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USC Gets $10 Million Gift For Military Scholarships

A $10 million gift to the University of Southern California’s Marshall School today (March 27) is expected to double the number of students who receive military veteran scholarships to get an MBA at the school.

USC trustee William J. Schoen, who graduated Marshall with his MBA in 1963 and also has an undergraduate degree from USC received three years earlier, made the gift with his wife, Sharon.

The Schoen Family Scholarship Program for Veterans Endowment was established at USC in 1986. Their recent $10 million gift will increase the endowment significantly and create new funding for veterans who attend USC. The gift provides additional support for veterans studying in the USC Marshall School of Business, as well as the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

A spokesperson for Marshall said that currently 15 military veterans are receiving scholarships under the program. That is expected to double as a result of Schoen’s latest gift, she added.

The Schoen family has now contributed a total of $16 million, and to date the endowment has provided $1.2 million in financial support to 173 students at the university.

In a statement, USC President C. L. Max Nikias noted the impact of the Schoens’ support for veterans at a time when members of the U.S. armed forces are returning home in large numbers.

“The Schoens’ longstanding dedication to our nation’s military veterans will always inspire the USC community,” said Nikias in his statement. “The Schoens understand that these brave service members have contributed so much to our country’s collective security, and deserve a world-class education-one that matches their world-class courage.”

For William Schoen, the gift provides new opportunities for these returning veterans to pursue their education at USC, which had a major impact on his career and life.

“I believe that our veterans deserve an excellent education at an outstanding university,” said Schoen, a U.S. Marine veteran. “Our support for veterans goes back to when I went to USC. The reason that I was able to go to USC was that I applied for a scholastic scholarship and was awarded one.”

Schoen is chairman of the board of Health Management Associates (HMA), a Florida-based hospital corporation that owns and operates hospitals primarily in the southeastern and southwestern United States. Prior to his retirement, Schoen was HMA’s president, chief executive officer and chairman of the corporation. From 1953 to 1956, Schoen served in the U.S. Marines in Korea, an experience that spurred him to continue his education after his service. He went on to attend USC and has maintained a lasting relationship with the university.

“Bill and Sharon Schoen have been great friends of the USC Marshall School of Business for more than three decades, and they embody the spirit of patriotism,” said James G. Ellis, dean of USC Marshall, in a statement. “We will continue to see the enduring impact of their philanthropy on generations of students.”

For Aren Nazarians, a Marine veteran who earned his MBA from Marshall in 2010 and received support from the Schoen endowment, the scholarship fund represents the importance of the lasting legacy the Schoen family is creating.

“My education at USC would not be possible without the generosity of my benefactor, William Schoen,” Nazarians said. “The unique thing about a scholarship is the personal connection between the donor and the recipient. As students, we know that a scholarship is not a handout, and we owe it to our donors to make that investment count.”

Karla Leyva, a senior at the USC Leventhal School of Accounting who served two tours of duty in Iraq in the U.S. Army, said support from the Schoen endowment has benefited her in myriad ways.

“This scholarship allowed me to attend USC and to graduate without loans,” Leyva said. “I’m so grateful to the Schoen family. They have helped me to accomplish my goals.”