Three generations of Trojan women proudly show their USC victory signs.
Courtesy of Catherine Anaya

From USC alum to USC mom

In a series of columns, alums of USC Annenberg share stories of their time at the school, discuss their career, and offer advice to students.

When I help my daughter move into her USC dorm room this August, it’ll be 30 years since my mother did the same for me. Like me, she was a USC grad ecstatic about her daughter carrying on the Trojan Family legacy. Only now is the deep meaning behind that milestone resonating for me, the way I’m sure it did for her. 

I like to say I went into USC a shy, scared teenager and walked out a confident, fearless leader. Everything I’ve become is a result of the opportunities I was provided at USC. As a freshman I had no clue what I wanted to do as a career, only that I enjoyed writing. I joined the Daily Trojan staff and stayed on my entire four years creating a foundation that would serve me well when I decided to pursue broadcast journalism. I joined the Greek system and grew to understand the value of sisterhood and creating deep friendships that remain to this day. I cultivated my curiosity and critical-thinking from an array of world-renowned professors. 
Every time I step on campus I grow emotional thinking about the person USC helped me become. 

I married my USC sweetheart and when our daughter was born we brought her home from the hospital in a USC blanket and outfitted her in all things USC as often as we could. He had been a Trojan baseball player and I was a bat girl for the team. We bled Cardinal and Gold. We talked often about how wonderful it would be if she attended USC one day. When we started touring colleges a few years ago, her dad and I understood that whatever college she would attend would have to be her decision to make not ours, even if it wasn’t USC. So when she announced USC as her first choice and the place where she felt she truly belonged, we were overjoyed. We understood legacy status is never a guarantee of admission; she worked hard to continue to prove herself worthy of her acceptance into USC’s fall freshman class. Sadly, her father wasn’t here to share in the joy of opening the gold packet that came in the mail with the letter welcoming her to the Trojan family. He passed away unexpectedly last October, in the middle of her application process. 

I have no doubt, though, that he will be with us on move in day next month. He will beam with pride from above watching our daughter fulfill the dream he had from the day she was born. My mother will cry knowing our Trojan family legacy will continue for a third generation. 

And me? I won’t even bother trying to contain the gamut of emotions I know will play out that day because from that day forward I become more than just proud USC alum. I become a proud USC mom!

Catherine Anaya is a media personality and three-time Emmy Award-winning former news anchor of more than 25 years. She is a proud mother of two, a graduate of USC Annenberg (B.A., Communication) and a current USC parent and Annenberg Alumni Ambassador. Catherine has previously anchored in Los...

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