s a member of the second class of Trustee Scholars, Norm Wilky arrived at USC in 1964 with the opportunity to shape the future of the university’s most prestigious scholarship program. With only 10 students, the program lacked the organization and clout it enjoys today on campus.
“Nobody knew who we were or what the program was all about,” Wilky says. But he and the other Trustee Scholars quickly became campus leaders and accomplished scholars, ensuring the future success of the program.
Now a lawyer in commercial litigation living in Long Beach, Wilky involved himself in student affairs and government at USC, becoming the student body vice president as well as president of his fraternity. It was in his role as student body vice president that he recalls having his greatest impact on the university: Wilky was instrumental in establishing the Song Girls.
“Back then, we had only male cheerleaders and no Song Girls,” he says. “So in my senior year I was the principal draftsman of the proposal which led to having Song Girls at basketball games for one season, on a trial basis.” From there, of course, the campus community embraced the idea, and now the Song Girls are a tradition at many USC sporting events.
Wilky talks about the Trustee Scholar program – loosely organized at the time – as comprised of a few gatherings, including a dinner or two thrown by a university vice president. What he remembers and values most are the students he met.
“I met people through the Trustee Scholars program I otherwise wouldn’t have met,” he says.
Of course, having “Trustee Scholar” appear on his resume probably didn’t hurt his chances of getting into Harvard, where he went to law school.



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