He’s a scientist who’s advised U.S. presidents. Her blood flows cardinal and gold. As a team, Simon and Virginia Ramo will make the Keck dream come true.
Guiding the development of the Keck School of Medicine of USC is a newly established Board of Overseers co-chaired by Simon and Virginia Ramo ’37.
Besides the task of advising President Steven B. Sample and dean of medicine Stephen J. Ryan on the Keck School’s operation, the new board has the difficult and all-important task of spearheading USC’s effort to raise an additional $330 million.
The Keck Foundation’s $110 million gift was awarded contingent upon USC’s ability to match it three-to-one, so the overseers’ role is one of great urgency.
“Success in this exceptional task will require people of exceptional caliber,” said Sample at the July 29 announcement of the Keck naming gift, “and that is why I am delighted that Si and Virginia have agreed to step into this role.”
Simon Ramo has one of the most distinguished careers of any Southern Californian alive today. As a scientist, he helped develop two key and utterly different technologies – the electron microscope and the long-range guided missile. Los Angeles Times magazine named him one of the area’s greatest technological innovators in this century. Ramo has equally remarkable credentials as an entrepreneur. A member of the board of the W.M. Keck Foundation since 1983, he is perhaps best known as the “R” in TRW Inc. (the aerospace corporation he co-founded). The author of books on economics, science, management, engineering and tennis, Ramo is also a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He’s a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and has served as a key science and technology advisor to several U.S. presidents.
“Si is just one of those very exceptional people,” says Keck Foundation president and chairman Robert Day. “He has the respect of everyone on the board of directors. He cuts across all the sciences, engineering and medicine. Everyone looks to him for his opinion.”
His wife, Virginia Ramo, is co-founder of the Ramo Foundation, whose philanthropy made possible USC’s Virginia Ramo Music Hall. A graduate of the USC Rossier School of Education, she is the recipient of the Asa V. Call Award (USC’s highest alumni honor) and an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

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