The has announced a $5 million gift from trustee Joan Payden in support of an initiative to prepare underprivileged Los Angeles teens for college.
The gift will be used by the university to expand its to approximately eleven hundred middle and high school students by 2020, including six hundred additional children and teens in neighborhoods near USC's Health Sciences Campus. Through the newly named Joan A. Payden Student Academy, NAI scholars attend classes at the University Park or Health Sciences campuses on Saturdays, where they learn time management and study skills. High school students also attend weekday advanced placement and honors classes at USC before their regular school day begins.
Since the program enrolled its first cohort of scholars in 1991, eight hundred and ten students have completed the program and nearly 99 percent of NAI graduates have gone on to college. NAI scholars who are admitted to and attend USC receive scholarships covering their tuition.
Payden, president and COO of Los Angeles-based investment management firm , earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from and graduated from the Advanced Management Program at . She is a member of the board of visitors of the and serves as a trustee of and .
"Joan Payden understands the power of education to inspire, provide hope, and build bridges to previously unforeseen opportunities," said USC president C.L. Max Nikias. "Through her visionary gift to NAI, she will help expand the reach of this transformative program and benefit the lives of students living near USC’s campuses for generations to come."