Trojans celebrate Father’s Day

Students and alumni shared how their fathers inspired them throughout their lives.

Kyle Revale, a rising senior majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in construction management, finds inspiration through his father, Ryan Revale, who is now studying construction management alongside him. (Kyle Revale)

Millions of families have celebrated Father’s Day since the holiday’s founding in 1910. For some students and alumni, this holiday represents the journey of commemorating a loved one.

USC alum and Torrance City Councilmember Jonathan Kaji spent nearly 15 years fighting for the University to issue honorary degrees to former Japanese American Nisei students who were denied the ability to receive their USC degrees after they were forced out of the University and incarcerated during World War II. 

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He shared that his parents attended USC after the end of the war, but many of their friends were older Nisei students who were denied their transcripts and degrees after the end of incarceration. Kaji said he promised his parents before their passing that he would carry on and seek justice for the Nisei students and their children. 

Kaji said that every Father’s Day since his father passed away, he feels thankful for what his father taught him. 

“I’m thankful for what he taught me about personal integrity, about being a person of their word,” Kaji said. “That if you commit to a task, you complete it. There are no excuses until you are successful. I remember that every Father’s Day.” 

Despite the loss of their fathers, some USC alumni have chosen to persevere through the hardship and continue honoring their memory.

USC alum Roxanna Pakkar said that losing her father during her sophomore year was an incredibly difficult time because her dad was the person she looked up to for her entire life. 

Pakkar said her dad inspired her to pursue the things she was interested in and ask questions about the world around her, leading her to earn her degree in electrical engineering. She said that her support system at USC helped her push forward during the time period of his passing.

“I think I also kept going because of his memory and wanting to honor him and finish something that I knew meant a lot to him as well,” Pakkar said.

A lesson that Pakkar’s dad taught her that continues to help her throughout her career is his encouragement to try things, despite a fear of failure. 

“I definitely really appreciate him having instilled that in me and I think that’s led me to where I’m at now in terms of even studying engineering,” Pakkar said. 

When asked what advice she would give to a student going through a similar situation, Pakkar said “[continue] your journey.”

“By you continuing on your journey, that’s also honoring them as well because that’s ultimately what I think a lot of parents want for their kids — for them to be happy and to pursue the things that they want to pursue,” Pakkar said.

Every student has a different family background, and some USC students have their family closer than others. Kyle Revale, a rising senior majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in construction management, finds inspiration through his father, who is now studying construction management alongside him.

“He didn’t even tell me that he was going to apply or do anything about continuing his education in the first place,” Revale said. “Funny enough, we’re actually going to be classmates next year.”

Revale said that he feels the reason why his dad went back to school is because “it’s never too late” to continue your education. He said that he’s proud of his dad for going back to school despite his 30 years of construction experience. 

“That just makes me look up to him even more,” Revale said. “As a person, as a dad, as my best friend, I’ve been loving it. He’s been loving it.”

His dream is to one day start his own construction company with his dad. He said that getting to say that he started it with his dad, or with his family, “makes it even better.”

When asked about the future of their relationship, Revale said that his love for his father is “always going to continue growing” and he hopes to work with him one day, as he loves to “tap into his brain.”

“He’s my hero,” Revale said. “I look up to him every day, and I want to become a better person and hope to be an ounce of the man he is.”

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