Photo from USC News Making money · Through USC Senior Vice President for Advancement Albert R. Checcio’s work with Campaign for USC, the University has raised more than $6.6 billion, surpassing previous goals.USC Senior Vice President for Advancement Albert R. Checcio announced he will be retiring June 30, after eight years at the University.Since he first began working at the University in 2010, Checcio has supervised Campaign for USC – the largest fundraising campaign to be held by an institution of higher education – since before its official launch in 2011. Checcio was able to surpass his $6 billion goal by raising $6.6 billion nearly 18 months in advance, according to a press release. The campaign continues to receive support from the USC community.“Mr. Checcio has been instrumental in the continued growth of USC through the numerous transformative gifts that have forever altered the landscape of our University,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias told USC News. “He has pursued a highly tactical fundraising plan, while strengthening our commitment to professionalism throughout his entire department.”Under Checcio’s management, the Campaign for USC received more than 365,000 contributions, according to USC News. These contributions included $374 million for endowed student scholarships and fellowships, $1.3 billion for health sciences and $1.6 billion for faculty positions and research endowments.Checcio said in an email to the Daily Trojan that the greatest contribution he made to the University was “professionalizing the advancement program by establishing industry best practices and recruiting very talented people.”Checcio’s work with Campaign for USC has aided $700 million for the creation of USC Village and supported the $270 million renovations for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.Recently, there has also been greater participation among different members of the alumni network. Two-thirds of the gifted money were from non-USC alumni who supported the University’s mission. With the growing total, $2.3 billion were donated by alumni and $2 billion by the parents of USC students.“As he and his family move forward, so does USC Advancement, and we are eager to build on the solid fundraising foundation he has built for our Trojan Family,” Nikias told USC News. “Our campaign has already achieved its original goal, and we have extended it for five more years. Our success — and the impact it has on our work for generations to come — will always have its roots in Mr. Checcio’s dedication and foresight.”As Checcio moves forward with his retirement plan, he said he hopes that USC’s academic ascent will continue and the University will become firmly established and recognized as one of the top 10 universities in the United States.
The 56-52 win against Utah showed that the Trojans can win low-scoring games thanks to their top-tier defense, which ranks third in the conference in blocked shots and top-five in points allowed per game, opposing rebounding totals and opposing field goal percentage. USC will need to continue to win gritty games to boost its resume for the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments that are fast approaching. The Trojans are at their best when these two start to heat up. The duo combined for 29 points on 70.6% shooting from the field in a 20-point win at Oregon State a couple of weeks ago. Although the Trojans have lost nine straight games in Tucson, the squad is 7-2 away from Galen Center this season and has seemed to be largely unaffected by hostile environments. “We feel very comfortable on the road,” head coach Andy Enfield said after practice Monday, per the Orange County Register. “It’s hard to explain. This team is different than some previous teams. But you can say that if you go into Arizona and you don’t play well, it’s going to be a long night.” For the offense to be at full strength, Okongwu needs to be involved early and often. As teams focus their defensive efforts on stopping him from getting the ball down low, ball movement and outside shooting will be pivotal. Led by elite freshmen such as guards Nico Mannion and Josh Green and forward Zeke Nnaji, the Wildcats play at a high pace, leading the Pac-12 in scoring and coming in at third in 3-point shooting. USC will need a big scoring night from senior guard Jonah Mathews and sophomore guard Elijah Weaver to match that production. USC and Arizona will tip off Thursday at 6 p.m. at McKale Center. Freshman guard Ethan Anderson has continued to showcase his explosiveness through his acrobatic layups and dunks all season. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) Freshman forward Onyeka Okongwu will be tested early and will try to stop Nnaji, who leads the Wildcats in scoring, rebounds, blocked shots and field goal percentage. The two have eerily similar stats, with both hovering at around 16.5 points per game on 61% shooting to go along with nine rebounds per game. Nnaji has a few inches on Okongwu, but the Trojan has proved his defensive prowess all season. Expect this matchup to be competitive and one that could heavily alter the course of the game. Coming off a tough home loss against No. 20 Colorado, the USC men’s basketball team, which has won 11 of its last 14, will look to rebound against No. 23 Arizona in Tucson Thursday. The Wildcats will challenge USC defensively after sweeping their two-game Washington road trip against Washington and Washington State. “We’re not going to be able to just get the ball to [Okongwu] in the post,” freshman guard Ethan Anderson said. “No team’s going to just sit there and let that happen. So we’re going to have to [make] five to six passes around, make somebody else attack and they’ll have to leave [Okongwu to defend] a layup and then get it to [Okongwu].” Sophomore guard Elijah Weaver has averaged 11.3 points per game in his last three Pac-12 contests. (James Wolfe | Daily Trojan) Crashing the boards hard will also be pivotal, as USC and Arizona rank first and second respectively in the Pac-12 in rebounds per game. Arizona struggled mightily with rebounding earlier in the season but has since turned it into a strength during conference play. They also scored a combined 18 points on 30.4% shooting from the field in the 21-point loss to Colorado. If they can’t get going Thursday, keeping up with the Wildcats won’t be easy.