The 2017 USC Alumni Awards Salute Seven Outstanding Trojans

Rick Caruso is recognized with the university’s highest alumni honor.

June 13, 2017 USC Trojan Family Magazine staff

The 84th Alumni Awards gala was a night to remember as USC alumni, friends and supporters gathered to pay tribute to seven outstanding members of the Trojan Family. The annual event recognizes notable alumni whose achievements bring honor and distinction to the university.



The university’s highest alumni honor, this award recognizes Trojans who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to USC.

Rick J. Caruso ’80
Founder and CEO, Caruso; founder, the Caruso Family Foundation
A highly respected civic leader, philanthropist and real estate visionary, USC Trustee Rick Caruso has decades of hands-on experience in public service. In 1991, he founded the Caruso Family Foundation, which is committed to improving the lives of at-risk children in Los Angeles. In 2015, he and his wife, Tina, gave $25 million to endow and name the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. A previous naming gift from the family established the USC Caruso Catholic Center.



This award recognizes noteworthy alumni whose accomplishments reflect the range and quality of a USC education.

Wanda M. Austin PhD ’88
Former president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corp.
Wanda M. Austin, a USC trustee, is internationally recognized for her work in satellite and payload system acquisition, systems engineering and system simulation. Austin retired in 2016 and has received numerous awards and citations over her career, including the National Intelligence Medallion for Meritorious Service, the Air Force Scroll of Achievement and the National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal.

Grant Gershon ’85
Artistic director, Los Angeles Master Chorale; resident conductor, LA Opera
Hailed for his bold artistic leadership, Grant Gershon has led more than 100 Master Chorale performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall during his 16-year tenure. Gershon is also the resident conductor of LA Opera and made his acclaimed debut with “La Traviata” in 2009. His discography includes Grammy Award-nominated recordings, commercial CDs with the Master Chorale, and live-performance albums.

Wilfred Uytengsu ’83
President and CEO, Alaska Milk Corp.
One of the most admired entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Wilfred Uytengsu heads the country’s leading milk company, serves as the president of GENOSI—a food supplier for the McDonald’s chain—and founded Sunrise Events Inc., a triathlon organizer. In 2012, an $8 million gift from the former Trojans swim team captain named the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.



This award recognizes the achievement of alumni age 35 or younger.

Allyson Felix ’08
Nine-time Olympic medalist
Allyson Felix is the most decorated woman in American track and field history. Since making her Olympics debut in 2004 in Athens, she has won six gold and three silver medals in four Olympic games. Her honors include three Jesse Owens Awards — USA Track & Field’s highest accolade — and the 2006 ESPY Award for Best Female Track Athlete.



This award is presented to alumni who demonstrate outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the university.

Dan Cassidy ’59
Past president, Half Century Trojans Board of Directors; founding partner of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
Daniel Cassidy, a specialist in public sector labor relations and employment law, was elected to the Half Century Trojans Board of Directors in 2006. He is a longtime university volunteer for the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, the USC Price Athenian Society Leadership Council, the USC Athletic Department Board of Counselors and the Spirit of Troy Marching Band Board of Directors.

Vicki McCluggage ’77
Past president, Trojan League of Los Angeles
A former vice president of sales in the television industry, Vicki McCluggage has served on the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Board of Councilors, the USC Associates Board of Directors and the President’s Commission on Alumni Relations. McCluggage also served as president of the Trojan League of Los Angeles and was a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors.