The anonymous donor identified in a USC publication as having given $360 million between 2010 and 2015 is billionaire B. Wayne Hughes Sr., a founder of self-storage behemoth Public Storage, it was reported Thursday.
Hughes, 85, has told associates that publicizing charitable work diminishes it. He “has intentionally chosen to live his life in a way that he avoids the spotlight,” his attorney said in declining an interview request from The Times.
The son of a sharecropper who fled Dust Bowl Oklahoma, Hughes grew up poor in the San Gabriel Valley and won a scholarship to USC in the 1950s.
His reticence about his wealth is a rarity in Los Angeles, where wealth and self-promotion often go hand in hand, according to The Times.
His lifelong friends, include Lynn Swann, Marcus Allen, Rodney Peete and O.J. Simpson. He stood by Simpson through his murder trial and according to a defense attorney, worked behind the scenes to help plot a successful court strategy, The Times reported.
To walk the USC campus is to be presented with a list of its benefactors. Donor names shout from classroom buildings and dorms, the food court and the swimming pool, the news desk at the journalism school, and even the yard of the Catholic church. But for the man believed to have given more money to USC than anyone else, there are no engraved facades or illuminated signs.