USC Price School of Public Policy

Reagan and USC

President Reagan’s Deep Association with the University of Southern California

Ronald Reagan and Zumberge President Reagan, with USC President James Zumberge, speaks at Bovard Auditorium in 1989.

The University of Southern California and President Reagan share much. As Angelinos, President and Mrs. Reagan, through their civic associations, are a part of this region — and this university.

The so-called Kitchen Cabinet which propelled Ronald Reagan to the statehouse and then to the White House reads like a “who’s who” of USC leadership during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Leonard Firestone, Walter Annenberg, Henry Ford Salvatori, Justin Dart, Robert Fluor were all USC Trustees. George Scharffenberger, chairman of our Board of Trustees in the 90s, managed the President’s trust while in the White House and advised him throughout his career. Norman Topping, USC President from 1958 to 1970, was a friend and adviser to President Reagan, an early advocate for him to begin public life.

“The Creative Society,” a much-regarded 1966 speech Mr. Reagan used to form his run for Governor, was delivered in USC’s historic Bovard Auditorium. Twenty three-years later, USC’s Trojan Marching Band welcomed the President back to the same stage with the first speech he gave after leaving the White House.

A frequent visitor during his time in the White House, he was now home, greeted by USC President James Zumberge on Mr. Reagan’s 78th birthday. The USC Trojan Marching Band played and the students sang as he blew out the candles on his cake.
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Reagan at Bovard    President Reagan addresses Bovard Auditorium.
Reagan with Zumberge and Scharffenberger    President Reagan is greeted by USC President James Zumberge, left, and George Scharffenberger,
   then-chairman of the USC Board of Trustees.
Reagan birthday cake    President Reagan blows out his birthday cake on stage.
Reagan gives Trojan salute    President Reagan gives Trojan salute.