USC Board of Trustees: Nadine Watt

Nadine Watt brings decades of leadership experience from the real estate field to the USC Board of Trustees. (Photo/Anthony Mongiello)


Los Angeles business leader Nadine Watt named to USC Board of Trustees

The USC alumna, following in her grandfather’s footsteps on the board, is proud to be part of a four-generation family of Trojans.

June 05, 2024 By Greg Hernandez

Los Angeles business leader Nadine Watt has been named one of the newest members of USC’s Board of Trustees. Watt brings decades of leadership experience from the real estate field, in addition to years of volunteering with USC entities at multiple levels.

USC President Carol Folt praised Watt’s steadfast commitment to the university and her impressive record of service.

“USC’s Board of Trustees is strengthened by lifelong Trojans like Nadine Watt, who have burnished their family’s enduring legacy through decades of unique service, volunteerism and support to our university,” Folt said. “Nadine’s deep commitment and extensive business expertise are an unbeatable combination. We’re honored she is joining our board to help ensure USC’s continued preeminence in higher education.”

Board of Trustees Chair Suzanne Nora Johnson is excited to see everything Watt brings to her new position.

“Our alumni trustees bring so much dedication, engagement and spirit to our Board of Trustees,” Nora Johnson said. “Nadine brings not only valuable knowledge from her role as president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors, but also valuable experience from her career in real estate development and investment. She follows in the footsteps of her grandfather Raymond Watt, who served on our board from 1968 until his passing in 2009.”

For Watt, becoming a member of the board feels like the culmination of something she has been preparing for all her life.

“My grandfather Ray Watt had been on the board almost since before I was born, so I had been around campus growing up,” said the chief executive officer of Watt Capital Partners. “I come from three generations of Trojans and have a fourth generation at USC now. I bring to the board a sense of tradition.”

Early memories of USC

Watt’s earliest memories of USC are of attending football games, graduation ceremonies and countless events at the Town and Gown Ballroom on the University Park Campus. While she didn’t become a Trojan immediately — she instead earned a bachelor’s degree at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service — Watt returned to Los Angeles and earned a master’s degree in filmmaking from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1994. She then spent several years working for a foreign film sales company before entering the family real estate business nearly 25 years ago.

Watt retained close ties to her alma mater by volunteering with the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and eventually serving as its vice chair. She then served on the Board of Councilors of the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Price School of Public Policy, as well as on the USC Associates Board of Directors. She joined the USC Alumni Association’s Board of Governors and was elected board president in 2022.

“I like how I got to be a part of so many different schools and aspects of the university before joining the board,” Watt said. “I’m coming from being a volunteer and being of service to so many different parts of the university. I feel like I have so much background knowledge and so much history and so much legacy.”

Watt is happy to be joining the board at a time when her oldest daughter is enrolled as an undergraduate at USC.

“I have fervor and passion and want the students to have the sense of the history that I have,” Watt said. “But I also want to see it from their eyes and hear how excited they are about all the things the university is doing. I tell them to really take advantage of their time here and to think about how they can make an impact in the future.”

Watt has found it fulfilling to balance her work as a business leader with her various roles at USC over the years.

“I don’t get to relive my college years, but I get a different, more grown-up perspective of the university,” she said. “You meet so many unique, amazing people with this common thread of caring and who have a passion for the same thing that you do.”

A family of successful Trojans

As head of Watt Cos., Raymond Watt popularized real estate market trends such as strip shopping centers, condominiums, time-share vacation rentals and residential communities with shared amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts.

Nadine Watt’s father, USC alumnus Scott Watt, also has an extensive record of volunteer service that includes serving on the USC Alumni Executive Board of Governors, among other positions. He always wanted his daughter to be involved in the family business with him and his father. While she initially made a two-year commitment to the company, Nadine Watt not only stayed but became president in 2011 and CEO in 2020.

The family’s 75-year-old business has since evolved from being a diversified, full-service real estate company to Watt Capital Partners, which focuses on acquisitions, real estate development and joint venture opportunities. As CEO, Watt oversees the company’s day-to-day activities and strategic planning for all commercial investment activities.

Watt — who lives in Beverly Hills with her husband, Andrew Jameson, and their two daughters — was the first woman to be named chair of the Los Angeles Business Council, a position she held for seven years. She has also previously held board positions on two other publicly traded companies, the New Home Company (NWHM) and 1st Century Bank. She received the Century City Citizen of the Year award in 2017 and the EY (Ernst & Young) Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2018.