The Board of Trustees at the University of Southern California

Data compiled by Daniel Brandt in 1978-1979; introduction written in 2001.

Globalization is the concern today, while during the 1970s the problem was "half globalization." At that time the Cold War was still on, and half of the world was denied to the oligarchs that one typically finds at a private university in America, such as the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. What the USC trustees lacked in profits from denied areas was compensated for by profiteering from the defense budget.

This list was compiled when I asked for a copy of USC's investment portfolio in 1978, and discovered that not only was it secret, but that no one before me had even bothered to ask. Initially I was interested in the divestment campaign that was gaining strength on many campuses over the issue of corporations that did business in apartheid South Africa. It soon became a question of whether some USC trustees were secretly profiteering from USC at a time when tuition was skyrocketing.

The portfolio wasn't casually secret; it was Top Secret. I got my congressman, Ron Dellums, to write a letter to Yvonne Burke, who was a former congresswoman and the only African-American on the USC board. She couldn't get the portfolio either. Her reply to Dellums dated June 19, 1979 states that "I have been advised by USC that they do not release the list of their individual corporation investments and that this is based upon an opinion of counsel.... I have been a member of the Board of Trustees of USC for over three years and I have never known of anytime that that information was made available to the Trustees."

According to a national coordinator of one South African divestment campaign, he had never before heard of a secret portfolio at a major university. I asked William Sloane Coffin, who was former CIA and also in Skull and Bones, and was a famous antiwar activist and chaplain at Yale, about how they got the portfolio at that CIA-infested campus. It was easy, he said -- they just asked for it. Clearly something was amiss at USC.

( If you think that secret scams are no longer possible in our new Information Age, check out the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). They manage $11 billion in UT endowment money, and a lot of it ends up in the corporations of UTIMCO's board. Since the University of Texas is a public institution, this scam required a close relationship with governor George W. Bush and friends.)

Whether cronyism is public-sector or private-sector makes little difference. Even a private university gets massive tax breaks and other perks (such as imminent domain, student aid, etc.) from the taxpayers. The IRS also has explicit prohibitions against "self-dealing" by managers of tax-exempt organizations. But such debating points should be of interest only to pre-law majors; the only things that count in the real world are social connections and money. Today, class, it's time to learn how to spell the words, "Banana Republic."

What about USC today? I moved to the Washington, DC area in 1982 so that I could be ignored by bigger fish, and lost interest in USC. A former professor wrote me in 1986 that the new president, James Zumberge, "prides himself on having an open office, and many of the more closed-minded trustees have retired or died. The Student Senate, for example, in its recent vote to support total divestment in South Africa, had no trouble getting from the Administration a list of USC investments in companies doing business in South Africa."

Sure enough, something had changed. I pulled a 1984-85 list of trustees from a USC catalog at a local library, and almost half of the 48 names were new to me. For a self-perpetuating body, that's a substantial change over a six-year period. My guess is that the 1990s economic boom has reversed this trend by now, and that the portfolio may once again be secret. Anyone care to pick up where I left off?

Surnames of USC trustees are in bold letters.
* means member of the Finance Committee.
The list of trustees was current as of May, 1979.

Board Officers

Fluor, J. Robert (Chairman)

Dart, Justin (Vice Chairman)

Firestone, Leonard K. (Vice Chairman)

Fisher, Montgomery Rose (Vice Chairman)

Ramo, Virginia (Vice Chairman)

Watt, Raymond A. (Vice Chairman)

Marshall, Gordon S. (Secretary)

* Shumway, Forrest N. (Treasurer)

Other Board Members

Annenberg, Wallis

Arnold, Anna Bing

Boyd, Howard

Brown, Robert A., Jr.

Burke, Yvonne Brathwaite

Carlson, Edward E.

Clarke, Eugene C. -- Redondo Beach

* Cummings, Theodore E. -- Beverly Hills

* Davidson, Davre J.

Elmore, John J.

Galpin, Kennedy B.

Green, Marshall A.

* Hartnack, Carl E.

Hazeltine, Herbert S., Jr.

Herbert, Gavin S.

* Horton, Jack K.

Hough, Gordon L.

Hubbard, John R. (President)

Jenkins, George P.

* King, Frank L.

Lawrence, Richard H.

Leventhal, Kenneth

McCone, John A.

* Miller, Paul A.

Pardee, J. Douglas

* Probst, Walter F.

Rockwell, Willard F., Jr. or "Al"

Salvatori, Henry

* Scharffenberger, George T.

Seaver, Mrs. Frank R. or "Blanche"

Topping, Norman H. (Chancellor)

Trousdale, Paul W.

Wilson, John C., Jr., M.D.

Wood, Robert D.

Life Trustees

Brooker, Robert E.

Hornby, Robert A.

Keith, Willard W. -- Los Angeles

Mullendore, William C.

Thornton, Charles B. or "Tex"

Wilson, Gwynn

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