Message to the USC Community
From: Michael W. Quick, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Elizabeth Graddy, Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs
January 5, 2018
The Norman Topping Student Aid Fund is a source of great pride for our university. Launched in Fall 1970, the program was among the first student-supported scholarships in the country. It has helped scores of underrepresented, low-income and first-generation students attend and thrive at USC. It provides a community for scholars who receive mentoring, special programming, and advising – all aimed at supporting academic success. The many Topping Scholars supported by this Fund over the years are valued and valuable members of the Trojan Family.
While USC has changed and grown dramatically in the four decades since the program began, our goals remain the same: to offer access and opportunity to a first-rate education to a diverse student body.
Since the Topping Fund traditionally has only been offered to a small number of students each year, we are seeking to increase this opportunity to more of our students. USC now enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduates who are potential Topping Scholars. They are the first in their families to attend college, Pell grant recipients and underrepresented students; almost a thousand fall into all of those categories. We also will be expanding Topping Scholars to include more students from our neighboring community and more graduate students.
A recent reorganization of the oversight of the Topping Fund within the Office of Undergraduate Programs more closely aligns it to the mission and core values of the university. We are strongly committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive campus.
The restructuring will ensure that we can better coordinate our support for the Topping program, financially and academically. Most importantly, we will continue to provide the compassionate community that is vital to the program’s success.
USC students showed “maturity and concern in setting up a scholarship program,” the Los Angeles Times wrote after the program was created in 1970. “Their action can only enhance the university.” Indeed, the Topping Program has enhanced our university, and we are excited about the future as we expand access to this remarkable program.
Cc: C. L. Max Nikias