2017 Honoree: University Medallion

Wallis AnnenbergWallis Annenberg
USC Trustee

WHEREAS Wallis Annenberg is a visionary philanthropist and highly esteemed civic champion who has most deservedly earned the prestigious University Medallion by dedicating her life to building a more open and just society, and demonstrating her steadfast commitment to countless humanitarian causes that improve lives across the country and around the world; and

WHEREAS she has transformed our neighborhoods and cities in ways that make them finer places to live, learn, and dream, while bringing this same inspired tenacity and insight to her profoundly meaningful work at the University of Southern California; and

WHEREAS reflecting her enduring commitment to our students and faculty, she drove the vision behind—and provided the naming gift for—our cutting-edge Wallis Annenberg Hall, a state-of-the-art facility that stands majestically at the heart of our University Park Campus and heralds a new, technologically advanced era in journalism, one that places this vital discipline squarely among USC’s renowned professional programs; and

WHEREAS her foresight in the realm of media technology has dramatically altered the training and preparation that USC Annenberg students receive, providing them with a professional advantage in a rapidly-changing world, as well as the novel expertise to revolutionize newsgathering and communication in the digital age; and

WHEREAS Wallis’ singular passion and staunch support for pioneering journalism motivated USC to reimagine the evolving field’s place at our university, as well as in our society, thereby inspiring the school’s renaming, and resulting in the official establishment of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; and

WHEREAS her remarkable generosity and tireless encouragement continue to nurture a diverse range of schools and programs throughout our university, including those at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Annenberg School, among many others; and

WHEREAS she is affectionately referred to as the “Dean of the USC Board of Trustees” by her peers, a title that honors her eminent standing as the university’s longest-serving trustee and affirms the importance of her wise counsel and broad experience; and

WHEREAS she is only the fourth person in USC’s entire 137-year history to receive the University Medallion, joining an illustrious group that includes her late father, Walter Annenberg, the award’s inaugural recipient; and

WHEREAS in her roles as chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of the Annenberg Foundation, Wallis performs charitable work with staggering scope and impact, epitomizing an outreach philosophy that fosters direct involvement with local communities; and

WHEREAS while continuing her family’s tradition of far-ranging support for education, the arts, and medical research, Wallis has deepened and personalized the foundation’s influence, connecting more individuals and organizations through her passionate advocacy of environmental stewardship, animal welfare, and social justice; and

WHEREAS she is a civic icon in Los Angeles and a catalyst for progress in our city, creating economic opportunities, beautifying urban spaces, and enriching the cultural landscape for future generations; and

WHEREAS she has cultivated a legacy as one of the most venerated public benefactors in our city’s history, maintaining her vision of Los Angeles as a vibrant artistic crossroads through institutions such as the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Annenberg Space for Photography; and

WHEREAS with her keen foresight and benevolent heart, Wallis has uplifted the members of our beloved Trojan Family, as well as the citizens of our world, while granting all of us the means to lead richer and more rewarding lives, a magnificent gift that will endure for many decades to come;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the University of Southern California bestows upon Wallis Annenberg its University Medallion in honor of her extraordinary philanthropic achievements, as well as her essential role in strengthening the bonds of civic life, and celebrates the abiding support and contributions that have earned her the deepest admiration of the entire USC community.

John Mork, Chairman of the Board of Trustees


C. L. Max Nikias, President