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Longtime alumni leader Rod Nakamoto elected to USC Board of Trustees

Rod Nakamoto is a USC alumnus and longtime leader in various roles with the university.

Financial adviser Rod Nakamoto ’83, MBA ’94 was elected to the USC Board of Trustees on June 7.

Nakamoto has a long history as a USC volunteer and alumni leader. He concluded his yearlong term as president of the USC Alumni Association (USCAA) Board of Governors in May, and he led the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association from 2011 to 2013. Nakamoto now brings his understanding of the needs of alumni and his expertise in finance to the university’s highest leadership board.

“Rod Nakamoto embodies the closeness and commitment of the Trojan Family,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said. “He has invested countless hours into this university, and he cares deeply about its mission. His passion for his alma mater and his insight will be of great benefit to our board.”

During his time as president of the USCAA Board of Governors, Nakamoto helped expand the university’s engagement with alumni across generations and from a broad range of backgrounds. He strived to reach out to young alumni — especially those under age 35.

He has personal perspective on the needs of younger members of the Trojan Family. Nakamoto and his wife, Elsie ’82, are not only USC alumni — they’re also Trojan parents. Two of the couple’s three children are Trojans. Their oldest daughter, Brynn ’12, graduated from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and their youngest, Emily ’17, recently earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Their son, Scott, graduated from Pitzer College in 2014.

A start at USC Marshall

Nakamoto got his start at USC as an undergraduate at the USC Marshall School of Business. He pledged the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, and it was at an AKPsi pledge event where Nakamoto met his future wife.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 1983, he started his career as an accountant and controller before earning his MBA and moving into financial planning in 1994. Today, he manages his own practice with his long-term business partner and team at Merrill Lynch.

A resident of Cypress, Calif., Nakamoto has served as a member of the USCAA Board of Governors for seven years, as well as a member of the USC Associates Board of Directors. In recognition of his service, he was honored with USCAA’s President’s Award in 2013 and the Widney Alumni House Award in 2011.

In addition to volunteering for USC, Nakamoto gives his time to organizations such as the Boy Scouts — he was an Eagle Scout himself — and he is an avid backpacker who has hiked hundreds of miles in the Sierra Nevada and beyond.

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