Eight USC Mexican American alumni, along with Raúl Vargas, then USC’s executive director of Mexican American Programs, set out to create an association dedicated to supporting the advancement of Latinos in higher education, assisting Latino students with the high cost of college and increasing the number of Latino students attending USC. The USC Mexican American Alumni Association (MAAA) is born, and Mr. Vargas becomes the founding executive director.
USC shows its support by establishing a 2:1 matching program for undergraduate scholarship funds raised by the association.
MAAA holds the first scholarship dinner, which soon becomes the association’s premier annual event.
MAAA holds the association’s first golf tournament to provide fun, networking and fundraising for scholarships.
One of the MAAA’s founders, Edward Zapanta, becomes the first Latino member of the USC Board of Trustees.
The MAAA becomes the first Latino alumni association in the nation to launch a campaign to raise $1 million in endowment.
The association grants the first graduate student scholarships.
With the help of alumni and community businesses, MAAA establishes an endowment to provide a permanent source of scholarship funds for USC’s Latino students. A million dollars is raised by 1995 and the endowment is worth five times that amount as of 2012.
The association celebrates the 25th anniversary scholarship dinner and establishes the Board of Directors.
The 25th anniversary golf outing is held.
Raúl Vargas retires from the university, and Domenika Lynch is named executive director.
The association launches the Legacy Alumni Award and establishes the Corporate Advisory Council.
The Center Presentation Room is funded by association members and staff with a $200,000 gift, and the Frank Cruz family names the Frank Cruz Family Room with a $100,000 contribution.
The MAAA moves to the new Ronald Tutor Student Center. George and Gail Pla pledge $300,000 to name the association’s new suite in the Tutor Center.
To better reflect the broad reach of the association, the organization’s name is changed to the USC Latino Alumni Association. The new name includes the tagline, a legacy of the USC Mexican American Alumni Association since 1973, to commemorate our founders and history.
The USC Latino Alumni Association celebrates 40 years of dedication to underrepresented, first generation, low-income Latino students. One of the largest, most dynamic Latino alumni associations in the United States, LAA has awarded nearly $15 million in scholarships to more than 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students at USC. In addition, our mission has expanded to provide leadership development and mentoring opportunities to ensure that our students are among the most competitive college graduates in the country.
The USC Latino Alumni Association embarks on a $3 million campaign initiative to generate crucial resources for student scholarships and programmatic support.