University of Southern California

Scholarship Established in Honor of USC Marshall Dean
Created by Tyler Muse ’07 and his Family, the James G. Ellis Scholarship will Support Undergraduates in a Competitive Recruiting Environment
February 10, 2011 • by News at Marshall

Tyler Muse '07 did not initially meet his mentor James Ellis, dean of the USC Marshall School of Business, under the best of circumstances.

Muse was the newly elected president of his fraternity, and he was in front of a Judicial Board explaining a plan to enhance the grade point average of his house, which at the time had the dubious distinction of having the lowest GPA on fraternity row.

Ellis was on the Judicial Board, Muse recalls, and the dean listened intently to his plan. At the end of the presentation, Ellis said, "Let me tell you all the reasons that's not going to work." And then he went on to provide Muse with concrete suggestions for revising his plan, which resulted in the biggest improvement on the row the following semester.

"I was floored by the guy. He was honest, brilliant, and his suggestions for reworking my plan resulted in immediate and positive results," Muse says.

So began a close relationship between a USC undergraduate and the dean of a business school that endures to this day and has led to the creation of a scholarship in honor of Ellis that will support Marshall undergraduates.

"I pestered him for lunch meetings and got as much of his time as most undergrads could get. He became my mentor," says Muse. "Dean Ellis has been daring and proactive in seeking out new opportunities and challenges. He told me what had worked for him. And more importantly, he told me what had not worked. I discovered that mentorship is learning from the mistakes of others."

Since graduating from USC, Muse has worked in energy project finance, and he is currently a senior analyst at General Electric Energy Financial Services in Houston, Texas. He is also the co-founder of the Tagai Mentorship Program, a nonprofit organization that matches young professionals in New York City with recently immigrated high school students from the International Community High School in the South Bronx. Founding a nonprofit focused on mentorship was influenced by Muse’s experiences at Marshall. "Dean Ellis was very influential in my understanding of mentorship, and he taught me that I could become a good mentor as well," says Muse.

Muse believes that his success early in his career is inextricably linked to Dean Ellis. "He was instrumental when I was trying to find my first job out of college. He went out of his way for me in so many ways, and when Dean Ellis came to New York on Marshall business, he would always find time to have dinner or meet with me," says Muse.

In 2010, Muse and his family wanted to find a way to honor Ellis for his commitment to undergraduate students. They have made a $250,000 challenge grant to establish the James G. Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund at the USC Marshall School of Business. Income from the endowed fund will be used to provide tuition assistance for outstanding and deserving undergraduate students enrolled full-time at the Marshall School of Business.

"The goal of the fund is to keep Marshall strong and ensure that the school can continue to compete for the best and brightest students," he says. "We are challenging alumni and friends to make contributions to the scholarship fund, and we will match those contributions one-to-one."

For Ellis, the scholarship represents an important tool to help USC Marshall continue to attract superb undergraduate students in a highly competitive environment. "This generous gift is a direct way to open doors for talented, deserving students and help them become tomorrow’s leaders," says Ellis. "We all are grateful to Tyler and his family, and the many friends of USC Marshall, for their unwavering support of our students."

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.