Philanthropist and USC Trustee Wallis Annenberg announced a $10 million donation to the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Monday night to celebrate journalist Willow Bay’s appointment as dean of the school. Wallis Annenberg’s father, Walter Annenberg, founded the Annenberg School for Communication in 1971, which was renamed to reflect the school’s journalism education 20 years later.
Wallis Annenberg was honored with the USC University Medallion at the annual Academic Honors Convocation for her philanthropy and leadership this year.
Wallis Annenberg is the fourth person to receive USC’s University Medallion. The award citation described her as “a steady source of inspiration for generations of Trojans, earning their admiration through her wise leadership and generous philanthropy.”
Annenberg heads the Annenberg Foundation, a multibillion-dollar organization that was founded by her father, Walter. Wallis Annenberg serves as chairman of the board, president and CEO. She has overseen more than $500 million in donations in her roles at the foundation, over $360 million of which have been donated to USC.
Wallis Annenberg Hall, an 88,000-square-foot facility with an emphasis on technology, opened in 2014 after a $50 million donation from the foundation.
The hall is one of several buildings in Los Angeles funded by the heiress — a Vanity Fair article from 2009 wrote that “it sometimes seems as if Wallis Annenberg is single-handedly funding L.A., with all the community projects, art centers and medical buildings that bear her name.”
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the hall, USC President C. L. Max Nikias called Wallis Annenberg the “dean” of the Board of Trustees, as she is the longest-serving member. He also said that the building bearing her name will forever link her to USC.