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USC Receives $100 Million to Combat Cancer, Educate Journalists

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The University of Southern California received two gifts, totaling $100 million, to fund cancer research and construct a journalism building.

Ming Hsieh, a USC trustee, donated $50 million to endow research into nanomedicine for cancer, while the Annenberg Foundation gave $50 million to construct the Wallis Annenberg Hall for training journalists in digital media, the university, in Los Angeles, said today in two statements. The gifts were timed to coincide with the inauguration of USC President C.L. Max Nikias, said James Grant, a USC spokesman.

“Today is a special day for the university, and these two donors wanted to help get the momentum of Max Nikias’s presidency moving forward,” Grant said in a phone interview. Nikias, who had been USC’s provost, succeeded Steven Sample as president on Aug. 3.

Hsieh, who received an undergraduate degree from USC in 1983 and a master’s in electrical engineering in 1984, founded Cogent Inc., a Pasadena, California-based maker of fingerprint identification technology. He also gave $35 million to USC’s engineering school in 2006.

Including today’s gift, the Annenberg Foundation, based in Los Angeles, and the Annenberg family have donated a total of $350 million to USC, the university said. Walter Annenberg, who died in 2002, was the publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was U.S. ambassador to the U.K. from 1968 to 1974.

USC, founded in 1880, has about 35,000 students and is the largest private, not-for-profit university on the U.S. West Coast. Among the students who attended USC are Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, and John Wayne, the late actor. George Lucas, the movie producer and director who graduated in 1966, donated $175 million, still the record for USC, in 2006.

To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Staley in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at

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