Alan I. Casden ’68, whose “magnificent gift for USC and all Americans” will rename the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life.

Getting Back to His Roots

Reflecting his own interests and heritage, Alan Casden ’68 gives $10.6 million to Accounting, the Lusk Center and the College.

BEVERLY HILLS REAL ESTATE developer Alan I. Casden has donated $10.6 million to USC, to be used to endow the Alan Casden Dean’s Chair at the USC Leventhal School of Accounting; to create a major real estate forecast study within the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate; and to endow the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
“This is a magnificent gift for USC and all Americans – especially for those of us who live in Southern California,” said President Steven B. Sample.
“Alan Casden has been a creative force in the areas embraced by this gift and has made a significant contribution throughout our region. We are grateful to him for his generosity and proud of him as a member of USC’s Trojan Family.”
Casden, whose company is one of the nation’s largest developers of residential property, is a member of the USC Board of Trustees. His gift mirrors his own interests in business and humanitarian endeavors.
His endowment of the dean’s chair in accounting acknowledges the roots of his business career, which began when he graduated cum laude from the USC Leventhal School in 1968.
The gift to support the Lusk Center will be used primarily to establish an annual real estate economics forecast that will measure the health of Southern California real estate and predict the market’s directions. The Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast will include economic indicators, statistics and other market factors for the area, tracking both residential and non-residential real estate. The Lusk Center, whose students and faculty conduct real estate research, is operated jointly by the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

A MAJOR PORTION of the gift will be used to support USC’s three-year-old Institute for the Study of Jews in American Life, which has fostered scholarship on the important position of Jews in American society, particularly in the West. Renamed the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, it will serve as a focal point for enhancing respect and mutual understanding among Jews and others of all faiths and creeds throughout the world.
“USC has a tradition of promoting diversity and tolerance,” he said. “As the university’s participation in the scholarly study of the 150 years of Jewish leadership in the building of the West intensifies, we will gain a much clearer picture of that history and its implications for the evolution of the western United States in the 21st century. I am grateful to be able to contribute to the growth of that knowledge.”
Casden has been widely honored by government and civic organizations in Los Angeles, across the nation and in Israel. Los Angeles County gave him its Leader-ship Award for his efforts in pioneering low-income housing, and the city of Los Angeles presented him with its Beautification Award.
Named a “Friend of Jerusalem” for service to the International Committee for the Jerusalem 3000 celebration, Casden is co-chair of the board of trustees of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international human rights agency with an American constituency of 450,000 families. He was instrumental in creating the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles in 1993, and serves on the boards of Yeshiva University in Los Angeles and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


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Photograph By Michele A.H. Smith

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