Former Trojan and NFL defensive lineman Al Cowlings, perhaps best remembered as the driver of the white Ford Bronco carrying then-murder suspect O.J. Simpson in his famed 1994 slow-speed freeway chase, is the namesake of a new residential college at USC, the university announced Wednesday.
The university received an anonymous $15 million donation to endow and name the A.C. Allen Cowlings Residential College, one of eight residential colleges planned for the soon-to-open USC Village complex. Since the donation was anonymous, it was unclear if Cowlings played any role in the gift.
The Cowlings College will include about 320 students, according to the university. The residential colleges are scheduled to open in August.
According to USC, the residential colleges “connect students with faculty-in-residence and student support staff to provide a stimulating and social setting, cultural activities and academic excellence that enriches and teaches.”
The $15 million gift will also establish an endowment fund for the USC Marshall School of Business.
“This remarkably generous gift enhances USC’s world-class living and learning environment and will carry Mr. Cowlings’ name, in tribute to his tremendous passion for his alma mater and our students,” said USC President C.L. Max Nikias.
“The residential colleges of USC Village will foster academic and personal growth for our students, immersing them in the intellectual and social life of our university. This project has benefited tremendously from the extraordinary support of USC’s most treasured friends, including this gift’s anonymous donor.”
Cowlings, who was inducted into USC’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009, was a teammate of Simpson at USC, at City College of San Francisco and in the NFL.
Cowlings was behind the wheel of his Ford Bronco on June 17, 1994, with a suicidal Simpson as a passenger following the killings days earlier of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Cowlings, now 70, led police on a slow-speed chase that ended at Simpson’s famed Rockingham estate in Brentwood, where Simpson was arrested.
Cowlings was initially arrested and released on bail, but prosecutors opted not to charge him with a crime for his role in the chase.
At USC, Cowlings was a member of the Trojans’ “Wild Bunch” defensive line in 1969 and helped the team earn two Pac-8 championships and two trips to the Rose Bowl.
— City News Service
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