USC trustee and USC East College Prep donor Lydia H. Kennard speaks during the dedication of East College Prep in 2015. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)


Trustee Lydia Kennard’s gift will boost renovation at USC East College Prep

New funding goes to charter high school preparing students for success at college and beyond

April 25, 2016 Ross Brenneman

A gift from USC Trustee Lydia Helen Kennard will help revitalize and renovate USC East College Prep, one of two charter schools operated through a partnership between the USC Rossier School of Education and Ednovate Inc., the charter management organization it founded.

Kennard’s gift of $40,000, together with a 4-to-1 matching gift from The Intermec Foundation, will provide $200,000 in new funding for the innovative charter school. With this latest gift, Kennard’s total contributions exceed $1 million.

USC East College Prep, located on North Mission Road near the Health Sciences Campus, grooms students for college and career success. It is the second charter high school developed and launched by USC Rossier. The first, USC Hybrid High, now enrolls 450 students in downtown Los Angeles, with its first class of seniors set to graduate in June. Three similar schools are set to open before 2018.

Her most recent gift to our university supports USC East College Prep and will have an immediate impact on the school’s learning environment.

C. L. Max Nikias

“Lydia Kennard is an inspiring leader and a tremendous friend to the USC community,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “Her most recent gift to our university supports USC East College Prep and will have an immediate impact on the school’s learning environment. For years to come, this gift will enrich the educational experience we offer the school’s students.”

Longtime support

Kennard’s long-standing support was instrumental in helping secure a permanent home for USC East College Prep. Other schools in the Ednovate network, like many charter schools across the country, do not have long-term campuses, an aspect that can often strain a school’s operations.

“Lydia’s commitment to education will help to ensure stability for students at a critical moment, both for them and for our young school,” said USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher.

In remarks made at the ribbon cutting for USC East College Prep in October, Kennard emphasized the need to provide students with a strong educational foundation.

“It doesn’t matter who your parents are, what they do for a living, how much money they have, what race, ethnicity, gender or religious background you come from, if you have a great education, you can do whatever you want and follow your dreams,” she said. “The investment in these students is priceless and provides a positive foundation for their futures.”

Kennard is the president and CEO of Los Angeles-based KDG Construction Consulting, and the founding principal of Airport Property Ventures. She is the former executive director of Los Angeles World Airports and has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 2005.

Kennard’s gift helps to advance USC’s $6 billion Campaign for the University of Southern California, one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns in the history of higher education. The campaign has raised more than $5 billion to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and the world.