04/29/20 USC Architecture Announces New Student Scholarship Grants


Under the leadership of President Carol L. Folt, USC has significantly expanded its commitment to a more accessible and affordable college education. In this spirit, the USC School of Architecture is grateful to acknowledge three new scholarship grants awarded this year: the Kerry P. Wilson Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Paul J. Matt Visionary Architect Scholarship Fund, and the Jim House, FAIA Building Performance Scholarship Fund. A testament to the generosity of the School’s community, these awards exemplify our supporters’ commitment to honoring the extraordinary legacy of the School while shaping the future of the field of architecture.

These grants are among the approximately 65 named scholarship awards established by USC Architecture’s alumni, parents and supporters that generate nearly $1 million annually in grants for undergraduate and graduate students. Nearly 80 percent of the School’s undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, and this school year, more than 120 students benefited from scholarships provided by the School. Alumni and donors have shown their dedication to easing the financial burden of a college education so students can focus on learning and developing their talents as the next generation of leaders in architecture.

“Affordability and access is a top priority at USC Architecture, and we are immensely grateful to our alumni, parents, and donors for generously supporting this important initiative,” said Milton S. F. Curry, dean of the USC School of Architecture. “Nearly 25 percent of our student body are the first generation in their families to go to college, and we want to continue to ensure that the most talented students are given the opportunity to study here regardless of their financial circumstances. Our scholarship donors are not only making a direct impact on the lives of our students, but they are also helping to shape the future of architecture to be more inclusive and diverse.”

The three new scholarship grants awarded this year provide assistance for a range of needs and interests. The Kerry P. Wilson Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund will be awarded annually to undergraduate students based on merit and for whom affordability may be an obstacle, with preference given to students who have an interest in commercial interiors, which was Kerry’s field of expertise. 

"Kerry fought his lengthy health challenges with such courage and single-minded positivity that we did not discuss legacy tributes. But he had left a huge impression on many people, so after he died I was encouraged by his good friend and colleague Jesse Bagley, and other close friends, to pursue a memorial,” said Faith Wilson, Kerry’s widow. “His exceptional talent and passion for architecture, as well as his lifelong enthusiasm for mentoring young architects, led us to the creation of this scholarship. As a USC graduate and a lifelong Trojan, it was obvious that Kerry would want to support a Trojan student. Meeting our first recipient was very exciting as she embodied the talent, character, and drive that Kerry would have admired." 

As part of the campaign, the following companies gave leadership support and offered matching gifts to all individual donations: Hendy, PeopleSpace, JLC Associates, Turelk, Howard Building Corporation and tk1sc .

“I appreciate the help this scholarship will give me in continuing to study what I love,” said Stephanie Saunders, inaugural Wilson scholar and B.Arch student. “I plan to use these funds to push my designs and models in new and innovative directions.”


The Paul J. Matt Visionary Architect Scholarship Fund was established by Steve Matt, Chairman and CEO of MATT Construction, in memory of his father, who was a longstanding supporter of USC Architecture. 

"Paul was a master-builder widely recognized for his creativity and innovation in realizing challenging designs. He was equally known for his exceptional respect for architects, and the extraordinary collaborative efforts he made to help them bring their design visions to life. We established this scholarship in 2019 and I know Paul would be very happy to see his legacy being continued by supporting the development of talented young architects," said Steve Matt.

M.Arch student Katelyn Lentz, the first Matt scholarship recipient, remarked, “I am driven to pursue architecture that, as a functioning whole, is beneficial for its inhabitants and the environment. I am able to set out on this new academic journey, ready to push my potential in the field and work towards helping those less fortunate. I cannot express my gratitude enough.” 

The Jim House, FAIA Building Performance Scholarship Fund is awarded to current B.Arch and M.Arch students with a strong interest in the exploration of enhanced building performance. 

“My motives in creating this scholarship fund are twofold. First, since my career is focused on the technical aspects of architecture, I wanted to encourage and support students in need with a strong interest in building performance and innovations in materials and construction. Secondly, at a very personal level, these gifts are an expression of my gratitude for the outstanding preparation I received at USC, and the many remarkable Trojan architects who have been important mentors and collaborators throughout my career,” said alumnus Jim House, FAIA, founding principal of House & Robertson Architects and a longtime leader of the USC Architectural Guild. 

The inaugural House scholars are M.Arch students Barbara Aguirre-Garayzar and Andrew Blumm. “USC’s work on building technology, environmental performance, and issues of urbanism were what initially drew me to the program. I hope to continue pushing the boundary of research in those areas,” said Blumm. “This investment in the next generation of architects means so much to me and other students like me.”

For more information on establishing a named scholarship award at USC Architecture, please email archadv@usc.edu. To make a gift to the USC Architecture Scholarship Fund, please visit arch.usc.edu/give.


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