In Memoriam


Edward Zapanta


Edward Zapanta MD ’63, Los Angeles neurosurgeon, first Latino member of the USC Board of Trustees and a founder and fundraiser for the school’s highly successful Mexican American Alumni Association, died Feb. 3, 2002, in Pasadena, of a malignant brain tumor. He was 63.

Prominent in business and community circles as well as education, Zapanta took his seat on the USC board in 1984.

Zapanta was a trustee during “one of the most exciting and productive times in our university’s history,” said President Steven B. Sample. “He brought both knowledge and wisdom to our deliberations and was an extraordinarily effective catalyst in helping us to reach sound judgments.”

Since 1988, Zapanta had also served on the board of the James Irvine Foundation, which in November 2001 endowed the Edward Zapanta Scholarship, enabling Latino and other students in economic need to attend the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

The USC Mexican American Alumni Association, which Zapanta and seven others founded in 1974, is now the largest organization of its kind in the nation, USC officials said. The group has awarded more than 5,000 scholarships totaling more than $8.8 million. Zapanta received an Alumni Merit award from the USC Alumni Association in 1988 for his efforts in mentoring young people.

Edward Zapanta graduated from the Keck School in 1963, and 25 years later was named its alumnus of the year. After serving two years as a captain in the Air Force stationed at Clark Hospital in the Philippines, Zapanta completed his residency in neurological surgery at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.

In private practice, he founded and served as chairman of the board and medical director of Universal Medi-Co, Southern California Physicians Medical Group and Zapanta Medical Group. Since 1992 he had been senior medical director at HealthCare Partners medical group. He was a clinical professor of neurological surgery at the Keck School and served on its boards of overseers and the board of USC Care Medical Group Inc.

Zapanta is survived by his wife, Norene Murray Zapanta; four children, Michael, Stacey and Timothy Zapanta and Jennifer McGibbons; and his brother, Richard. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made either to the Edward Zapanta Medical Scholarship Fund, Keck School of Medicine, USC-MAAA, Student Union Building #203, Los Angeles, CA 90089-4890 or to St. Francis High School, 200 Foothill Blvd., La Canada-Flintridge, CA 91011
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