USC Lambda 25th Anniversary Gala

Thank you for celebrating USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association’s 25th Anniversary! We look forward to seeing what the next 25 years will bring. 

On November 15,  the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association proudly celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding at a gala event, featuring remarks by special guest USC President C. L. Max Nikias.  As part of the celebration, USC Lambda celebrated the extraordinary achievements of two distinguished alumni, U.S. Supreme Court appellate lawyer Lindsay Harrison ’00 and Long Beach, California Mayor Robert Garcia MA ’05, who have blazed trails as champions for LGBT equality and social justice. In addition, USC School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth Daley was recognized as an outstanding ally for her longtime support of the Don Thompson LGBT Film Festival. Gala proceeds went towards USC Lambda’s scholarship endowment, which has provided nearly $500,000 in financial assistance to more than 150 undergraduate and graduate students over the last 25 years. Click here to view event photos.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Robert J. Garcia MA ’05
Mayor, City of Long Beach

Robert J. Garcia MA ’05

Robert Garcia made Southern California political history in 2014, when he became the youngest, the first Latino and the first openly gay mayor of the City of Long Beach. As the 28th mayor of the nation’s 36th-largest city, Garcia is focused on making Long Beach a leader in economic development, sustainability, education and technology.

Born in Lima, Peru, Garcia immigrated to the United States with his family when he was five years old. Raised in Southern California, he became the first in his family to graduate from college, earning his BA in communication studies (2002) and later his EdD (2010) from California State University, Long Beach.

Passionate about politics and public service, Garcia began his political career in 2009, when he was elected to the Long Beach City Council. During his first year as a city councilman, Garcia introduced legislation to implement the city’s first Equal Benefits Ordinance (EBO), requiring contractors doing business with Long Beach to provide the same benefits to registered domestic partners as they do for married couples. The city council later approved EBO, effective January 12, 2010.

Since taking office as mayor, Garcia has concentrated on economic development, public safety, infrastructure, education, technology and housing. His accomplishments include the passage of Measure A, the largest infrastructure investment in Long Beach in over a decade. In 2017, Garcia received two awards during the U.S. Conference of Mayors: the Mayor’s Climate Protection Award and the Latino Leaders Network’s Antonio Villaraigosa Leadership Award.

A college educator as well as a politician, Garcia has taught at many schools, including Cal State Long Beach, Long Beach City College, the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where he earned his master’s degree in communication management in 2005.

Lindsay Harrison ’00
Partner, Jenner & Block LLP

Lindsay Harrison ’00

Lindsay Harrison is a partner in the appellate and Supreme Court practice of the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Jenner & Block. Corporations and individuals turn to her for help with litigation in federal and state appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as in federal and state trial courts and arbitrations.

A 2003 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Harrison first worked at Jenner & Block as a summer associate while earning her law degree. During that period, she worked on Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the landmark case that overturned the 1986 Supreme Court Bowers v. Hardwick decision criminalizing same-sex sexual conduct.

After clerking for two federal judges, Harrison joined Jenner & Block as an associate in 2007. Over the past ten years, she has successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court, most notably Nken v. Holder (2009), Kucana v. Holder (2010) and Welch v. United States (2016). Not only did the 2009 case mark the first time she had ever argued before any appellate court—it also set a legal precedent, changing the deportation stay standard in federal court. In Welch v. United States, Harrison successfully represented the petitioner, thus providing hundreds of people across the country with relief from mandatory minimum sentences, which the Supreme Court found in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition to her active Supreme Court and appellate practice, Harrison maintains a busy commercial litigation and arbitration practice, and serves as the co-leader of Jenner & Block’s hospitality and gaming practice. She also serves as the managing attorney for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Scientist Protection Project, a program she founded to provide pro bono legal advice to federal scientists and their allies to fight the politicization of science in the federal government.

Harrison graduated summa cum laude from USC in 2000 with a double major in political science and gender studies and a minor in cinema-television. She was a member of the university’s debate team and Mortar Board, and participated in the Thematic Option. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on the legal and cultural strategies for overturning Bowers v. Hardwick.

Outstanding Ally Award

Elizabeth M. Daley
Dean, USC School of Cinematic Arts

Elizabeth M. Daley

Elizabeth M. Daley has been dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) for 26 years, the longest tenure of a dean at the University of Southern California. She is the inaugural holder of the Steven J. Ross/Time Warner Dean’s Chair, founding executive director of the USC Annenberg Center for Communication (1994-2005), and serves as the executive director of the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy.

Under Daley’s leadership, SCA has added three new divisions: Animation & Digital Arts, Interactive Media & Games, and Media Arts + Practice; established the Entertainment Technology Center, a think tank focused on the impact of new technologies; built the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts; established 29 endowed faculty positions; and formed successful partnerships with a variety of entertainment and technology companies.

In 2006, Daley presided over the school’s official renaming as the School of Cinematic Arts by George Lucas and broke ground for a new complex. Completed in 2013, the SCA Cinematic Arts Complex encompasses three instructional buildings, four sound stages and a production center.

Before coming to USC, Daley served as the director of the Mark Taper Forum’s film and television subsidiary; prior to that, she had been a producer for MGM/Television. Daley serves on the boards of Avid Technology, Inc., the Benton Foundation and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment, and Information.

Daley has been honored by American Women in Radio and Television and was twice nominated for a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award. She has received a Cine Golden Eagle, the Barbara Jordan Award,the California Governor’s Award and the Women in Film Business Leadership Award, acknowledging extraordinary contributions by women behind the camera. She was also the inaugural recipient of The Alfred Hitchcock Legacy Award, given on behalf of the Hitchcock Family and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Daley earned her BA and MA from Tulane University and Newcomb College, respectively, and her PhD from the University of Wisconsin. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Hong Kong Baptist University.

Anniversary Sponsors
Keck School of Medicine of USC
Amy Ross PhD ’86

Lambda Sponsors
Jenner & Block LLP
Robert L. Moore JD ’66
Elsie ’82 & Rod Nakamoto ’83, MBA ’94
ONE Archives Foundation
USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association
USC Latino Alumni Association
USC Marshall School of Business
USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

Special Thanks To:
Jules Buenabenta ’87
West Coast Beverage