The Louis Zamperini Endowed Scholarship Campaign
When circumstances destroy our dreams and darkness sets upon our lives, some may give up, but Trojans Fight On. One of our greatest Trojans, Louis Zamperini, was the embodiment of this motto.
Nicknamed the Torrance Tornado for his incredible speed and aggressive running style on the track field, Louis earned a 4-year full scholarship to attend USC. As a 19 year old, he was the youngest American ever to qualify for the 5,000 in the 1936 Summer Olympics.
At USC he continued his winning streak, as a 3-year letterman who co-captained the 1940 Trojan squad and served as a member of three NCAA championship teams.
As did many young men his age, he answered the call of duty upon the onset of America’s entry in World War II. Shot down over the Pacific Ocean in 1943, Louis was stranded on a life raft and drifted at sea for 47 days before being captured and remained a prisoner-of-war (POW) for 2 years. In true Trojan fashion, Louis became a leader within the POW camp by finding ways to motivate fellow prisoners to stay alive until the end of the war. After his release, he went on to be a successful businessman. A firm believer in forgiveness, Louis traveled to Japan following the war and made amends with his former captors. Sadly, Louis passed away on July 3, 2014, but as a USC scholarship recipient himself, the Louis Zamperini Scholarship will ensure that his memory lives on forever.
The Louis Zamperini Endowed Scholarship will be awarded annually to a male or female track & field athlete who best epitomizes his talents and spirit to receive the same opportunities he received as a USC student. Help us create this lasting legacy.