University Medallion Recipient, 2017
A visionary who strives to improve the well-being of people and communities throughout the world, Wallis Annenberg has spent much of her life focused on philanthropy dedicated to education, communications, arts and culture, medical research, animal welfare, social justice and environmental stewardship.
Her keen vision for philanthropy furthers the Annenberg Foundation’s core values of openness, accessibility, fairness and relationship building.
Since assuming chairmanship of the Foundation in 2009, Wallis has overseen the distribution of more than $595 million to over 2,181 organizations. Prior to that, Wallis directed the Los Angeles office of the Foundation in giving nearly half a billion dollars to over 1,000 organizations. Complementing this wide and high impact grantmaking are special projects and initiatives that push the boundaries of traditional philanthropy while serving the Los Angeles community.
Wallis’ commitment to building community space can be seen through the creation of the Annenberg Community Beach House, located on the grounds of the former Marion Davies estate at 415 Pacific Coast Highway; the innovative Universally-Accessible Treehouse project in Torrance, California; and The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in the historic Beverly Hills Post Office. To strengthen the Los Angeles nonprofit community, executive professional development and technical assistance is offered several times a year, free of charge, through Annenberg Alchemy and Project Grantsmanship. In 2009, the Foundation opened the Annenberg Space for Photography, a state-of-the-art photographic print and digital gallery that is open to the public year-round, free of charge.
Wallis is the longest serving trustee at the University of Southern California and has been honored by numerous organizations such as the Americans for the Arts, the Shoah Foundation, and the California African American Museum.
She serves on a number of boards including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the California Science Center; the Music Center, Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County; theLos Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Based in Los Angeles, Wallis is the proud mother of four children and five grandchildren.
Dana Dornsife and David Dornsife
University Medallion Recipients, 2011
Dana and David Dornsife help to solve the biggest problems facing today’s world through their generosity, intelligence, talent and time. Their steadfast focus on improving the quality of life for all peoples through their leadership and support of innovative research reflects the core values of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
David Dornsife is chairman of the Herrick Corporation, the largest steel fabricator on the West Coast. A 1965 USC alumnus, he studied business administration, and was a shot-putter on the university’s track team that won two national championships.
A USC Presidential Associate and a USC trustee, Dornsife is vice president of the Hedco Foundation and chairman of the board for the USC Brain and Creativity Institute.
Dana Dornsife is cofounder of Axiom Design, Inc., an architectural electronic and lighting design firm established in 1991. She founded Adorn in 2002, a lighting and interior design company for the custom spec home market. Dana received her bachelor’s degree in business from Drexel University, an Interior Design Certification from John F. Kennedy University, and her Lighting Design Certification through the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
A board member of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute and the USC-Huntington Institutes. Dana is founder and president of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to defray the costs associated with patient participation in U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trials. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Epeius Biotechnologies, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing genetic medicine for the treatment of cancer.
Together the Dornsifes served as members of the Steering Committee for the Tradition & Innovation fundraising initiative in the College. In 2009, their lead gift to USC and USC College’s neuroscience program provided support for the construction of a new Brain and Creativity Institute Building.
Through the Hedco Foundation, the Dornsife family legacy helped create the Hedco Neurosciences Building, the Hedco Auditorium, and the Hedco Petroleum and Chemical Molecular Biology Laboratories.
David Dornsife’s parents, Harold and Ester, were USC alumni and longtime supporters of their alma mater. The elder Dornsifes gave the lead gift for the Hedco Neuroscience Building, which helped establish USC’s position as a pioneering and important leader in the emerging field of neuroscience.
Dornsife’s mother Ester, a pre-med major in the College, maintained a lifelong interest in the medical field, and, in particular, its neuroscience program. David and his wife Dana, along with his sister Dody Jernstedt, endowed the Ester Dornsife Chair in Biological Sciences (1998) held by Norman Arnheim and the Harold Dornsife Neurosciences Chair (2000) held by Irving Biederman, as well as the Harold Dornsife Section in USC’s Galen Center (2005).
Dana and David endowed two additional chairs and funded an imaging center that were instrumental in recruiting two distinguished neuroscientists to USC College, Antonio Damasio and Hanna Damasio.
The couple are active supporters of World Vision, an international humanitarian agency. Through World Vision in West Africa, they support microeconomic enterprise, agriculture and literacy programs in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and, in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, well-water drilling in Mali, Ghana, Niger, Ethiopia, Zambia and Malawi.
The Dornsifes are also supporters of the Alzheimer’s Association Cerebrospinal Fluid Quality (CSF) Control Program, launched in 2009, that brought together world laboratories with the aim of standardizing the measurement potential of Alzheimer biomarkers in CSF.
Counting environmentalism and sustainability among their priorities, the Dornsifes are part of the Yosemite Conservancy leadership team.
On March 23, 2011, USC President C. L. Max Nikias bestowed University Medallions upon the Dornsifes, an honor presented to only one other person in USC’s 131-year-history. The couple also received the USC College Dean’s Medallion for their commitment to innovation in 2005, and are members of the USC Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
University Medallion Recipient, 1994
Walter Hubert Annenberg was born in 1908 and enjoyed a distinguished career as a publisher, broadcaster, diplomat and philanthropist.
He graduated from The Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey and attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He entered the family publishing business in Philadelphia where he became the President of Triangle Publications in 1940 and, subsequently, Chairman of the Board.
While serving as Editor and Publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mr. Annenberg saw the need for a publication for teenage girls and, in 1944, established Seventeen magazine. In 1953, as a result of his belief that television’s growth would create a demand for more information on the part of viewers, he established TV Guide as a national publication. Under Mr. Annenberg’s leadership, Triangle Publications bought a radio station in the early 1940’s in Philadelphia and built a VHF television station which was one of the first television stations owned by a publishing house. The radio-TV division of Triangle grew to include six AM and six FM radio stations and six TV stations. The Philadelphia station pioneered a number of broadcasting concepts among which was Mr. Annenberg’s decision to use television to present a series of educational programs that ran for more than a decade. In 1951, Mr. Annenberg became an early awardee of the prestigious Alfred I. DuPont Award for pioneering education via television. He was also given the Marshall Field Award in 1958. In 1983, he received the Ralph Lowell Medal for his “outstanding contribution to public television.”
A man with a deep interest in education, Mr. Annenberg founded The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in 1958 and The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in 1971. In 1983, he established the Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies in response to growing awareness that difficult government and industry problems were emerging in the rapidly changing telecommunications field.
Mr. Annenberg was also a strong supporter of the arts. In 2002, he donated his personal collection of artwork to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This collection includes more than 50 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by 18 of the greatest artists of the 19th Century and early 20thCenturies including Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Picasso.
He served as Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Great Britain, from 1969 to 1974. By the late 1980’s, having sold all of his publishing and broadcast enterprises, Ambassador Annenberg devoted his attention to philanthropy and public service.