||From its earliest days, a USC education has been a family tradition. Among the members of its first graduating class in 1884 was George FinleyBovard, the brother of its first president, Marion McKinley Bovard. George F. Bovard went on to become USCs fourth president, in 1903. Other early Los Angeles families also sent multiple members to the university. One of these was the Miltimore family, whose daughter Minnie was valedictorian of the first graduating class and whose sisters subsequently attended USC. That tradition continues to this day, with many SCions entering USC as the latest representatives of their own multi-generational Trojan families.
100 YEARS OF TROJAN SPIRIT
hen Robert Chung entered USC as a freshman this past fall, he not only was assuring himself an outstanding education; he was upholding a proud family tradition dating back five generations.
In the 1890s, his paternal great-great grandfather, Wah Jean Lamb, was selected by missionaries in Canton, China, to come to USC to study medicine. Wah Jean earned his medical degree in 1898, and his children, Paul, Faith and John Lamb, attended USC in the 1930s as premed students.
Roberts grandfather, James Alfred Chung, who grew up near the campus, established his own ties to the Trojan Family at an early age, shagging footballs as a preadolescent for the USC football team when it practiced on Bovard Field. He earned the autographs of Howard Jones and John Ferraro for his trouble, then went on to enroll at the university and receive a B.A. in 1949 and an M.D. in 1957. Roberts father, Brian Carroll Chung, earned his B.S. in 1972 and did his residency in oral surgery at USC in 1979, then earned his M.D. from USC in 1981. Roberts cousins, Winnie Nishimini and Terrence Ah-Tye, received degrees in dental hygiene and pharmacy, respectively, in the early 1970s. The only family member to shun a health care-related field altogether was Roberts great-uncle, Richard Lane Tom, who studied in the School of Architecture in the 1950s.
Robert also boasts two generations of Trojans on his mothers side. Although his mother, Suzann Bailey Chung, did not attend the university herself, she grew up in a household steeped in USC traditions. Her father, Phillip Bailey, took advantage of the GI Bill to earn a B.S. in civil engineering and later joined the Trojan Club and became a donor to the School of Engineering.
Dr. and Mrs. James Alfred Chung
Her two sisters, Phyllis Bailey Knutson and Joann Bailey Goltermann, earned USC business degrees in the 1970s. The university also facilitated matchmaking; both sisters met their future husbands on campus, and Roberts father, Brian, first proposed to Suzann at USC.
My sister Joann and her husband accidentally set their wedding date to coincide with the USC-UCLA game,Suzann Chung recalls. We got through the ceremony, but we took turns going out to the parking lot and listening to the game so we could let everyone inside know what was going on.
With such a strong heritage, Robert, not surprisingly, plans to draw from the academic traditions on both sides of his family and go into bioengineering. And he will probably not be the last member of the Chung family to join the Trojan Family. His younger brother, Tommy, has also set his sights on USC, and in a few years, the cycle of achievement will most likely begin all over again.
THREE GENERATIONS STILL GOING STRONGach Thanksgiving, members of the Weiss family are confronted with a dilemma.
While some 15 members of the extended family have attended USC and are diehard fans of Trojan athletics, a small contingent favors the universitys cross-town rival. As a result, a family tradition has evolved: depending on which team wins the USC-UCLA game, the supporters of the losing side have to wear their opponents team colors to Thanksgiving dinner.
Fortunately, cardinal and gold have predominated most years, which may be one reason why USC was freshman Adam Weiss top college choice.
He applied to five schools and got into all five,says his mother, Valerie Weiss (74 and MPA, 81). He heard first from the other four and was waiting to hear from USC. The minute he got in, he was ecstatic.
Of course, his enthusiasm may also have had something to do with the ten years his family went to SCamp. Or the family tradition of attending USC that dates back to his maternal grandparents, Marshall Gumbiner (Law, 42) and Sally Frank Gumbiner, who attended the university from 1945 to 1947, and a great-uncle who taught in the School of Medicine. Perhaps most of all, it had to do with the example his parents set.
We encouraged Adam to go to USC, because if he wants to stay in Southern California, he can easily remain involved with the university, Valerie says.
Valerie herself grew up attending USC football games from the time she was a small child. Her father frequently sang the USC fight song and would tell his three daughters about all the football and basketball players.
When I was applying to colleges, my father told me that I could only go to USC or UCLA, and it had better be USC,she recalls, laughing.
She went on to major in speech communication and was an active participant in campus life. She met her husband, Aaron Weiss (73, MBA, 74), when they were both students. After graduation, she worked in the admissions and student affairs offices of the Graduate School of Business Administration. She was followed by her sisters Vicki Gumbiner Waller, 76, and Vivian Gumbiner, 80, who also met their husbands at USC, as well as numerous cousins.
Today Valerie and Aaron Weiss remain actively involved with the university. She is on her second rotation as president of Trojan Affiliates and served many years on the Alumnae Coordinating Council. She also chaired SCamp and has been a member of Trojan Junior Auxiliary and the Westside Alumni Club. She recently joined Town and Gown. In the mid-1990s, she received the Widney Alumni House Award, which is presented to active volunteers.
Aaron, Adam and Valerie Weiss
Aaron Weiss, who is a fundraising volunteer for the university, served on the board of the Associates for several years and was a founding member of the Torchbearer Council. He was on his 15-year reunion committee, and chaired Homecoming and the GAA awards banquet. In 1993, he received a GAA Service Award. He was recently asked to head up the campaign to raise $15 million for the Institute for Genetic Medicine.
Weve really enjoyed our involvement with the university, Valerie says. There are so many things to do down therewere always drawn to campus.
ESTABLISHING A HISTORY OF HELPING
ablo Prietto Jr., M.D. (B.A., 55), never really thought of going to college anywhere but USC. His father, Pablo Prietto Sr., had earned his D.D.S. from USC in 1931, and two of his uncles, Cesar (D.D.S., 37) and Carlos (B.A., 37), were alumni as well. His father, who had come to the United States from his native Peru in the steerage hold of a cattle boat, worked his way through college as an auto mechanic and maintained a deep and abiding affection for his alma mater throughout his lifetime. Upon graduation, he bought USC football season tickets and regularly took Pablo Jr. and his other children, his nieces, nephews and grandchildren to games. He was a founding member of the Century Club, the dental schools oldest support group, and a volunteer member of the USC dental faculty affiliated with Los Angeles County Hospital. Later in life, he also became an active supporter of the Mexican American Alumni Association (MAAA).
His example eventually rubbed off on ten members of his family.
For me, there was never any question about enrolling at USC,Dr. Prietto Jr. says. It was in our blood.
His sister, Consuelo Prietto Germann (D.H., 58), and brother, Mario Jose Prietto (M.S., 74), followed suit, and after medical school, Dr. Prietto Jr. completed his orthopedic residency at USC. Dr. Prietto Jr. is also carrying on his fathers tradition of involvement at the university. A Provosts Associate and a member of Cardinal and Gold, he
is a longstanding and generous supporter of the MAAA. When his father died in 1985, he and his family and friends established a memorial fund in his name and raised close to $50,000 for scholarships, which are administered through the MAAA. In addition, he has been very active in the University of Southern California Graduate Orthopedic Surgeons group.
For me, there was never any question about enrolling at USC. It was in our blood.
A third generation is also carrying on the family tradition: Carmela Germann (B.S., 92) Consuelos daughter, and Mario Manuel Prietto (M.S.W., 97), Pablo Jr.s son, who is a member of the USC Alumni Association and a contributor to the Building on Excellence campaign.
I went to Trojan football games with my grandfather when I was a little kid and dreamed of playing on the team,Mario Prietto says, but my decision to attend USC was based on the caliber of the school. I see my connection to USC as a valuable lifelong resource.
If Dr. Prietto Jr. has his way, there will eventually be a fourth generation of Priettos at USC. Dr. Prietto regularly takes his grandchildren to USC games, cultivating in them a love for the university.
I have 15 grand-children, he says, so hopefully at least one of them will go to USC.