University of Southern California: 7 notable USC alumni to receive honors at the 88th annual Alumni Awards

Seven outstanding Trojans will be honored for their professional achievements and legacy of service at the 88th annual USC Alumni Awards on April 23 at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.

Mary Bono, a former congresswoman, is one of two Trojans who will receive the Alumni Merit Award, which recognizes alumni whose remarkable accomplishments speak well for the range and quality of a USC education. Bono is the chairman of the Board of Directors overseeing the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and is the chair and CEO for Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse. Bono also is on the Board of Directors for the SAFE Project and Verde Technologies.

Mike Nyeholt also will receive the Alumni Merit Award. He is the chairman emeritus of the board of the Swim With Mike Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund and is known as the “Mike” behind the successful Swim With Mike program that provides financial resources to physically challenged athletes for advanced education. The organization celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. So far, it has raised more than $24 million and supported 253 student-athletes at 131 universities.

Brothers Adam and Ryan Goldston, who played both basketball and football at USC, will together receive the Young Alumni Merit Award, which is presented to alumni age 35 or younger.

The Goldstons are the co-founders and co-CEOs of a shoe company, Athletic Propulsion Labs, which produces the eight-spring Load ’N Launch shoe technology. They have been recognized by the White House under former President Barack Obama, Forbes’ 30 under 30 and WWD’s 40 Under 40, and were named two of the 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs in 2020.

“Mary, Mike, Adam and Ryan have each demonstrated a remarkable Trojan spirit of innovation through their respective work in advocacy, philanthropy and entrepreneurship,” said Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations Patrick Auerbach. “It’s an honor to and a privilege to recognize them for their accomplishments and impact.”

Notable USC alumni receive Alumni Service Awards
Alumni Service Awards, which recognize alumni for their outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the university, will be bestowed upon three individuals. They are:

● Jules Buenabenta, a seven-year member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and a longtime university volunteer. He is CEO and president of Jules and Associates, an equipment leasing company that is among the region’s largest minority-owned businesses. Buenabenta, who also is the manager and majority shareholder of the records, facilities and IT management company Vendor Direct Solutions, has served the university in many roles, including as co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (2019). He also is a member of the Board of Councilors for the USC Marshall School of Business and is on the USC Athletics’ Board of Counselors.

● Ramona Cappello, a former member of the USC Board of Trustees, is a partner with CEO Coaching International and the founder and CEO of Sun Harvest Salt, a distributor of all-natural low-sodium sea salts. Cappello also is the boards of Mercury Insurance, the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Young Presidents’ Organization. Cappello is a member of Board of Councilors for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and for the USC Kaufman School of Dance. She has been a member of the USC Associates and USC Marshall Partners.

● Beth Petak-Aaron, is the president-elect of Town & Gown of USC and a longtime university volunteer. She has served on the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and was the former chair of the Alumnae Coordinating Council, chair of the Governance Committee and Nominating Committee chair of the Trojan League of South Bay. She has also served as the alumni representative for the USC Convocations Committee.

“Jules, Ramona and Beth are exemplary leaders whose support for USC is an inspiration,” said John Iino, USC Alumni Association Board of Governors president. “Each is deeply committed to serving USC, and we are proud to recognize their decades of hard work at this year’s Alumni Awards celebration.”

Every year since 1932, the USC Alumni Association has paid tribute to distinguished members of the Trojan Family. The annual Alumni Awards gala is the premier event hosted by the USC Alumni Association. Past honorees include USC Trustee David Bohnett, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and opera great Marilyn Horne. Recent honorees include social work pioneer Suzanne Dworak-Peck, actress and activist America Ferrera and NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott .

All proceeds from the event support USC Alumni Association programs and services.

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