What are some stories of people who have benefited from USC's famed alumni network or 'Trojan Family'?

For USC graduates to fully benefit from the famed "Trojan Family Network", they must engage and participate in one of the many USC Alumni Clubs both here in the US and around the world.  There are 19 Alumni clubs in California alone, 25 in the US outside of California and 22 internationally to a total of 66 worldwide.  These numbers only explain the depth of the official USC Alumni Association and not all of the individual schools, departments, athletic support groups, fraternity & sorority, etc. events that go on constantly around you whether you are aware of them or not.

So almost no matter where you end up after your college days at USC, you can easily find and engage with your fellow USC alumni.  “Lifelong and Worldwide” is our official motto.  I have explained to people that once you graduate from USC, then the real fun begins as you are taught to be a Trojan for Life and thus that unique college experience at USC follows through your career and your entire existence. 

Now success has never attacked anyone, so you just don’t finish with a degree at USC and wait for people to call you with special opportunities such as a job or date.  It
is rare but I do know USC Alumni that for no good reason, don’t take advantage of what USC has to offer after graduation and that is simply foolish.

You have to actively be willing to participate and involve yourself with the tons of opportunities and events that literally happen daily here in Southern California and also around the world, just less frequently everywhere else.  Every USC Alumnus has their own personal story about how they apply for a position and found out during the interview process that the owner of that company also went to USC.  I know that I have many of those.  It is also no accident that they at very least got an interview as that is the most common benefit of being a member of the Trojan Family Network.  It is not a guaranteed job offer but at least you are going to get a shot or a second look and that more than we could ever ask for as USC Alumni. 

What is hard to explain clearly is the wall or barrier that almost completely comes down when you know that you are talking to a fellow USC Alumnus.  The first thing I ask is "Where are their season football seats in the Coliseum?" and "Where do you tailgate on campus or at the Coliseum for home games?"

In my own international travels and also being a USC Student aboard in Italy in 1991 and Asia in 2004, I have seen firsthand how the USC Family comes together to interact and support our own members.  I have engaged with other USC Alumni in faraway places as Colombia, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, China and South Korea, and these events were not part of the official USC Alumni clubs.

Some of my other stories of benefits that came to me personally as a direct result of being part of the USC Trojan Family Network:

  1. A USC alumnus gave me the name of his former USC roommate who was an Architect.  I got a summer internship working on the architectural design team for what was then the largest Architecture & Engineering firm in the world at the time called DMJM, now AE.com.
  2. During another Summer I was an intern building inspector for FEMA and during my inspection of the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena, I was not getting much cooperation from the guy showing me around.  That was until I noticed his USC class ring and then the whole conversation changed around and he could not wait to show me everything especially those areas off limits to guests.
  3. I got my first job out of Architecture school working for Walt Disney Imagineering designing parts of Euro-Disneyland in Paris as a direct result of meeting a USC alumnus that worked there, when I helped him jump his car with a dead battery.
  4. When I was trying to make my transition from an Architect to work in the Real Estate Development field, my first huge break came as a result of meeting a woman who husband was a Trojan and that lead to my successful career change.
  5. I was trying to put a deal together with a broker in Colorado who happened to a member of the Trojan Family.  I had only talked to this guy over the phone for a few weeks but he explains that he was coming to back to LA for a visit and to attend a fundraiser and would I live to go with him?  The event was at the Playboy mansion.  Fun, fun night.
  6. I was at a USC Sports support group dinner in Orange County and we were closing the event out when I started to chat up the guest speaker, a USC Football legend named Craig Fertig.  He asked me since I used to work for Disney, if I had ever been to their secret Club 33 at Disneyland?  I explained that I had not and then he arranged to let me use his passes.
  7. My then girlfriend and I were looking to rent an apartment right at the beach in Playa del Rey while I was in the middle of graduate school at USC.  The landlord’s son was just about to graduate from USC also.  We got the apartment and a great deal on the rent and stay at the building for almost a decade with a great ocean view.
  8. I recall being at a bar in Newport Beach next to the marina in Orange County and I randomly met these other Trojans and within an hour, I am on their very nice and fairly large boat putting around the marina with a cocktail in my hand.
  9. One of my closest USC friends happens to be a commercial pilot for a major airline, so not only did I get a free ticket and all of the booze and snacks I wanted for a trip to NYC to watch the Trojans play football but he was the actual pilot flying that plane.
  10. I could never count how many meals and cocktail hours were comped by some other USC guy when he found out that I was a Trojan also.

So yes, USC Trojan Family membership does have its privileges.  I know I have more stories but I will go with these for now…

4 Replies to “What are some stories of people who have benefited from USC's famed alumni network or 'Trojan Family'?”

  1. While far from as comprehensive as Michael’s answer, I’d be happy to throw a few stories in…

    As with Michael, I’m one of the benefactors of the Trojan Family. I earned my Masters degree from USC Annenberg and, a few years later, received an email from one of my classmates whom I’d kept in touch with looking for someone to join the university as the central social media manager! It turned out I was looking for a new role and was able to interview and win the position!

    USC’s Trojan Family Magazine profiled Ben Burtt who became an award-winning sound designer after being hired by George Lucas to work on the first Star Wars film.

    Another USC School of Cinematic Arts story – Sev Ohanian, who worked on the film Fruitvale Station after being connected to the director (and fellow USC SCA alum Ryan Coogler) by classmates and professors alike. Sev notes in the linked story that, on one of his film projects, every member of his crew was a USC alum.

    In fact, a future event at USC SCA highlighted five collaborators Ryan Coogler brought in to the Fruitvale Station film, including one from the USC Thornton School of Music.

    Then there’s this Reddit thread of various Trojans all chiming in on how their USC connections helped them “land” jobs.

    As Michael said – the Trojan alumni slogan is Lifelong and Worldwide, and we mean it! #FightOn

  2. I had a crazy 21st birthday because of the Trojan Family. A girl I was seeing at the time had never been to Disneyland and I wanted to take her to Club 33, a members-only club inside the park that is also the only place they serve alcohol. I emailed an alumni who is a fellow Trojan Knight (a spirit and service fraternity at USC). He arranged for us to have dinner with him at the club on my birthday and I got to order my first legal drink at a place few people even know exist! (It was a Pimm’s cup — I really knew nothing about drinking.)

    The Trojan Family is great. Fight On!

    Club 33: Disneyland's Secret $25,000 Dining Club

  3. I went to a career fair for Viterbi. I gave a copy of my resume to every recruiter that wore a pin that said "Trojans hiring Trojans". I received 1 interview for every resume that I handed out that day.

  4. I've heard mostly good things about the benefits of the Trojan network. But, you can't teach a horse to drink, can you?

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