Philanthropist Elaine Otter Leventhal died of a stroke on Aug. 15 at the age of 97. She is remembered for her philanthropy and volunteerism.
“Elaine was a tremendous friend to the university,” President C. L. Max Nikias told USC News. “She and her late husband, Kenneth Leventhal, have a permanent place in the history of USC.”
In 1995, Leventhal and her husband gave $15 million to the School of Accounting, which was renamed in their honor. In addition to her other achievements, Leventhal was presented by USC Libraries with the first-ever Ex Libris Award for her years of service as president of the Friends of the USC Libraries. She was involved in many philanthropic organizations up until her death, including the Museum of Natural History and the Institute of Human Origins, where she served as a board member.
Born in Chicago as Elaine Otter, Leventhal’s connection with USC began when her youngest son enrolled in the 1970s. In 1989, she enrolled in the USC Graduate School and earned her master’s degree in liberal arts. Leventhal was then awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree 11 years later from USC in recognition of her volunteer work.
“She was keenly interested in all aspects of our school … and was a beloved presence at virtually every event over the years,” William W. Holder, dean of the Leventhal School of Accounting, told USC News. “We will all miss her wise counsel and warm friendship.”
Leventhal is survived by her sons, Robert and Ross, daughter-in-law, Mary Jo, and granddaughter, Emma.