On April 19, the USC Black Alumni Association (BAA) held their 30th annual Alumni Awards and Scholarship Benefit Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It was a sold out affair where outstanding alumni were honored for their contributions over the past year.
The honorees included Academy-Award winner Forest Whitaker (EME Award), Assembly Speaker-elect Karen Bass (Outstanding Alumna Award), Los Angeles Sentinel Executive Editor Danny Bakewell, Jr. (Outstanding Alumnus Award) and Melanie Preimesberger, the Associate Director of Multi-Cultural Recruitment & Outreach for USC’s Office of Admission (Barbara Solomon/Faculty Staff Award)
The story of the night was Dr. Verna B. Dauterive, who received the Founder’s Award, as USC President Steven Sample announced that she would be donating $25 million to the school in the honor of her late husband, Peter Dauterive.
It was the largest donation ever given by an African American to a university and the purpose of the gift fit in perfectly with the BAA’s mission of providing scholarships to future African-American students.
Over the past 30 years, the USC BAA, which was founded by Rev. Thomas Kilgore, has donated over $1 million to over 1,400 students and allowed them to pursue their dreams of higher education at one of the nation’s top institutions.
The BAA is currently led by Executive Director Michelle Turner.