USC Board of Trustees: Mark Stevens

Before founding S-Cubed Capital in 2012, Mark Stevens was an associate and then managing partner at Sequoia Capital. (Photo/Nancy Rothstein Photography)


Venture capitalist Mark Stevens returns to USC Board of Trustees

Trojan alumnus brings more than two decades of finance and investment leadership to the board.

June 05, 2024 By Chinyere Cindy Amobi

Venture capitalist and USC alumnus Mark Stevens will begin his second tenure as a member of the USC Board of Trustees this fall. Stevens — who received an honorary doctorate from USC in 2016 — brings more than two decades of finance and investment leadership to the board in addition to a demonstrated dedication to community service within the Trojan Family.

Since Stevens first became a board member more than two decades ago, he and his wife, Mary Stevens, have donated more than $100 million to USC programs and entities across the University Park and Health Sciences campuses. Mark Stevens has also lent his expertise through countless volunteer hours on USC boards and at student events and classes.

“I’m honored Mark is once again bringing his financial acumen, entrepreneurial spirit and rigor to our Board,” USC President Carol Folt said. “Mark and Mary’s wide-reaching support for innovation at USC has long benefited our university — and humanity. It’s their firm commitment to enhancing the Trojan Family — from athletics to campus spiritual life — that’s improved the lives of generations of students. I look forward to Mark’s continued leadership on our board.”

“We are delighted to welcome Mark back as a voting trustee for a second tour of service,” USC Board of Trustees Chair Suzanne Nora Johnson said. “Mark brings invaluable experience in technology, investments and athletics to our board at a critically important time for USC. We look forward to having him continue to play a leadership role on the board.”

“USC over the last 30 years has made tremendous strides in terms of academic research, in addition to its outstanding athletic programs,” Stevens said. “I’ve been off the board three years, and I’m looking forward to coming back now with a fresh perspective on how USC can continue to be one of the top academic institutions in the world.”

Since 2012, Stevens has served as founder and managing partner of S-Cubed Capital, a private family office investment firm. Prior to that, he was an associate and then managing partner at Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm he worked at for 23 years in Menlo Park, Calif.

It was during Stevens’ tenure at Sequoia Capital that former USC President C. L. Max Nikias — then a professor at what was to become the USC Viterbi School of Engineering — reached out to Stevens for help recruiting Silicon Valley companies to support a bid for USC to get an Integrated Media Systems Center from the National Science Foundation. After USC edged out universities such as Columbia University and University of California, Berkeley, for the bid, Stevens became more involved with USC’s engineering school, joining the engineering school’s Board of Councilors in 1998.

Stevens was first invited to join the USC Board of Trustees by former USC President Steven B. Sample in 2001, becoming one of its youngest-ever members. At a time when most board members resided in Los Angeles or the greater Southern California region, he served as a bridge for the university to tap into the burgeoning technological revolution in Silicon Valley. Stevens held this board position until 2021, serving on USC Viterbi fundraising, development and investment committees.

USC roots

Stevens was born and raised in Culver City. By the end of his freshman year at USC, he had switched his major from chemical to electrical engineering. He added a major in economics during his junior year, a move that allowed him to expand his horizons and interact with a wider variety of students and disciplines on campus. He graduated magna cum laude in both bachelor’s degrees in 1981 and returned as a part-time student for a master’s degree in computer engineering from USC in 1984 while working full-time for Intel Corp. in L.A. In 1989, he received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“My experience at USC was very formative for me,” Stevens said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at today in terms of my professional and even personal development without USC. I’ll be forever grateful.”

His reconnection with the university as a USC Viterbi board member and later as a member of the USC Board of Trustees cemented a relationship with USC that has benefited countless students, faculty and staff over the past two decades.

In 2004, a $22 million endowment by Mark and Mary Stevens established the USC Stevens Institute for Technology Commercialization to encourage entrepreneurship and support patent applications at USC Viterbi. In 2007, the institute moved to the Office of the Provost and changed its name to the USC Stevens Center for Innovation to reflect its broader focus to include all academic disciplines and “its new designation as the central resource for managing university-owned intellectual property,” according to the institute’s website.

Gifts, sporting and spiritual

In 2012, the couple donated toward the creation and opening of the USC Caruso Catholic Center, one of the major spiritual hubs on the University Park Campus. As a big USC Trojans supporter, Stevens also donated $10 million to support student-athletes through the Stevens Academic Center.

Three years later, the pair donated $50 million to name the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, which has since produced high-profile research findings and brain imaging technology.

As someone who has spent most of his academic and professional life with USC, Stevens looks forward to continuing to enrich the university community through his volunteer and philanthropic endeavors.

“The Trojan Family is real; it’s a living and breathing organism,” said Stevens, who recalls frequently getting the “Fight On!” symbol from strangers in international airports when sporting his USC gear. “It’s a very special connection and a gateway to the entire world.”