May 2011 Candygrams

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Sunday, May 22, 2011---An Afternoon Tea with President and Mrs. Nikias

Trojan Candy was invited to President Max Nikias and his wife Niki's home for a special tea in honor of "The Ladies of Town and Gown." Many of the Town and Gown members wore beautiful hats, much like those worn at Prince William and Kate's wedding.

Before the ceremony started, we were able to tour the first floor of their home. President Max and First Lady Niki have redecorated the interior so elegantly.

In the back lawn we sat underneath a white tent with clear plastic side flaps. Each table was eloquently set. The menu for the tea consisted of assorted "dainty" sandwiches and scrumptious desserts.

Trojan Candy, Max and Niki Nikias, and Patti Poon
Trojan Candy with President Nikias, Niki, and Pat Poon
Eiko Bates, Trojan Candy, and Pat Poon
Eiko Bates, Trojan Candy, and Pat Poon
Valerie Sampson, Marylin Short, and Rosalee Pechersky
Valerie Sampson, Marylin Short, and Rosalee Pechersky

Thank you, President Max and First Lady Niki, for such a memorable afternoon.

FIGHT ON, Town and Gown!

May 12, 2011---2011 USC Student-Athlete Graduation Celebration


Trojan Candy was fortunate enough to be invited to attend this year's Student-Athlete Graduation Celebration. I am so proud of all our Senior Friends who are graduating.

The StageThe Galen Center stage was decorated with cardinal and gold flowers. The coaches of all the sports, as well as Athletic Director Pat Haden, sat on the stage. There was a giant screen behind them for showing some memorable videos.

Pat Poon, Ken Del Conte, Dudley PoonBefore the ceremony started, my brother-in-law Dudley introduced me to a former USC football defensive back/tailback who played on the 1962 USC National Championship Team. Ken Del Conte is now a filmmaker and director of 1st Command Productions. FIGHT ON, Ken!

The ceremony started with AD Pat Haden and President C.L. Max Nikias welcoming all the graduating athletes, their families and special guests. Also attending was CBS sportscaster Jim Hill.

Trustee Gordon Marshall, for whom the Marshall School of Business is named, was introduced as one of the two winners of the new "Legend of Troy" Award. FIGHT ON, Trustee Marshall!

Lou ZamperiniAlumnus Louis Zamperini was the other winner of the new "Legend of Troy" Award. He and the next three speakers all spoke from their collective "Trojan Hearts"! Trojan Candy was truly impressed with his speech. Louis, who is 94, related a few of his USC life encounters. He was an athlete who ran the 5000 m race in the 1936 Berlin Olympics while he was an undergrad at USC. He joined the Air Force in 1941 and, while he flew a search and rescue mission in May 1943, his own plane had mechanical problems and crashed in the Pacific Ocean. Louis said that seven of the ten crew members perished in the crash. Then he told the audience that his 1940 USC class ring saved his life! The ring got caught in the window, and then he used the ring to break the window to escape. He and two crew members drifted on the ocean for 47 days until two of them (one died on the 33rd day) were "rescued" by a Japanese harbor boat and taken to Kwajalein which was known as "Execution Island." This is where USC saved his life again. There were six Japanese judges who decided whether a POW would be sent into the jungle to be killed or sent to live in a POW camp. When Louis walked in front of the judges, one of them asked if he was the same Louis Zamperini who was an Olympian and a USC graduate. When Louis replied that he was, the judge said that he was also a USC alumnus and spared his life!

In the 1998 Winter Olympics which was held in Nagano, just outside one of the towns where Louis Zamperini had been held captive, the people of Nagano asked him to carry the Olympic flame. He agreed to do that. During his part of the torch relay, the people lined both sides of the streets so tightly that "a child couldn't be squeezed in." He was touched by this honor bestowed upon him. In closing his speech, Louis gave all the Senior athletes some advice. He said that when he was in captivity, "I never thought about dying; I was too focused on living. So, don't focus on losing; only focus on winning!" FIGHT ON, Olympian Louis Zamperini!

The three Senior speakers were Lizette Salas, Tim McDonald and J.W. Krumpholz. Lizette (or Lily as she likes to be called) will be the first four-time All-American golfer. With many emotional deep breaths interspersed, she spoke about her upbringing. She said that her family could not afford to buy her any golf clubs, so her father, who worked at a golf course, made her some out of broken golf clubs! Lily is the first one in her family to earn a college degree. Thank goodness it is a USC degree in Sociology! Trojan Candy interviewed Lily on November 5, 2009. She came by the desk with then fellow golfer Jennifer Song and current teammate Inah Park. FIGHT ON, Lizette!

Tim McDonald told us that he drove 750 miles a week this past year commuting from Fresno to USC in order to finish his degree. His intent was to earn his USC degree in Communications before his son T.J. earns his degree. What an accomplishment! He spoke about what it means to be a Trojan. Then Tim told us his home is decorated only in USC items. Even though he played in the NFL and won a Super Bowl, he did not decorate his home with any NFL memorabilia. Once a Trojan, always a Trojan! FIGHT ON, Tim!

All-American, National Player of the Year and Silver Medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, J.W. Krumpholz, was the third Senior speaker. He related how our Men's Water Polo Team came back from losing two straight national championships to winning two three straight NCAA championships! He advised the audience that "Adversity can be the greatest catalyst for success!" Closing, J.W. told us that his entire family are Bruins. He said that his parents, his sisters, and his aunt all "bruined" their lives! FIGHT ON. Olympian J.W.!

Trojan Candy smiled as I watched intently while Pat Haden and each respective coach honored and draped with a sash, each one of the Senior Athlete Graduates. Congratulations and FIGHT ON to all my Heritage Hall Senior Friends!

Lastly, the Senior award winners were announced. The Gimble Award that recognized the Most Cooperative Student-Athlete was given to friends Marcus Simmons (basketball) and Alyssa Davila (soccer). FIGHT ON, Marcus! FIGHT ON, Alyssa! The Willis O. Hunter Award for the highest GPA was given to the Senior Student-Athlete Zara Lukens (track and field). She had a 3.928 GPA. FIGHT ON, Zara! There were three Trojaneer Diamond Award winners. This award recognizes the Senior Student-Athlete who brought the most fame and distinction to USC. The three friends who won the award were Maria Sanchez (tennis), Lizette Salas (golf), and Murphy Troy (volleyball)! FIGHT ON, Maria! FIGHT ON, Lizette! FIGHT ON, Murphy!/p>

Pictures of the Seniors and Coaches were taken on the Galen steps and in the lobby. Trojan Candy enjoyed visiting with several of her friends and meeting Malcolm Smith's older brother, Steve Smith! FIGHT ON, Steve!

Seniors and Coaches
Seniors and Coaches on Galen steps
Audrey, Stefanie, Briana, and Wardell Gilbreath
Audrey, Briana (6/25/2009), and Wardell with Stefanie Gilbreath
Joe Houston
Joe Houston with Mom and Grandma
Steve and Malcolm Smith
Steve Smith celebrating with brother Malcolm
Alex Stepheson
Alex Stepheson being interviewed
Matthew Palmer
Congratulations, Matthew Palmer!
Kate McFetridge
Congratulations, Kate McFetridge!
Kimmee Roleder, Zoe Garrett, Farren Benjamin, Lauren Williams, and Geena Urango
Seniors Kimmee Roleder, Zoe Garrett, Farren Benjamin, Lauren Williams, and Geena Urango
Nia Ali with Mom and Grandma
Mom and Grandma celebrating with Nia Ali
Yours truly, Kinga Mikolajczyk, Liene Stuberovska, Iskra Angelova, Tanya Ouyang, and Vineta Moca
Trojan Candy with Rowers Kinga Mikolajczyk, Liene Stuberovska, Iskra Angelova, Tanya Ouyang, and Vineta Moca
Lizette Salas and Family
Lizette (Lily) Salas with Family and Friends

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2011 Athletes! FIGHT ON!

May 5, 2011---It's Cinco de Mayo and Heritage Hall is "Muy Ocupado! "

John McKay CenterJohn McKay CenterConstruction on the John McKay Center is showing progress every week. My husband Jim always climbs the stairs to the top of the Loker Track Stadium to take the pictures. Thanks!

As soon as my husband and I walked into Heritage Hall, we saw that the lobby was very busy (ocupado). There were tours, seven new friends and many friends who stopped by the desk to visit.

Leslie Ann Picazo and Ryan CobbsNew friend Senior Leslie Ann Picazo brought a tour group into Heritage. Leslie, who has been a tour guide for three years, majored in Biology. She is from Glendale but attended Syracuse before transferring to USC. Leslie said that she might want to attend Columbia for graduate school. At USC she was in Gamma Phi Beta, Troy Phillipinos, and sang in a gospel choir. Leslie likes to sing (natch!), swim, surf and walk backwards (a skill so necessary to be a tour guide!). Congratulations and FIGHT ON, Leslie!

Christy AmbrosiniSophomore Christy Ambrosini came to the desk for the first time. Christy competes in the 1500 meter run for the Women of Troy track team. Unfortunately, Christy has had to endure hip surgery and currently has a knee injury. Christy, who is majoring in Kinesiology, is from Long Beach...New York! Her favorite music artists are Mumford and Sons, Matt McHugh, and Coldplay. Get well and FIGHT ON, Christy!

Jim DavisThe third new friend has actually been by the desk several times. Trojan Candy just had to interview him this time. Athletic Equipment Manager Jim Davis has worked downstairs for 22 years! His nickname is "Hammer," and he was hired by Larry Smith. Jim, who is from Spokane, Washington, became interested in Sports Management at Post Falls High School in Idaho where he played basketball and was a Manager for other sports. Jim's daughter graduated from USC in 1988 with a Nursing degree and currently works at Huntington Hospital. FIGHT ON, Jim and daughter!

Melody Calloway and Kevin GreeneUSC football great Marlon McKeever's god-daughter, Melody Calloway, walked up to the desk with friend Kevin Greene. Senior Melody majored in Environmental Science. She works upstairs in football recruiting. Melody is from the "real" Long Beach; in California, that is! Her favorite books are The Kite Runner and Remember the Titans. Congratulations and FIGHT ON, Melody!

Michael PullinsUSC alumnus and Assistant track coach Michael Pullins came to the desk for the first time with a big smile on his face. Michael, who has coached for 22 years, coaches the "Jumps" team. He majored in Public Administration at USC, graduated in 1987 and went on to attain his Masters in Education degree at USC in 2005. What an accomplished Trojan! Michael competed as a triple jumper at USC from 1985 to 1987, and he is currently #9 on the All-Time USC list. We're so lucky to have him as a coach now! Michael's wife Erin is also a Trojan. She graduated from the USC Business School. They have two sons ...two future Trojans. Emmanuel is two years old and Elijah is three weeks old. FIGHT ON, Erin! FIGHT ON, Michael!

Chris ZambriTrojan Candy's sixth new friend was another USC alumnus and coach. Men's Golf Coach Chris Zambri came up to the desk, leaned on it and comfortably gave me an interview. He really didn't want me to take his picture, but I coaxed him to do so. When Coach Zambri saw his picture, he teased that the picture made him look like he had more hair! Coach Zambri competed in golf for USC in 1989-1993 and was hired in 2006. During the interim he played professional Mini-Tour Events. His good friend Ted Gleason, who coached for one year at USC, helped to get Coach Zambri the coaching position at USC. All Trojans are thankful that former coach Ted did that! On a personal level, Coach Zambri and his wife Kim, who live in Camarillo, have three future Trojans. Thirteen year old Wyatt plays football, nine year old Joseph plays soccer and seven year old Lancy loves to dance. Congratulations on just winning the 2011 Pac-10 Men's Golf Title! FIGHT ON, Coach Zambri!

The seventh and last new friend actually came by the desk twice. Trojan Candy interviewed him the second time. Red.Shirt Freshman Michael Cox is a walk-on Tight End. He is from Bainbridge Island (near Seattle), Washington. Michael is majoring in Psychology. He said that he loves the weather here in Southern California (as we all do!). Michael played baseball and football in high school. Naturally, Trojan Candy said that he should try to play baseball here at USC also! Michael said he might. For hobbies, Michael enjoys rapping. FIGHT ON, Michael!

Seen at the SCene:

Heritage Hall Friends: Delphine, Jill Dennis, John McKay Jr, Rebecca Morin, Joyce, David of UPS, Pat Haden and Family, Isaac Flores and Odette Overton

Coaches: Men's Basketball: Michael Cooper; Football: Lenny Vandermade, Scott Thompson and Lane Kiffin as we walked to out car; Track: Ron Allice; Women's Soccer: Laura Janke; and Rowing: Ligita Kaviere

Victorious over UCLA our Rowers: Ewelina Nowak, Ewa Tymoszewska, Magdalena Janicka

Women's Water Polo: Adrienne Taylor

Track: Tony Burnette, Loudia Laarman, Terence Abram, Caroline Lutsky, Jade Niemeyer, Matthew Palmer, and Trey Henderson (whom Trojan Candy congratulated on winning the Hammer Throw in the USC-UCLA dual meet)

Soccer: Gabriela Chiriboga, Carly Butcher, Megan Ohai, Mia Bruno

Football: Kevin Greene, Hayes Pullard, George Uko, Chris Pousson, Tony Burnette, Ross Cumming, Joe Houston (who has a workout this weekend), Nickell Robey (who will enroll in summer school), Dion Bailey, Nick Perry, Omari Crittenden (who has two engineering internships), Jesse Scoggins, Patrick Hall, Dillon Baxter (who walked all through Heritage Hall while he was engaged in a cell phone conversation), and, as we walked to our car, Kevin Graf and Matt Barkley

Women's Basketball: The MVP Sisters! Trojan Candy saw Briana Gilbreath as we walked into Heritage Hall and then saw her sister Stefanie when we were leaving.

Men's Golf: Also, when we were leaving, we saw Director of Golf Operations John Wurzer, Ramsey Sahyoun and Jeffrey Kang. We congratulated all three of them on winning the Pac-10 title!

FIGHT ON, until then!

May 1, 2011---We "Fought On" Until the End!

Sunday was a hot day, the entire campus was covered with tents from the L.A. Times Festival of Books, parking spaces were at a premium, and the USC Loker Track Stadium was filled with Trojan fans and some Bruin fans. Trojan Candy had a front row center seat for all the action!

100 meter dashOur Women of Troy clinched their fourth dual meet victory over the Bruins when friends Aareon Payne, Jessica Davis, Jenna Puterbaugh and Loudia Laarman swept #1 to #4 in the 200 meter dash, and they teamed up to win the 4 x 100 meter relay. Jessica Davis, Aareon Payne, and Loudia Laarman also finished 1-2-3 in the 100 meter dash. The final score was USC Women of Troy 95 and the Lady Bruins 68! Congratulations, Women of Troy Track Team!

Our men fought to the very end! Unfortunately, the Bruins have a much deeper team with athletes in every event. One highlight of the meet was when the fans sang "Happy Birthday" to friend Bryshon Nellum while he stood on the podium after winning the 400 meter dash. Bryshon turned 22!

During the meet, the 25th Anniversary and the 50th Anniversary USC Track teams were honored. What an athletic tradition we have at SC!

4 x 100 meter relay
Our 4 x 100 meter relay team beat the Bruins!
Blake Shaw
Blake Shaw wins the 1500 meter run
Oscar Spurlock and Brendan Ames
Oscar Spurlock and Brendan Ames finish 1-2 in the 100 meter hurdles
Bryshon Nellum
Happy Birthday to Bryshon Nellum who won the 400 meter dash
Reggie Wyatt
Reggie Wyatt won the 400 meter hurdles
Joey Hughes
Joey Hughes led off on the winning 4 x 400 meter relay team
Oscar Spurlock
Oscar Spurlock won the 100 meter hurdles
Alitta Boyd
Alitta Boyd wins the triple jump
Track team
Fight On, USC Track!!!

Coach Ron Allice did not allow the UCLA men to run a victory lap on the course. Perhaps, he was taking precautions, especially since some vandals spray painted "UCLA" at the finish line.

FIGHT ON Men's and Women's Track at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA's!