USC Price School of Public Policy

About Sol Price and the Naming Gift

A profound investment in shaping the world


Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sol Price

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sol Price

The November 2011 gift to name the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy honors the life and legacy of the late Sol Price, a visionary entrepreneur who pioneered new practices in retail, real estate, and philanthropy. He was also a man of great integrity guided by a strong moral compass to improve the quality of life for the less fortunate.

The founder of Price Club, which later merged with Costco, Sol Price revolutionized consumer buying habits through a membership club model that provided greater value at a reduced cost to his customers. He was known especially for the care and dignity with which he treated his employees, and for viewing himself as the trustee and fiduciary of his customers.

Equally important, Sol Price worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for families in low-income urban areas by employing all the primary fields of the school: public administration, public policy, nonprofit leadership, health policy and administration, urban planning, and real estate development. And, he acted to change national public policies in Washington, D.C.

Sol’s son, Robert Price, readily recognized the powerful combination that our primary fields of study, working together, bring to addressing the needs of our communities, our country, and the world. Our naming gift reflects a remarkable alignment between the legacy of Sol Price and the mission of this school.


The gift also established the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation to advance ideas, strategies, and practices that enhance the quality of life for people in urban communities.

Since the 1980s, Price Philanthropies, established by Sol and Robert Price, has employed an interdisciplinary approach to transform the low-income urban neighborhood of City Heights in San Diego. They brought needed public services to the area by developing unique public-private partnerships. They established community and school-based health centers, developed a thriving Urban Village that included a new library, and created a public park on a freeway overpass. They created mixed-use real estate development projects as part of their economic development efforts in the area.

The City Heights community engages students and faculty across disciplines. By combining the rich sources of academic knowledge and expertise from our school with the on-the-ground efforts of Price Philanthropies, the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation defines the best models for creating a better quality of life in the new ‘urban century.’

Read the USC News story announcing the naming gift »
Read the Los Angeles Times article about the gift »
View photos from the naming celebration »
Watch the Sol Price tribute video »