Louis J Galen, USC benefactor and namesake of the recently completed $35 million dollar Galen center, died Monday in his Rancho Mirage home. He was 82.
Lou, as he was affectionately known by family and friends, wore many hats in his lifetime. But long before he was a generous philanthropist, before he made his fortune in the saving and loan industry, before he was a bombardier flying missions in World War II…he was a young hot dog vendor at Trojan football games.
It was most likely at these games that Galen developed his life-long love affair with USC. After the fall of Germany and the Axis powers, Galen followed the path back to Troy where he attended USC on the GI Bill. He earned his law degree from the university in 1951.
Galen’s love for his alma mater even crossed into his personal life. As reported by Stuart Silverstein of the LA Times, Galen proposed to his second wife, Helene, at a USC-Notre Dame pep rally in front of some 3,000 people. He even presented her with a Trojan marching band helmet on their wedding day.
“In all my years as a college coach, I’ve never seen anybody who gave more, who lived for their school more, who was more interested in the future after he left this Earth than Lou,” said Tim Floyd, coach of the USC men’s basketball team.
Louis Galen exemplified what it meant to be a member of the Trojan family. The Latin translation of alma mater is “nourishing mother.” It seems that everything that Lou got from USC — the education, the friendship, the excitement and the family — he gave back to the university ten fold. This Veteran’s Day the Trojan Family lost one of its own.
Rest in Peace, Lou…