University of Southern California

For My Dad
June 18, 2010 • by Stewart Hagestad

Dear Friends of Marshall:

When I was a kid, I had two heroes. One was a professional athlete; the other was my dad. Now, I'm a student at USC, just as my father was years ago. And I play golf for my college, just as the professional athlete did. But my perspective on life has changed. It began in 2008, my junior year in high school. When the recession started, my dad and I had kitchen counter talks about economics, about his field of business, and what it meant to be an entrepreneur. As our discussions continued, I felt I had to dig deeper to the next level. That's when I knew I wanted to go to USC Marshall.

Looking back on my freshman year here, I never thought I'd spend so much time in the library. Marshall is competitive. Kids are here to set themselves up for the future. It's a big deal. But if you really want to put your head down and succeed, it's there for the taking. The professors are incredibly helpful; they're always ready to take time to guide, advise, and talk about either world issues or personal ones. I love it here.

One of the unique features of USC Marshall is the Learning about International Commerce (LINC) program, which offers freshmen a chance to study business abroad. It's a fantastic way to gain a global perspective. When the school needed matching funds for a grant that enabled financially strapped students to take advantage of this program, Dad stepped up. I'm proud that the LINC program is available to every student, and that my father helped make this possible.

It's funny. As the years go on, I still love golf. But my view of heroes has changed. Winning a golf tournament is great. But these days, I think helping a kid achieve his dream is the mark of a real champion. As Father's Day approaches this weekend, I think I have just one hero: My dad.

Thank you, dad, for helping kids you'll never even meet have better lives. I hope you'll join my father, John Hagestad, in supporting USC Marshall.

Fight On!
Stewart Hagestad
Class of 2012