USC Volunteer Recognition Dinner

September 2, 2021

On Thursday, September 2, 2021 the USC Alumni Association will honor and recognize the outstanding contributions of volunteers at the annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner. These volunteers have devoted their time and energy in service to the university. Awards are 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.

The 2021 USC Volunteer Recognition Dinner will be held on Thursday, September 2 on the University Park Campus (local health and USC guidelines permitting), as well as virtually.

September 2, 2021
6:00 PM PDT | Reception
6:30 PM PDT | Dinner and Awards Presentation

For questions, please contact us at or (213) 740-2300


Thank You to our 2021 event sponsors!

Gold Sponsors
Bob and Rachel Clifford
Bill and Leslie McMorrow
USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association

Cardinal Sponsors
Robert, Kathleen and Devon Campos

Trojan Sponsors
Eva and John Iino
Priya Rana Kapoor and James Darnborough
Town and Gown of USC
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
USC Marshall School of Business
USC Rossier School of Education


GOLD – $5,000
Table for up to ten (10) guests with premier seating, podium recognition, website recognition and a two (2) full-page color spread in program book.

CARDINAL – $3,500
Table for up to ten (10) guests with premier seating, website recognition and one (1) full-page color ad in program book.

TROJAN – $2,500
Table for up to ten (10) guests with premier seating, website recognition and one (1) full-page black & white ad in program book.


One (1) full-page color ad in program book

One (1) full-page black-and-white ad in program book

One (1) half-page black-and-white ad in program book


Admission for one (1)

Admission for one (1) for degreed Alumni age 35 and younger

Admission for one (1) to view online. Does not include dinner.

**Dinner sponsorships and tickets are tax deductible less $100 cost per person food/beverage.
All ads are fully tax deductible.


USC Alumni Association President’s Awards

We are pleased to recognize the 2021 President’s Award honorees:

17091j Tom Henkenius

Tom Henkenius ’00, MS ’19

Tom Henkenius is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ Trojans. A longtime member of the USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association (USC Lambda) Board of Directors, he served as the 2020-2021 board president. During his tenure, Henkenius played an integral role in raising money for scholarships. He helped organize USC Lambda’s 2021 Scholarship Benefit—a virtual celebration of distinguished LGBTQ+ alumni—that surpassed its fundraising goal, thanks to online contributions from LGBTQ+ and ally Trojans, friends and supporters. Now serving as immediate past president of the USC Lambda board, Henkenius will co-chair the organization’s 30th anniversary gala in 2022.

Henkenius also volunteers his time and talent with the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors. He co-chairs the board’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee and serves on its Executive Committee.

An innovative digital content leader and Emmy award-winning journalist, Henkenius is the principal partner at Thunder Communications, a content strategy and production company. He is also director of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) degree programs in digital marketing and graphic design, and teaches courses at FIDM in design thinking and digital trends.

Henkenius earned undergraduate degrees in political science and broadcast journalism from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, respectively. He also holds a master’s in integrated design, business and technology from the USC Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

Carmen Herrera Headshot

Carmen Herrera ’89

Carmen Herrera is an entrepreneur and former corporate executive who has been giving back to USC and the Trojan Family for more than 20 years.

In 2010, Herrera became a member of the USC Latino Alumni Association (LAA) Corporate Advisory Council. Currently serving as the council chair, Herrera draws upon her professional expertise to help raise scholarship funds for Latino students attending USC. She has also served on numerous LAA committees over the years, including the 45th Annual Scholarship Gala committee, and devotes her time and energy to mentoring students.

As well as volunteering for LAA, Herrera has been a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors since 2018 and is presently serving on the Executive Committee. Developing the alumni leadership pipeline is a priority for Herrera, who regularly serves on panels and hosts events to cultivate the next generation of alumni leaders. In addition, Herrera served on the committees for the 87th Annual USC Alumni Awards, the 2018 Alumni Leadership Conference, and the Class of 1989 30th Reunion.

Professionally, Herrera worked at the Sempra Energy family of companies for nearly 19 years. In 2007, she became the first Latina to hold the position of director at this Fortune 500 company. Herrera is now launching Vida For Vitality, a juice enterprise focused on providing supplemental support for brain health in underserved communities.

Herrera earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the USC Marshall School of Business. She is also a certified public accountant.

The Ladwigs Headshot

Jennifer ’99 and Walter Carl Ladwig III ’98

Jennifer and Walter Ladwig are two of USC’s most engaged overseas alumni volunteers. The couple, who met on campus while working as USC tour guides, live in London with their two young sons.

After earning their degrees from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Ladwigs left Southern California for Washington, D.C. There they helped to engage local Trojans, with Jennifer serving as the region’s scholarship chair for a number of years.

The Ladwigs later moved to London and soon established themselves as leaders in the United Kingdom (UK) Trojan community. Both of them have served as president of the London alumni club, and Jennifer was a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors from 2012 to 2015.

For more than a decade, the Ladwigs have played a vital role in bringing Trojans together in the UK. In 2012, Jennifer helped organize a reception for the USC athletes competing in the London Olympics. During Walter’s tenure as the club president, UK student applications to USC increased significantly, due in part to alumni recruiting efforts; this increase in student applications led to the opening of USC’s London office in 2018.

Supporting USC students is a top priority for the Ladwigs. Jennifer frequently hosts career and industry talks for students. The couple also support scholarships enabling current USC students from the School of International Relations and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy to pursue government and nonprofit internships.

When not volunteering for USC, Jennifer is a partner at Q5, where she leads the firm’s organization development and culture practice. She also holds an MBA from London Business School and is an accredited executive coach. Walter, meanwhile, is an associate professor of international relations at King’s College London and an associate fellow in Asian Security at the Royal United Services Institution, the UK’s oldest think tank.

Janet Harris Tonkovich ’64

Janet Harris Tonkovich ’64

Janet Harris Tonkovich is a third-generation Californian and Trojan. Her local family history dates to the birth of her maternal grandmother, Ruth Dallman Launer, in 1892. When Launer graduated from USC in 1916, she purchased her graduation gown—and launched a family tradition. Since that time, family members have worn that gown in more than 40 USC graduation ceremonies.

The proud parent of three USC alumni—Diane ’92, Matt ’93 and Greg ’94, MS ’01—Tonkovich became an active volunteer in Greek life while her children attended USC. Most notably, she served as the president of both the Intersorority and Interfraternity Parents clubs, as well as a representative to the Greek Coordinating Council. In recognition of her outstanding service, the Greek honor society Order of Omega presented Tonkovich the John Hubbard Award for Continued Alumni Leadership.

Tonkovich has also devoted her energies to the university’s alumnae (women’s) groups. She served on the Alumnae Coordinating Council and as president of the Trojan Guild of Orange County. Her other affiliations include Town & Gown of USC and Trojan League of Orange County.

An enthusiastic member of the Half Century Trojans (HCT) Board of Directors since 2015, Tonkovich served as board president during the 2020-2021 academic year. She previously served as the HCT recording secretary.

A USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences alumna, Tonkovich received the Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award for dedicated service in 1994. Earlier this year, she was elected to the Skull and Dagger Society, USC’s oldest honor society.

About the Award

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.

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.

We are pleased to recognize the 2021 Volunteer Organization of the Year honoree:

USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association

Known as the “voice for the Asian Pacific Trojans worldwide,” the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association (APAA) has grown from a small group of volunteers raising student scholarship funds into one of the university’s most dynamic and diverse alumni organizations. APAA engages alumni and supporters through programming and events that celebrate the legacy and achievements of the Asian Pacific Trojan Family. These events run the gamut from professional mixers to cultural outings to APAA’s annual gala,  which honors outstanding scholars and distinguished alumni. APAA also collaborates with USC schools and academic units to develop programming on a topics relevant to Asian Pacific Trojans of all ages and backgrounds.

Increasing student scholarship support is central to the APAA mission. Over the years, APAA has grown its scholarship endowment to provide financial assistance to more USC students. In the 2020-2021 academic year, APAA awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to 80 USC undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrated a commitment to serving the Asian Pacific community.  APAA leaders and volunteers also serve as mentors and trusted advisors to current students, as well as to young alumni.

Outreach is another top priority for APAA, which has established thriving volunteer committees in the Bay Area and Orange County to keep local Trojan connected to one another and engaged with USC. APAA volunteers have also strengthened ties with alumni across the United States and internationally, especially throughout Southeast Asia. In addition, APAA’s Young Alumni Council (YAC) provides opportunities and resources for alumni age 35 and younger to build their personal and professional networks.

Next year, APAA will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its founding.

Volunteer Friend of the Year Award

We are pleased to recognize the 2021 Volunteer Friend of the Year honoree:

Kim Thomas Barrios Headshot

Kim Barrios-Thomas ’84
Associate Senior Vice President of USC Educational Partnerships

Kim Thomas-Barrios serves under USC University Relations as associate senior vice president of USC Educational Partnerships.

Thomas-Barrios, who has worked in education for more than 38 years, was hired in 2002 to direct the USC Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative (USC McMorrow NAI). She continues to manage the initiative, which is among the seven programs and initiatives in the portfolio of the USC Educational Partnerships department.

The USC McMorrow NAI is a university-developed college access and success program focused on the South and East Los Angeles neighborhoods where USC’s two major campuses reside. Eligibility for the program begins in the 6th grade for students (scholars) who attend partner schools in the community. Those who complete the 7-year program and are accepted to USC as freshmen or transfer students are eligible for a fully funded financial aid package. Since USC McMorrow NAI’s first graduating class in 1997, over 1,300 scholars have graduated the program and received acceptances to college. Over 80% start as freshmen at four-year colleges, and over 40% have attended USC as freshmen or transfer students.

In addition to the USC McMorrow NAI, Thomas-Barrios manages the USC Family of Schools network, the USC Community Computing Center, the USC Kid Watch program, the USC Kinder2College program, the USC Science Equipment Loan Program, and other USC outreach initiatives to the immediate community.

Thomas-Barrios began her career as a secondary science teacher at middle and high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She earned a BA in psychology from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

About the 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.

See you on the 26th!

Widney Alumni House Volunteer Awards
We are pleased to recognize the 2021 Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award honorees:

Amy Alderfer Headshot

Amy Alderfer JD ’99

USC Gould Alumni Association Executive Committee
USC Alumni Association Board of Governors

Marissa Borjon Headshot

Marissa Borjon MA ’10

USC Annenberg Alumni Advisory Board
USC Alumni Regional Leader-Texas

Bob Campos Headshot

Robert Campos ’91

USC Interfraternity Parents Council Board
USC Latino Alumni Association Board of Directors
USC Trojan Marching Band Alumni Association Board of Directors

Priya Rana Kapoor Headshot

Priya Rana Kapoor ’93, MFTH ’06

USC Alumni Association Board of Governors
USC Dornsife Gateway Internship Mentor Program

Chris Lord Headshot

Chris Lord ’90

USC Marshall MBA Program Career Coach/Mentor
USC Marshall Master of Business for Veterans Executive Partners, Chairman

David Moreno Headshot

David Moreno ’16

USC Dornsife Alumni Advisory Council
USC Latino Alumni Association Young Leaders Council
USC Young Alumni Council


Ann Chambers Palmer ’75

Town & Gown of USC
Trojan Affiliates
Trojan Guild of Los Angeles

Charlene Shimada Headshot

Charlene Shimada ’91, EdD ’19

USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors
USC Alumni Association Board of Governors

Updated Victoria Graveline Waiss - Widney 2021

Victoria Graveline Waiss ’91

Class of 1991 30th Reunion Committee Co-Chair
USC Marshall Alumni Association Board of Directors – Orange County Region
USC Marshall Volunteer Leadership Council

View More:

Cheri Lall Wechsler ’82, MS ’86

Alumnae Coordinating Council
Intersorority Parents Council
Trojan League of Orange County

Past Honorees

2020 Digital Program

If you are looking for information about the Alumni Leadership Conference, click here.

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