University of Southern California

TOP GUN, TOM CRUISE, AND TROJANS: A LUCKY MAN
October 29, 2010 • by John Semcken

Dear Friends of Marshall:

The Trojan Family Weekend earlier this month reminded me of what a lucky man I’ve been throughout my life and business career. I went to the Naval Academy and then was lucky to get to fly F-14s. I wasn't initially selected as a fighter pilot, but one of the instructor's wife had a baby, a spot opened up, and I said, "Yes." Later, I was chosen as an advisor to the film Top Gun. Tom Cruise, the cast and I spent nearly every day of the shoot together. That opened new doors for me.

I was lucky to go into real estate and have the right mentors, including Ed Roski, who gave me the opportunity to work for Majestic Realty and develop the Staples Center with him. And currently, I have the good fortune to work with Ed on bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles.

Now, through my children I'm lucky again. My son Reed is a freshman at the USC Marshall School of Business. I'm fortunate that he was smart enough to get in, and that he's been able to fulfill the number one wish he's had his whole life -- to represent the 4th generation of Trojan's in the Semcken family.

As a parent, I see that Marshall is a tremendous opportunity in so many ways more than just offering a great education. It is breeding an entire culture of success. Marshall recognizes where business opportunities will be 20 years from now. Its focus on international opportunities is essential. Marshall also encourages students to broaden their horizons, to study literature, foreign languages, the humanities, and to volunteer in the community.

The tuition doesn't cover the extraordinary range of opportunities offered at Marshall. International trips; scholarship possibilities; bringing in global business leaders to share their expertise with the students – those things don't materialize out of thin air. They happen because of the work of dedicated administrators, faculty, and staff. They happen because committed parents, alums, and friends give back to the school.

I hope you will consider joining me in making a gift to Marshall. It could make all the difference to a student who will look back and consider himself or herself a very lucky person.

Fight On!
John Semcken
Vice President
Majestic Realty