News and analysis
February 06, 2012

No. 7: David and Dana Dornsife

Phil Channing

Amount donated in 2011: $200-million

Beneficiary: University of Southern California

Donors’ background: Mr. Dornsife is chairman of the Herrick Corporation, a steel-manufacturing company in Stockton, Calif.

Mr. Dornsife, 67, and his wife, Dana, 49, pledged $200-million to the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, to support the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, which was then named for the Dornsifes. The couple declined to disclose how much of the pledged amount was paid in 2011.

The donation is unrestricted, but university officials said they plan to direct the money toward financial aid, faculty recruitment, and a scholarship program for students who plan to focus their work after graduating on trying to solve social challenges. The couple said the recession played a part in their decision to give the gift because, “in general things have been difficult for higher education over the past couple of years, and we felt that we needed to step up and show that that could be changed,” wrote Mr. Dornsife in an e-mail to The Chronicle.

Mr. Dornsife graduated from the university in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in business and serves on the institution’s Board of Trustees.

—Maria Di Mento

View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2011