||KATHERINE B. LOKER has donated $17 million to the university -- $15 million to support hydrocarbon research and $2 million for a new track and field stadium.
These two gifts, announced by President Steven B. Sample, set records at USC: they are the largest ever received by both the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the athletics department.
Altogether, Katherine Loker and her late husband, Donald, have given more than $27 million to the university, placing them among the top five individual benefactors in the history of USC.
The gifts also kick off the final phase of USCs Building on Excellence campaign, which is due to conclude Dec. 31, 2000. The USC Board of Trustees has voted to raise the campaigns goal by $500 million, to $1.5 billion.
Katherine Loker has always been a special friend of USC, Sample said. It is fitting that she be the one to start us on the road to meeting this new challenge. The fact that she is an alumna is especially important, because she embodies the kinds of values we all associate with USC. Her name will remind generations of students and scholars what a dedicated alumna can do for her alma mater.
UNDER ITS SCIENTIFIC director, 1994 Nobel Laureate George A. Olah, the Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences has become the worlds leading research center in its field.
Morton Owen Schapiro, dean of the college, said: When I became dean, I quickly realized what Mrs. Loker has known for a very long time -- that the ground-breaking research being undertaken by Dr. Olah and the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute is some of the most exciting science conducted anywhere in the world. Her extraordinarily generous gift will ensure that this work will continue as far into the future as anyone can imagine.
Katherine Loker and her late husband were the principal contributors to the establishment of the institute in 1977, and they personally endowed a chair for Olah, who was recruited to USC the year the institute was founded. Through a subsequent gift, she funded development and construction of the institutes Katherine Bogdanovich Loker Wing.
When Olah heard that he had won a Nobel Prize in 1994, Katherine Loker was the first person he called with the news, and she participated in the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm. I think Mrs. Loker is the most wonderful, generous, foresighted lady, Olah told the press at the time. She has supported our institute since its inception. She believes in what we are doing.
The institutes achievements have been published in nearly a thousand scientific papers, a series of books and dozens of patents. Practical results of the institutes research include a method to make improved high-octane unleaded gasoline in an environmentally safe way, thus helping to clean the air in the Los Angeles basin. Other patents resulting from institute research have applications in energy, industrial chemistry, and pharmaceuticals. A new liquid-fuel-powered fuel cell developed by the institute in cooperation with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is now under practical development.
KATHERINE LOKER'S $2 million donation to the athletics department will enable the university to construct the Katherine B. Loker Track and Field Stadium, which will be a major venue for track and field events.
We are as thrilled with the fact that the stadium will bear her name as we are with the funds that make it possible to begin construction on a new track and field stadium, said athletics director Mike Garrett. USC can claim a number of great women athletes, including many Olympians, and now we will have a world-class venue for track and field that bears the name of a woman. I think that will be inspiring to all our students, but especially our women students.
Garrett said that Loker is a loyal supporter of track and field at USC. She is a great fan and wonderful for the morale of our young athletes. She attends track and field events on a regular basis. Her enthusiasm is contagious.
Plans are to create a 3,000-seat stadium on Cromwell Field that will house both mens and womens track and field offices and locker room facilities, with storage facilities under the stadium that will serve a variety of sports. Concession stands and rest rooms will be built at both ends of the stadium, and the area will be re-landscaped to provide an attractive public walkway with an archway at the entrance.
USCs heritage in track and field includes 26 NCAA mens titles in the 76-year history of NCAA outdoor track, plus two indoor NCAA titles and 31 Pac-10 crowns. The womens cross-country program at USC has developed into one of the nations finest. Trojans have placed in the Top 10 of the NCAA Championships five times. The 1996 squad won the Pac-10 title and placed seventh in the NCAA finals.
KATHERINE LOKER has been intimately associated with USC and, in particular, the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, for more than 50 years. As an undergraduate, she was active in intercollegiate athletics and graduated as an English major in 1940. Shortly thereafter, she married Donald P. Loker, a well-known stage and screen actor who later became a vice president of the StarKist Foods Company, an organization founded by her father in 1917.
In view of her exceptional contributions to the community through the research of the Loker Institute and other activities, Katherine Loker received an honorary doctorate from USC in 1997. She has received the Asa V. Call Award, the USC Alumni Associations highest honor, as well as a Raubenheimer Award from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She is a Presidential Associate, a member of the Board of Councilors of the college. a life member of Town and Gown and a member of the San Diego Trojan League.
She also has served as a trustee and foundation member of the California Science Center of Los Angeles, a member of the foundation board of the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, and a founding member of the Los Angeles Music Center. She is an avid supporter of the Donald P. Loker Cancer Treatment Center at the California Hospital Medical Center, Los Angeles.