USC Volunteer Recognition Dinner

On September 5, 2019 the USC Alumni Association honored and recognized the outstanding contributions of volunteers who have devoted their time and energy in service to the University. Volunteers hailed from USC alumni clubs, chapters and organizations Awards were presented in four categories including: President’s Award, Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award, Volunteer Friend of the Year Award and Volunteer Organization of the Year Award.

Thank you to all of our 2019 Sponsors for their incredible support!


Widney Alumni House Sponsor

Corii D. and Cari Berg

Marilou and Mark Hamill

Robert C. and Rachel Clifford


Gold Sponsor

The Carieri Family

Liquid Venture Partners, LLC

UBS Financial Services Inc.

USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology


Cardinal Sponsor

Craig and Alisa Farkas

Mina Martinez

Town and Gown of USC

Trojan Athletic Fund

UBS Financial Services Inc.

USC Marshall School of Business

USC Latino Alumni Association

USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

*As of 8/14/2019

USC Alumni Association President’s Awards

The President’s Award recognizes the outstanding leadership contributions of a volunteer over the course of several years, which may include fulfillment of a formal leadership position and/or achievements in informal activities. Other factors considered are the volunteer’s overall record of service, loyalty, dedication, and contribution to the Trojan Family. Typically, up to five President’s Awards are presented each year.

2019 Honorees

Robert C. Clifford ’85

Bob Clifford is a Massachusetts native who has been volunteering his time and energy to USC since graduating from the USC Marshall School of Business with a BS in business administration. Currently beginning his seventh year of service on the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, he has particularly enjoyed co-chairing the USC Alumni Day of SCervice, the inaugural USC Day of SCupport and, this past May, the 86th Annual USC Alumni Awards Gala. His most rewarding experience, however, has been mentoring several USC undergraduate students over the years.

A huge sports fan, Clifford has relished the opportunity to support Trojan athletics as a member of the USC Athletics Board of Counselors. More recently, he was honored to join the Board of Leaders of With Your Shield, A McMorrow Veterans Initiative, housed within USC Marshall. Clifford is also grateful for the wonderful friendships he has made through his support of the USC Price School of Public Policy, the USC Caruso Catholic Center, the USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative and USC Associates.

Clifford began his investment banking career at Sutro & Company, where he worked for nearly 20 years. In 2014 he co-founded Liquid Venture Partners LLC and Liquid Patent Advisors LLC. He and his partners find young companies with disruptive technologies, build business and patent strategies around them, and take them public through a NASDAQ IPO.

Clifford lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife and fellow Trojan, Rachel ’84. They are the proud parents of Robbie, a USC junior.

Marilou Hamill

Marilou York Hamill grew up in Illinois, where she received a degree in dental hygiene. She met her husband Mark in a dental office and has been happily married for over 40 years. A mother of three—Nathan, Griffin and Chelsea ’11, MCG ’13—Hamill is CFO of Amazing Invisible Inc. and Hamjamill Inc. and the owner of MY Management.

When her daughter enrolled in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Hamill began volunteering for USC by joining Town & Gown of USC. She was subsequently appointed to the women’s group’s board of directors, where she has served for seven years.

In addition, Hamill has taken leadership roles in both the USC Parents Association (vice president) and the USC Parents Council Executive Board (event chair). A past president of the USC Intersorority Parents Council (ISPC), Hamill also advised the organization for many years. In recognition of her work for ISPC, she received a Widney Alumni House Award in YEAR.

Hamill has devoted time and energy to many other USC organizations, including the USC Associates, the USC Hospital Guild, the Trojan Society of Hospitals and the USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative. She is especially passionate about the latter, which has made such a positive impact on local students, their families and the community. Currently a member of the initiative’s board of councilors, Hamill has served on the Gala Host Committee the past six years.

Sky Kogachi ’95

Sky Kogachi was raised in Pearl City, Hawaii and attended public schools before enrolling at USC as a Trustee Scholar. As an architecture major, he learned a profession; as an East Asian languages and culture major, he learned about his ancestry while studying abroad at Waseda University in Tokyo; and as a Trojan, Kogachi learned to accept himself as a gay man. At graduation, he received the Order of the Laurel and the Palm, in part for his work as the first Inter-Fraternity Council diversity chair to advocate for LGBT acceptance on The Row.

Fresh out of school, Kogachi began his career at the L.A. office of HOK, a global design, architecture and planning firm, where he served as an architectural design team member and interior design lead for the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. After earning a master’s in industrial design at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Kogachi opened his own firm, Schism Design architecture & interiors, as well as a restaurant, Big Sky Sushi. He has since sold the latter, but still has his design practice 20 years later.
Over the years, Kogachi has volunteered with numerous USC alumni organizations, including the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association, USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association and USC Alumni Club of Downtown Los Angeles, and has served on the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors.
Kogachi recently built his own home in Los Angeles with his husband, G. Sheng, who works at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, an affiliate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Mei-Lee Ney

Mei-Lee Ney is president of Richard Ney & Associates, Asset Management, Inc., a Pasadena-based investment advisory firm she joined in 1973. She has worked in the investment industry for more than 50 years and became a registered representative with the National Association of Security Dealers in 1969.

Active in a wide range of community and nonprofit organizations, Ney is a longtime supporter of the USC Pacific Asia Museum (USC PAM) and currently serves on its board of councilors. In 2015, she chaired USC PAM’s Festival Gala Committee. Four years later, she received the Legacy Award at the museum’s 2019 gala, in recognition of her philanthropic work and community building.

In 2018, Ney made a $20 million gift to the USC Davis School of Gerontology to found a research center focused on longevity and aging. Her donation, which established the Ney Center of Healthspan Science, is the largest in the USC Davis School’s 44-year history. A member of the school’s board of councilors, Ney had previously funded an endowed scholarship for USC gerontology students. In 2017, she was awarded the Dean’s Medallion, USC Davis’s highest honor, in recognition of her contributions. In May of this year, she delivered the school’s commencement address.

The chair of the Otis College of Art and Design’s board of trustees, Ney also serves on the board of governors of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Her other community involvements include The Music Center, L.A. Opera, Caltech Associates, Huntington Hospital, Pasadena Senior Center, the Pasadena Educational Foundation, Pasadena Heritage, the Luminaires and the Twilight Club. Ney is a director of the Valley Hunt Club board and a past president of The Town Club.

Widney Alumni House Awards

These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of volunteers through service to the Trojan Family. Important factors include a record of sustained volunteer service to a school or department at USC and relevant achievements during this service. Typically, up to 20 Widney Awards are presented each year.

2019 Honorees

Peggy Anatol EdD ’97
Alumnae Coordinating Council
Town & Gown of USC
Trojan League of Orange County

Alex Blecksmith MBA ’12
USC Marshall Partners Executive Board
USC Marshall Master of Business for Veterans, Board of Counselors and Mentor
USC Marshall Centennial Committee

Jennifer Bravo MPP ’06
USC Price School Alumni Association Emeritus Member

Luis Campa ’02
USC Associates
USC Latino Alumni Association
USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative

Mara and Joseph Carieri
Co-Chairs, Parent Leadership Circle Executive Committee
USC Associates Board of Directors

Craig E. Farkas ’89, MBA/MRED ’93
USC Alumni Association Board of Governors
Class of 1989 30th Reunion Committee
President, Encore Trojans Advisory Council

William Hare ’60
Half Century Trojans Board of Directors
Spirit of Troy Board of Directors
USC Athletics Trojan Club Board of Directors

Nina Hoffmann ’89
USC Veterans Network
ADPi House Corporation Board Member

Howard E. Kern ’89
USC Associates
USC Marshall Partners Board Member (Greater Los Angeles Region)

Liz Kwong
Alumnae Coordinating Council
Intersorority Parents Council
USC Trojan Affiliates

Mina Martinez
Town & Gown of USC
Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Schools Program at USC – Industry Partner
USC Latino Alumni Association Board of Directors

Adrienne Visnic ’14
USC School of Dramatic Arts Alumni Leadership Council
Young Alumni Ambassador

Ada Yeh ’89
USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association Board of Directors

Terry Ziegler
Alumnae Coordinating Council
Trojan League Associates of the Desert

Volunteer Friend of the Year Award

This award is presented to a USC staff member for his or her work with USC volunteers, and recognizes outstanding contributions in the development and implementation of USC volunteer programs. The award encourages the effective, efficient and creative use of the university’s volunteer base by university staff. Eligibility criteria may include volunteer recruitment, training and recognition, leadership development, communications, marketing and programming. The satisfaction of volunteers impacted by the nominee is also considered. One or two Volunteer Friend Awards may be presented each year.

2019 Honoree

Guillermina Molina MA ’00

Guillermina Molina currently serves as assistant dean, external relations for the USC Marshall School of Business. In this position, she oversees the USC Marshall Alumni Association (MAA) and other alumni relations programs, the USC Marshall Partners (MP), annual giving, corporate relations and donor services. Molina previously served as USC Marshall’s senior director of annual giving and alumni relations, as well as director of development and parent engagement. In all of these positions, Molina has facilitated meaningful engagement opportunities for alumni to reconnect to the university. She has worked tirelessly with the volunteer boards of MAA and MP to increase alumni participation from an alumni base of 93,000, and to foster a rewarding environment for volunteers. Molina has also collaborated with the USC Alumni Association on programming and events. Her efforts have helped boost USC Marshall’s alumni participation rate for the last three years and double MP’s overall fundraising.

Previously, Molina served as director of USC Marshall’s undergraduate programs. In that position, she managed co-curricular programs to help students achieve their career goals, enhance their leadership potential and develop a global mindset.

Before joining USC, Molina was a consultant at Accenture and Sony Pictures Entertainment. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MA in communication management from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
She lives in Culver City with her husband, John; their daughter, Amelia; and the family dog, Ripley. An avid traveler, she has visited 6 continents and 59 countries.


Volunteer Organization of the Year Award

This is the only award given to a USC volunteer organization in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Trojan Family and the advancement of USC. Important achievements considered are organization formation, membership growth, retention and involvement, overall development, quality and creativity of programming, communications, successful fundraising initiatives, and leadership. The honoree organization demonstrably supports the overall mission of USC. One or two Alumni Volunteer Organization Awards may be presented each year.

2019 Honorees 

USC Half Century Trojans

USC Young Alumni Council

Photos from the
2019 Volunteer Recognition Dinner
Past Honorees

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