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Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

A Trojan for Life

 

— USC — University of Southern California —

 
A Trojan for Life Interpretive Panel image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 29, 2018
1. A Trojan for Life Interpretive Panel
Inscription.  In June 15, 1885, the eight men and women who made up USC’s first two graduating classes gathered in a two-story wooden structure called the University Building to establish an alumni association. The group adopted a temporary constitution and bylaws and elected half its membership to office. George Finley Bovard, ’84, brother of USC’s president and later president of USC himself, served as the organization’s first president. Although it was little more than a social club for graduates of the College of Liberal Arts, known chiefly for the annual reunion banquets it held during Commencement week, this first alumni association helped keep many members of the Trojan Family connected to their alma mater until a university-wide organization—the General Alumni Association—was formed in 1923.

The General Alumni Association (GAA), founded when the university was 43 years old, elicited an immediate response among USC’s growing number of graduates. With President Edward L. Doheny, Jr. (’13) at the helm, its membership climbed to 4,800 in little over a year. The GAA took over publication of the alumni magazine, which had
A Trojan for Life Interpretive Panel image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 29, 2018
2. A Trojan for Life Interpretive Panel
Widney Alumni House is in the background.
been launched in 1917, and organized Trojan Clubs in towns and cities around the country. The association also made its impact felt on campus. In 1924, it inaugurated an annual Homecoming celebration, and over the next decade and a half, devoted considerable time and raised funds to create Alumni Park, the Trojan Shrine (Tommy Trojan) and the Alumni Memorial Pylon and was instrumental in persuading the city to remove the street car lines and utility poles along University Avenue—today’s Trousdale Parkway. Other activities included class reunions; fundraising, including a “Loyalty Fund” to finance its operations and provide support to the university; and job placement services.

After World War II, under the leadership of executive director Arnold Eddy, the GAA bounced back with a flurry of activity, inaugurating many programs that continue today, including various women’s organizations, the USC Clubs, an academic open house and SCions, a group made up of the relatives of USC alumni.

Today, the General Alumni Association assists with student recruitment around the world, generates and awards hundreds of scholarships and continues to sponsor Homecoming, the academic open house and other activities. Members serve as mentors and provide internships for students. Since 1976, the GAA has, fittingly, been headquartered in the university's
Widney Alumni House image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 29, 2018
3. Widney Alumni House
The interpretive panel is just out of frame on the right
first building—now called Widney Alumni House—the same building where USC’s first alumni association had been founded nearly a century earlier.
 
Erected 1996 by USC History Project, USC General Alumni Association. Sponsored by USC Class of 1990.
 
Location. 34° 1.161′ N, 118° 16.969′ W. Marker is in Los Angeles, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is at the intersection of Childs Way and Pardee Way, on the right when traveling east on Childs Way. It is in front of Widney Hall on the campus of the University of Southern California. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Los Angeles CA 90007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Oldest University Building in Southern California (here, next to this marker); John C. Argue Plaza (within shouting distance of this marker); Petrified Tree from the Arizona Forest (within shouting distance of this marker); USC Urban Legends (within shouting distance of this marker); University of Southern California (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Carolyn Craig Franklin Library Garden Courtyard and Fountain (about 400 feet away); Teaching and Learning (approx. 0.2 miles away); Campus Life (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Los Angeles.
 
More about this marker. This marker has a timeline from 1870 to 2000 marking the founding of the General Alumni Association and when GAA moves into Widney Alumni House. It also has a number of illustrations (clockwise from upper left): A lifetime membership certificate card for the General Alumni Association • Class of ’89 U.S.C. June 21, 1889 • “USC’s first building, birthplace of the university’s first alumni association and home of the GAA.” • “Programs from early alumni reunion banquets.” • “A fraternity decorates its house for Homecoming, which the GAA began sponsoring in 1924.” • “Graduation, 1953” • A photograph of students with white or black mortarboards spelling out “Come Home Alums.”
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on January 10, 2019. This page originally submitted on January 6, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 84 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 6, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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