Anthony D. Lazzaro, distinguished USC Senior Vice President Emeritus and immensely influential University administrator, passed away at 100 on Thursday, May 20.
Lazzaro, who first joined the University’s administration in 1948 after he graduated from USC, served as the foremost administrator in monumental projects such as the University’s involvement in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the construction of two-thirds of USC’s current buildings, and the creation of the University’s Health Sciences Campus.
Over 60 years of involvement with the University, Lazzaro spearheaded many of USC’s most renowned initiatives and ventures. Beginning as the assistant business manager and superintendent of buildings and grounds, he worked his way up to the title of University Vice President and Special Adviser to the President in 1988, following 40 years of service. Lazzaro played a key role in securing funding for USC’s very first multimillion-dollar building––the Viterbi School’s Olin Hall––and his business expertise landed the University an additional $3.5 million grant to build Viterbi’s Vivian Hall and the Norman Topping Instructional Television Center. During his time at the university, he also served as president of the Western Association of College and University Business Officers in 1972 and became the president of the association’s national branch in 1978.
When Los Angeles was chosen to host the 1984 Summer Olympics, Lazzaro was responsible for much of USC’s historic involvement in the games and negotiated agreements totaling over $19 million. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Olympic Village as well as numerous other buildings and facilities for the games, including the Uytengsu Aquatics Center (originally the Olympic Swim Stadium). Lazzaro even lent former president Reagan his own suite as a temporary office for the opening day of the games.
Lazzaro’s dedication to USC transcended his retirement in 1991, serving the University as an administrative advisor and consultant until recently. In 2007, he was honored by the USC Alumni Association with the Fred B. Old Award for his outstanding service to the University over six decades. Years after Lazzaro’s retirement, he continued to be an exceptional influence in the USC community and will be remembered for his compassion and commitment to helping others.
To all of us at the USC Emeriti Center, “Tony” was an honored supporter and trusted advisor who connected the Emeriti Center’s directors with valuable networking contacts and wise counsel. Tony’s lifelong and beloved wife, Shirley Jones Lazzaro, preceded him in death. Tony is survived by daughter Nancy Lazzaro (’71) and former USC assistant professor of Italian literature; grandson Derek Lazzaro, JD (’09), and grandson Anton Lazzaro, an entrepreneur.