Trustee Gives $30M to Campus Center

10/03/07
Ronald Tutor's lead gift will support the creation of a new campus hub expected to transform university life. Construction is expected to begin in May 2008.
By Susan Heitman
An architectural view of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, a project that will enhance the lives of USC students, according to its benefactor, below.

Courtesy of AC Martin Partners
USC trustee Ronald Tutor – who fell in love with Trojan football at age 11 and has been involved with the university ever since – has pledged $30 million as the lead gift for USC’s new campus center.

“I’m proud to be a part of USC and honored to contribute to this magnificent enterprise,” Tutor said. “This complex is the last significant element remaining in the current phase of construction at USC. It is a project that will make a real difference in the quality of student life, and it will transform the center of campus.”

In recognition of Tutor’s generosity, the complex will be named the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, said USC President Steven B. Sample in announcing the gift.

“We’re very pleased that our new campus center will bear the name of one of the university’s most loyal supporters,” Sample said.

“Ron Tutor has been a student, an alumnus, a Trojan parent, a trustee and a long-time benefactor of the university. With this visionary gift, he is creating a lasting legacy on campus, one that will have a tremendous impact on USC students, alumni, faculty and staff for years to come.”

Tutor is president and chief executive officer of the Tutor-Saliba Corp., one of the largest general contractors in the United States. A major force in the construction industry, the firm ranks as one of the largest heavy construction and building companies in the country.

He also serves as chairman and chief executive officer of the Perini Corp., a publicly traded construction firm based in Framingham, Mass. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the USC Marshall School of Business in 1963 and has been a member of the USC Board of Trustees since 1998.

The Ronald Tutor Campus Center will be located at the heart of the University Park campus, between the Gwynn Wilson Student Union and the Trojan Bookstore.

The current Commons and Topping Student Center buildings will be demolished and replaced with a four-story structure that will house a number of university centers, including a new Admission Center and an Alumni Center, along with student offices and work space, collaborative project and group study areas, multipurpose areas for events and gatherings, meeting and boardrooms for student organizations, study lounges, cafés, a full-service restaurant, a convenience store, technology resources, and game and entertainment areas.

A central plaza will serve as a gathering place for current and prospective students, faculty, staff, family members and alumni.

“This new campus center is the realization of a dream for those of us who have lived and worked at USC,” said Provost C. L. Max Nikias.

“It will be a place where faculty and students from all parts of the campus can meet, conduct study groups and socialize. In addition, it will provide an elegant, state-of-the-art space for interdisciplinary programs, lectures and art exhibits that will contribute to the intellectual and artistic life of the university.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson echoed these sentiments. “We refer to this building as a 'gathering place,' ” Jackson said. “This has been a major missing component of USC’s student experience. This new facility will provide work and meeting space for the 600 or so student organizations that are currently active on campus as well as informal spaces for students to read, meet friends or just relax between classes.

“International students will also find a home for their activities in the campus center. For example, as I have shared the news about the campus center with alumni and parents in Hong Kong, they have gotten very excited about what this facility will do to enhance the USC experience of students from this part of the world and have pledged to support the project.”

All of this brings a smile to Ronald Tutor’s face.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for USC,” he said, “and I’ve been so proud of the progress the university has made in the past 15 years. I graduated from USC, two of my children have graduated from here, and another is a current student. I’ve loved being a Trojan all my life, and as a former student, it’s a great feeling to be able to contribute toward helping future students enjoy the Trojan experience as I have.”