Roger Rossier MA ’63, EdD ’72 Inducted into USC’s Half Century Trojan Hall of Fame
Roger and Barbara Rossier made $20 million naming gift in 1998
By Matthew C. Stevens
Roger Rossier MA ’63, EdD ’72, who, along with his late wife, Barbara, transformed USC’s School of Education with a naming gift of $20 million in 1998, is among the newest inductees to the university’s Half Century Trojans Hall of Fame.
Rossier and three other honorees were feted at a luncheon at Town & Gown on Oct. 18.
Rossier had a long career in education and service, including positions as a geography teacher, a dean of guidance at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove and a counselor at Cypress Community College.
In 1980, he and Barbara founded a private school dedicated to special-needs students with delays in academic, social and/or emotional development. Roger became vice president of their successful corporation, Rossier Educational Enterprises, directing the career counseling and transportation and travel divisions, which built on his expertise in counseling international students at Cypress College.
Rossier has also been a proven leader in many USC organizations. Since 1999, Rossier has served on the USC Athletics Board of Counselors. He has also chaired the USC Rossier Counseling Advisory Council. From 2001 to 2006, he served as the chair of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors Scions Scholarship Committee. He currently serves as the president of the Trojan Club of Orange County and as the chair of the USC Orange County President’s Council.
At the time of their naming gift—the largest ever made to a school of education in the United States—Roger and Barbara explained that they valued their alma mater’s emphasis on urban education and wanted to stress the importance of a school of education that focuses on teaching practice as well as research. They said the school offers “a very nice balance.”
In introducing Rossier at the awards luncheon, USC Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher noted how she was able to build on this balanced vision when she arrived as dean in 2000, tracing a line from the naming gift through the launch of the first online degree program in the country for the Master of Arts in Teaching, as well as the rise of the school’s PhD program as one of the strongest in the nation.
“I have not taken it for granted that this balance of teaching practice and research has been possible only through the remarkable harmony of volunteerism, leadership and philanthropy practiced by educators like Roger,” said Dean Gallagher.
In accepting the award, Rossier thanked the dean for giving him the opportunity to recruit and mentor young people who went on to enter the school counseling profession and also the opportunity to reach out and advise young alumni who are going to be leaders in the future at USC.
In 2007, Rossier received the School’s RSOE Award for his leadership in the field of education. He also received a USC Alumni Association Service Award in 2010. The couple also endowed a scholarship to benefit USC students living and working in Orange County, Calif., who are pursuing a counseling credential at USC Rossier.
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