Nancy and Jerry Neely

Nancy and Jerry Neely are longtime USC supporters. (Photo/courtesy of the Neelys)


USC Marshall ethics and leadership center builds on business school’s reputation

Trustee and his wife endow the Jerry and Nancy Neely Institute with a $10 million gift

September 24, 2015 Lynn Lipinski

USC Trustee Jerry Neely ’58 and his wife, Nancy ’61, have endowed the USC Jerry and Nancy Neely Leadership and Ethics Institute at the USC Marshall School of Business with a gift of $10 million. Jerry Neely has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 1981.

The Neely Leadership and Ethics Institute will advance the development of ethical business leadership with the framework of the global economy.

“Jerry and Nancy Neely stand among the university’s most treasured friends, and their outstanding gift will dramatically bolster USC Marshall’s work in the area of leadership and ethics studies,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “This visionary gift also speaks to the Neelys’ personal commitment to nurturing the next generation of ethical leaders, as the institute will be a living laboratory for understanding ethical leadership and finding new ways to develop it.”

Popular areas of study

USC Marshall’s students already count leadership and ethics topics among the most popular areas of study, and the new institute will work with faculty across the university to embed these subjects in the business curriculum for degree students as well as for professionals pursuing executive education or certificates.

The creation of this center of excellence will enable the launch of a suite of innovative new programs.

James G. Ellis

“Through this generous gift, Jerry and Nancy Neely build on USC Marshall’s strong reputation within the study and practice of ethical leadership,” USC Marshall Dean James G. Ellis said. “The creation of this center of excellence will enable the launch of a suite of innovative new programs to bring together the best students, researchers and thought leaders in the field.”

The Neelys have generously supported the university for more than four decades. USC’s Jerry and Nancy Neely Petroleum and Chemical Engineering Building is named in their honor. Jerry Neely is the former chairman and CEO of Smith International Inc., an oil services company.

In 2000, they increased the value of an existing professorship at USC Marshall to create the Jerry and Nancy Neely Chair in American Enterprise. And in 2006, they endowed a second chair at the business school: the Jerry and Nancy Neely Chair in Business Administration. The Neelys also have been longtime supporters of the USC Roski School of Art and Design.

A mentor for USC Marshall students

Their commitment to USC Marshall has been more than just monetary. For many years, Jerry Neely has mentored USC Marshall MBA students through monthly meetings and gatherings. His efforts led to the reinvigoration of The Executive Committee, a mentoring program on campus.

“I cherish my work with the outstanding students at USC Marshall. They are bright, insightful and want to make a difference in the world,” Neely said. “Nancy and I are honored to be able to contribute to their education by helping them prepare for the global and local leadership roles they will take on in years to come.”

The Neelys’ gift supports the Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multi-year effort that seeks to raise $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world. Four years after its launch, the campaign has raised more than $4.5 billion.