From the first time students step on the USC campus, they hear about the Trojan Family. They are welcomed into it, told of its legacy and embraced by its rich tradition.
This can seem daunting, intangible, mythical, even far-fetched. But I can promise you that whether you are the first in your family to attend college or a fourth-generation Trojan, the Trojan Family will take hold of you during your four years here, and will carry on with you long after you leave the campus.
Whether you are part of an extensive USC legacy, or you are forging a legacy of your own, this special issue aims to give you an introduction into the Trojan Family — the good, the bad and the historic.
For me, Cardinal and Gold runs in my blood. I am the sixth in my family to attend USC. Each family member experienced USC in a unique way, and found their way to the Trojan Family on their own terms, but it was my grandfather who made me believe in the Trojan Family.
My grandfather, Charles McDonald, graduated from USC in 1958, exactly 60 years from my scheduled graduation date in May. His love for USC defied time and space. He attended every USC football game, even those outside of Los Angeles, until his legs could no longer support him. He could be found at every home game, perched on his USC walker, fingers laced together in his lap, watching the team he had loved for so long.
He used to tell me that, as a young boy, he would listen to the USC football games on his handheld radio and wait to hear the band playing “Conquest.” Until the year he died, his eyes would well up with tears when he heard the opening notes, memories and pride bubbling up inside him. In fact, he loved the song so much that he asked it be played at his funeral.
When he died my freshman year at USC, he left me his USC class ring, battered and imperfect, just like he was. He left it wrapped up in a crumbled piece of notebook paper, where he had written, “I treasured this ring like I treasure you.”
To some, it may seem odd to have a dying wish of passing on a college ring, but that’s the power of the Trojan Family. And that was when I first knew it existed.
It may not come to you in a 60-year-old class ring, or in a funeral soundtracked to the Trojan Marching Band, but when it comes, you’ll know.
To the Trojan Family past and present, this one’s for you.
Editor-in-Chief, Fall 2017