USC Coliseum renovation
President C. L. Max Nikias (center) leads the groundbreaking with Councilman Curren Price; Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; Janet Lamkin, president of California for United Airlines; and Lynn Swann, USC’s athletic director.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has a special place in the hearts of all Trojans — and in the minds of people all over the world. Given its historic significance and emotional resonance, USC — as its longest enduring tenant — takes its stewardship role seriously. This point remained at the fore of our discussions in 2013, when we signed our 98-year lease with the Coliseum’s governing body.

As part of that operating agreement, USC pledged to finding a sponsor whose support would help preserve this historic landmark. But we didn’t want to find just any sponsor; we wanted one that shared our commitment to the local community, as well as our commitment to enhancing this structure’s legacy.

We found this with United Airlines. The landmark — to be renamed the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum in 2019 — still includes the structure’s original core name: Memorial Coliseum. It still remains the home of Trojan football, as well as a state and national historic landmark. And in 2028, it will become the first venue in the world to welcome athletes for three Olympic Games.

But, thanks to our new partnership, it will soon receive a range of much-needed upgrades. The $270 million renovation will restore the stadium’s rich architectural style, generate thousands of jobs and give fans modern amenities including dramatically improved seating, expanded concession stands and cutting-edge audio-visual systems. Every Trojan will see and feel the difference when they set foot in the Coliseum.

It still remains the home of Trojan football, as well as a state and national historic landmark. And in 2028, it will become the first venue in the world to welcome athletes for three Olympic Games.

As part of the renovation, the iconic peristyle will also be restored, remaining true to its original design, thanks to a generous gift from two Trojan parents and grandparents, Julia and George Argyros. This is the most immediately recognizable portion of the Coliseum and we are so pleased that its refurbishment will be funded by a family with such deep ties to our university.

The Coliseum’s renovation complements a renaissance throughout Exposition Park. Plans for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art — driven by alumnus George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson — are well underway. This new, highly imaginative structure will house Mr. Lucas’ extensive collection of fine and popular art, and the museum will collaborate closely with other organizations to bring creative educational programs to the community. This addition happens alongside the expansion of the Natural History Museum, renovations to the California African American Museum, and the new Los Angeles Football Club stadium. Indeed, the entire park promises to be a revitalized hub for residents and visitors to south Los Angeles.

All of these changes add to the broader revitalization of downtown Los Angeles, which seems to transform with each passing week. USC is proud to play a significant role in this growth, as USC Village has brought a renewed sense of community to our campus and neighborhood. For those of us who spend our days at USC, it is so gratifying to watch this transformation — and to see the pride it inspires among our alumni.

Fight On!

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