 50th Reunion Committee with Michele Dedeaux Engemann ’67.

Padgett and his wife of 40 years, Valerie, live in Manhattan Beach. Active volunteers in their local community, they also enjoy outdoor sports, including cycling, and have run a number of marathons, including Boston in 1980. Their daughter Shayne is an RN at Keck Hospital of USC, while their son Cody graduated from USC in 2006. Cody and his wife Liddy, also a 2006 USC grad, have a son, Graham, projected to be a fourth-generation Padgett family Trojan, Class of 2038.

Valerie Gumbiner Weiss
BA, Communications, 1974; Master of Public Administration, 1981
Past chairman, Alumnae Coordinating Council; 

longtime university volunteer 

Valerie Gumbiner Weiss is one of 23 members of her family to attend USC, a tradition started by her father, Marshall Gumbiner, a 1942 graduate of the USC Gould School of Law. Upon her own graduation from USC, Weiss worked at the USC Marshall School of Business as a graduate admissions officer, registrar and coordinator of the MBA Alumni Association. She also served as a program coordinator at the American Management Association—prior to her “retirement” to become a full-time volunteer.

From her first day at USC, when she joined Phrateres, a women’s service group “Famous for Friendliness,” volunteerism became Weiss’s passion. As a young alumna, she joined the Trojan Junior Auxiliary and served as president of the Delta Alpha Chapter of the Alpha Gamma Delta Alumni Club. A member of the Trojan Affiliates since 1981, she volunteered for USC Family Camp (aka SCamp) for ten years and “adopted” several Pepsters, who served as role models for her children. In addition, Weiss became a member of Town & Gown of USC and co-chaired the group’s 2009 benefit gala, which honored TV personalities Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw, and longtime KTLA reporter Stan Chambers ’44.

In 2002, Weiss was named chair of the university’s Alumnae Coordinating Council (ACC); during her tenure, Weiss worked to develop the ACC website. She has also served as president of both the Intersorority Parents Council and the Alpha Delta Pi Parents Club.

Over the years, Weiss has fundraised for the Keck Hospital Guild of USC. In addition, she and her husband Aaron ’73, MBA ’74 are Chairman-level members of the USC Associates, the university’s premier academic support group, and also belong to Cardinal and Gold and the Committee.

An ardent USC sports fan, Weiss has missed only a handful of USC football games since 1970.

Two of her children, Alan ’05 and Andrew ’09, excelled as USC student athletes; Alan ran track, while Andrew played on the 2008 and 2009 Trojan Rose Bowl teams. Her other three children are also Trojans—Adam ’02, MPL ’04; Aileen ’11; and Alden ’12—as is her daughter-in-law Meredith ’08, and she envisions a cardinal-and-gold future for her grandson Joseph as well.

Honorary Alumni 

Bruce and Madeline Ramer
Steadfast Trojan ambassadors and dedicated supporters of USC

Bruce and Madeline Ramer are steadfast ambassadors and dedicated supporters of USC who contribute their time, energy and expertise to a number of university boards and organizations.

A partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, Bruce Ramer has been a member of the USC Board of Trustees since 2003. He is also the chair of the USC Institute on Entertainment Law and Business, and a member of the boards of councilors of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the USC Gould School of Law and the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. In addition, he serves on the board of governors for the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg.

In 2008, Bruce Ramer was nominated by President George W. Bush, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to serve on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board of Directors, which he chaired in 2011 and 2012. He served another term under President Barack Obama. Recently, Ramer was named Chairman of the Board of the Peabody Awards Board of Advisors.

Active in the American Jewish Committee, Bruce Ramer previously served as its national president. He was named one of the 100 most powerful lawyers in California by California Business Lawyer, and one of the top 100 lawyers in California by the Daily Journal. He has received many honors, including the Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation’s Ambassador for Humanity Award, the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Madeline Ramer has served on the USC School of Dramatic Arts Board of Councilors and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Overseers. For 12 years, she was vice president of creative services/artists relations for CBS Entertainment. A founding member of the board of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, she has also served on the boards of the Phoenix Ballet, CBS Foundation, the Hollywood Radio Television Society and the Jewish Television Network. The co-president of the Smith Family Foundation, she also is a principal of Smith Properties, a family investment company engaged in real estate.

Bruce and Madeline Ramer have four children and six grandchildren.

Photos from the 2018 Alumni Awards

2016 Alumni Awards
Past Honorees