Tag: USC

WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie to Be Honored with Statue Outside Staples Center in Los Angeles


WNBA great Lisa Leslie (photo via flickr.com)

WNBA superstar and Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie will be the first female athlete honored with a statue outside of Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Arash Markazi reported the news, writing that the Los Angeles Sparks and Anschutz Entertainment Group still have to iron out the specific date but agreed Leslie will be the 11th statue outside of the famed sports and entertainment arena. Leslie’s statue will also be the first of a WNBA player outside of a team’s home arena.

According to bleacherreport.com, Leslie went to the Sparks in the WNBA’s inaugural draft in 1997 and played her entire career with the team through 2009. During her professional basketball career, Leslie won three league MVPs, two championships, four Olympic gold medals and three All-Star Game MVPs .

Leslie, who was the first WNBA player to dunk in a game, was also named to eight All-Star teams and 12 All-WNBA teams, including eight first-team selections. In addition to her WNBA achievements, she once scored 101 points in a half during a game for Morningside High in Inglewood, and was named first-team all-conference in each of her four seasons at USC.

Leslie will now be forever memorialized alongside statues of Los Angeles legends such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

USC Professor Raphael Bostic Named 1st African American President of a Federal Reserve Regional Bank

Raphael Bostic (photo via latimes.com)

article by Jim Puzzanghera via latimes.com

USC professor Raphael Bostic made history on Monday when he was named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, becoming the first African American to lead one of the Fed’s 12 regional banks. The choice of Bostic, 50, director of the Bedrosian Center on Governance at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, comes after members of Congress and advocacy groups have sharply criticized the central bank for a lack of diversity.

They had pushed for a diverse choice to head the Atlanta region, in part because it has a large African American population. Bostic acknowledged the significance of his appointment, which he said “is a very big deal” that made him the answer to a “Jeopardy” question.

“It’s not lost on me that I …am the first African American to lead a Federal Reserve institution,” he said in a short video released by the Atlanta Fed. “It’s kind of daunting. It’s an overwhelming thought. It’s a tremendous privilege.” “I look forward to this being a stepping stone for many others to have this opportunity as well,” Bostic said.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), who was among four prominent African American House members who urged a diverse choice for the Atlanta position, hailed Bostic as an “outstanding choice” and called his selection a “long-awaited first step towards building diversity among the Federal Reserve’s senior leadership.”

Bostic’s appointment was approved by the Atlanta Fed’s board of directors and the Board of Governors in Washington. He will take over on June 5, succeeding Dennis Lockhart, who announced his resignation in September and stepped down on Feb. 28.

The job involves overseeing about 1,700 employees in the Atlanta region — Alabama, Florida, Georgia and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee — and participating in monetary policy deliberations in Washington.

To read full article, go to: USC professor named first African American president of a Fed regional bank – LA Times

NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann Lynn Swann is Hired by USC as Athletics Program Director

USC's New Athletic Director and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann (photo via
USC’s New Athletic Director and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann (photo via cbsnews.com)

article by Zach Helfand via latimes.com

When former Trojans quarterback Pat Haden was hired as USC’s athletic director in 2010, the university’s marquee sports programs were in deep trouble, having been hammered by NCAA sanctions for rules violations.

On Wednesday, USC chose another of its former football stars, Lynn Swann, to succeed Haden. Swann’s main task — to restore luster to football, USC’s signature sport — will be challenging but not nearly as daunting as that faced by Haden upon his arrival.

Swann, a member of the college and pro football halls of fame, is the third consecutive Trojans football player to lead USC’s athletics program; Haden’s predecessor, Mike Garrett, was a Heisman Trophy-winning running back.

The storied football program, which claims 11 national championships and produces millions in annual revenue, has been in a state of upheaval since former coach Pete Carroll left just before the NCAA imposed its penalties. The Trojans have had four head coaches since Carroll’s departure in 2009 to lead the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

Now, the team has a new coach, Clay Helton, who is under a long-term contract and again has all its scholarships, plus a relatively new state-of-the-art football facility and a home field that will be undergoing a $270-million face-lift.

Swann’s appointment was announced in a letter from university President C.L. Max Nikias to the campus community on Wednesday. In it, Nikias predicted Swann would “bring the heart and soul of a Trojan to his position.”

Swann, 64, will be formally introduced during a news conference on campus Thursday morning. In a statement released after Nikias’ announcement, Swann said his goals for USC athletes would be to “graduate, to win and to experience.”

Swann was a star receiver for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, but his experience in major college administration, or lack thereof, drew substantial criticism in the wake of USC’s announcement. Yahoo sports columnist Pat Forde referred to USC as “The University of Self Congratulation.” Another noted that he couldn’t find that the former Pittsburgh Steelers star had “been doing anything the past decade.”

Walden University Names Its School of Social Work in Honor of Dr. Barbara Solomon

Dr. Barbara Solomon (photo via news.usc.edu)
Dr. Barbara Solomon (photo via news.usc.edu)

article via jbhe.com

Walden University, headquartered in Minneapolis, enrolls more than 52,000 students in over 80 online degree programs. The university has renamed its School of Social Work and Human Services in honor of Barbara Solomon. The university has also named a scholarship program for Dr. Solomon. These scholarships are earmarked for students who have shown a commitment to helping underserved populations.

Dr. Solomon played a major role in the development of the social work program at Walden University. Earlier in her career, she was professor, vice provost, and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She served on the faculty at the University of Southern California from 1966 to 2004. Dr. Solomon was the first African American to serve as dean at USC. Professor Solomon is the author of Black Empowerment: Social Work in Oppressed Communities (Columbia University Press, 1977).

Professor Solomon is a magna cum laude graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C. She holds a master of social work degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Southern California.

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/02/walden-university-names-its-school-of-social-work-in-honor-of-barbara-solomon/

Snoop Dogg’s Youth Football League Produces 20 More Division-I Players

Don’t even attempt to front on Snoop Dogg’s Youth Football League.

After last week’s National Signing Day, Snoop’s gridiron program has churned out 20 more Division-I college football players, TMZ Sports is reporting. The group is led by nationally-recruited players such as defensive back Iman Marshall(USC) and Snoop’s own son, Cordell Broadus, a UCLA-bound wide receiver.

“I’m extremely proud to have coached and mentored these young men,” Snoop Youth Football League commissioner Haamid Wadood told TMZ Sports. “I speak on behalf of Snoop and my entire SYFL staff and all the coaches and volunteers. We just want to thank the parents for trusting in us and believing in us in building a foundation for these kids in giving them the opportunity for helping them achieve their goals on becoming a great player and teammates.”

Of course, these committed players will all be trying to work towards an NFL contract, the way that Snoop Youth Football League alum such as running backs Ronnie Hillman and De’Anthony Thomas along with cornerbacks Kam Jackson and Greg Ducre were able to accomplish.

With increasing success, nearly 1,700 players signed up to participate in the rapper’s football program last season alone. A complete list of the 20 Division-I players to come out of Snoop’s league this season could be found below.

  • Cordell Broadus—UCLA
  • Iman Marshall—USC
  • Donzell Roddie—Boise State
  • Kyahva Tezino—San Diego State
  • Jeremy Kelly—San Jose State
  • Damon Wright—Boise State
  • Kameron Powell—Washington State
  • Shawn Wilson—Oregon State
  • Malik Psalms—Cal Berkeley
  • Stanley Norman—Arizona State 
  • Cameron Hayes—Hawaii
  • Kenya Bell—San Jose State
  • Justin Calhoun—Montana State
  • Jeremy Calhoun—Montana State
  • Taj Jones—Idaho State
  • Mike Bell—Fresno State
  • Jericho Flowers—UNLV
  • Kevin Scott—USC
  • Dominique Davis—USC
  • Jaelon Barnwell—Alabama State University

article via bet.com

Festus Ohan, 22, Overcomes Troubled Teen Foster Care Years to Finish College and Earn Acceptance to 7 Top Medical Schools

festusohanHe led a tough life. The odds were stacked against him and, at one time, it did seem that he wouldn’t be able to make it through high school. He, and almost everyone around him, just couldn’t imagine seeing him succeed.

But that is exactly what Festus Ohan, 22, did: he succeeded.  Festus spent his teen years in foster care. He remembers the day his father left him.

“I went to bed in tears, crying, praying, [and] asking God ‘Why did this happen to me?’” Festus says. Over the years, he was passed on from one family to another, so many of them in fact, that even he isn’t sure about the exact number – seven or eight is his best estimate.

All he knows is that the time he spent in the foster care system “was the worst time” in his life. It didn’t help with his education either.

“Early on in high school, I got in trouble for fighting a lot,” Festus says, “and I was in a pre-expulsion contract.”

His ultimate dream was to become a doctor. But the life he was living almost made it impossible for him to keep that dream alive.

Those that were actually supposed to encourage him were the ones that were discouraging him. “Constantly hearing my foster parents throw statistics at me, about there’s only a 1 percent chance that a foster kid will even graduate college, let alone attend professional school, kind of impacted me in a way,” Festus says.

That’s all changed now. Festus is about to graduate from University of California, Riverside with a degree in neuroscience. He’s so good at his studies that, so far, he has been accepted to 7 medical schools all over the country: Northwestern University, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of California, San Francisco, University of Houston, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Southern California.

But Festus has made up his mind; he’s headed to UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine where he has been offered a fellowship that covers all expenses.

“I actually start Aug. 4, so I’ll have like a 6-week break,” Festus says, “but I’m excited for the next step in my journey.”

article by Liku Zelleke via themedicalblog.net

USC Offers Full-Ride Scholarships To Low-Income Students Who Commit to 7-year Program of Tutoring, Classes and Seminars

Tristan Baizar, Neighborhood Academic Initiative scholarship recipient, in his new dorm room, hugs his mother, Malva Yorke.

Flush with excitement, Tristan Baizar showed up on his USC move-in day even before the official 8 a.m. check-in time. His mom and girlfriend helped him unpack. It was a quick process — from past camps and programs, the 18-year-old South Los Angeles resident knew how to move into USC’s dorms. Except this was the real deal, the first step into his freshman year of college. Baizar met his new roommates, bought textbooks and soaked in the experience.

But later in the day, a few hours before his first dorm meeting, Baizar slipped away from campus. He drove across town to a small elementary school in Boyle Heights and an auditorium full of sixth-graders and their parents.  Baizar stood at the front of the room and flashed a smile. He hoped his presence would help pitch the program he credits for his new Trojan education.

More than two decades ago, USC designed a way to give low-income students in South Los Angeles a chance to attend the private university, free of charge, if they met several conditions.  Currently, students commit to a seven-year regimen of after-school tutoring and classes on Saturdays. Beginning in ninth grade, students also have to take weekday morning classes at USC. Parents must attend Saturday seminars.

Those who stay with the program from sixth grade through their senior year of high school and meet USC admission requirements receive a 4 1/2-year tuition scholarship to the university. The scholarship money applies only to USC, but officials say the program motivates students to attend four-year schools.  The first class of students graduated from the program in 1997. Of those original 43 graduates, 20 went to USC.

Today, the Neighborhood Academic Initiative boasts 745 graduates and a 99% graduation rate from the program, with 83% enrolling as freshmen at four-year colleges and universities and 35% as freshmen at USC.  About five years ago, officials began looking to move the program beyond South Los Angeles for the first time.

To the northeast sits USC’s 79-acre Health Sciences Campus. USC already had long-standing relationships with several neighborhood schools, said Kim Thomas-Barrios, executive director of USC Educational Partnerships.  “Logically, that was the best place for us to expand,” Thomas-Barrios said.  When USC officials approached the principals of Murchison and El Sereno elementary schools to determine interest in the program, they quickly agreed.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our community,” said Margarita Gutierrez, the principal of Murchison.

Most families in the area live at or below the poverty line, and almost all of the students qualify for free- or reduced- priced lunch. Gutierrez said parent participation is low — so she was thrilled when two-thirds of sixth-grade parents showed up for an informational meeting last month.

Program manager Isabel Duenas, who took attendance at the meeting, entered the program as a sixth-grader at Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Middle School in L.A.’s Mid-City neighborhood. When she was in high school, her family moved to Lynwood, and she commuted to classes at USC to keep her spot.

It paid off: She earned the scholarship to USC and graduated in 2010. She’s among the growing pool of graduates who return as teachers, mentors or coordinators.  Duenas will be busy the next few months. The East L.A. branch of the program is slated to launch Jan. 25, and before that, she’ll spend her time convincing students and parents to sign up, as she and eight other program graduates did at the meeting.

Baizar, the tallest, stood in the middle of the line of graduates. It seemed as if time had barely passed since he heard the same presentation as an overly talkative fifth-grader.  At the time, he had some taste of what to expect. His older sister also graduated from the program, falling short of the USC scholarship but doing well enough to attend Loyola Marymount. His mother, Malva Yorke, a single parent, had attended the years of Saturday seminars.

Baizar battled a lack of motivation at first. He got a few D’s and F’s midway through sixth grade and barely clung to his spot in the program. After that, he vowed he’d never get anything below a C.  When Baizar graduated from James A. Foshay Learning Center in South L.A. in the spring, he had a 3.7 GPA and a 1650 SAT score — good enough for admission to USC.  Baizar said the program gave him a shot at a campus that was probably otherwise out of reach.  “I feel like I would have been at a good university, like UC Irvine or Cal State Long Beach, but not as well-funded,” Baizar said. “I don’t believe USC would have been a possibility.”

His girlfriend, fellow program graduate Jessica Alcazar, wasn’t accepted to USC. But she described the process as a “win-win,” saying the classes and mentoring kept her grades high enough to earn admission to UC Irvine.  After the presentation at Murchison, excited chatter bounced around the auditorium as parents and students filled out applications. All 66 sixth-graders at Murchison will be able to participate, as well as 35 more from El Sereno Elementary. Officials said the program will eventually expand to about 600 students in East L.A.

Parent Morena Gonzales was all smiles. She said her oldest child finished only high school, and she didn’t pressure her to continue out of concern about costs.  “As a single parent, I wouldn’t even begin to figure out how to pay for my child’s education,” she said in Spanish. “My whole perspective has changed — I’m looking forward to learning more.”  After the meeting, her daughter Lilia, 11, said she wants to go to USC.

article by Devin Kelly via latimes.com

Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine Donate $70M for New Arts and Technology Center at USC

Music industry entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine, left, and hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre at a Grammy Party in Los Angeles. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, and Iovine have donated a combined $70 million to create a new institute at the University of Southern California, the school announced Tuesday, May 14. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP, file)
Music industry entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine, left, and hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre at a Grammy Party in Los Angeles. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, and Iovine have donated a combined $70 million to create a new institute at the University of Southern California, the school announced Tuesday, May 14. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, and music industry entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine have donated a combined $70 million to create a new institute at the University of Southern California, the school announced Tuesday night.

The huge gift from the two who have been music business partners in the past will be used to create the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

The academy will provide a special four-year program for undergraduates whose interests span several fields from marketing to computer science to visual design and other arts. It will include one-on-one faculty mentoring with professors from programs around the university and interaction with entertainment industry luminaries.

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