USC Business School Inducts Local ‘Jewel’ Into Hall of Fame

San Marino resident and locally renowned jeweler David Lee recently was inducted into his alma mater USC’s Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame, which will adorn the new Fertitta Hall at the USC Marshall School of Business, will recognize 20 entrepreneurs when all is said and done, whether they are USC alumni or not.
“It’s quite rewarding,” Lee said. “Being acknowledged by the school and being one of their own is inspiring to students.”
Lee has continued his father’s jewelry business, Hing Wa Lee Jewelers, into the 21st century, first joining the manufacturing and wholesale business in 1990 as a USC student. Facing a recession, Lee proposed steering the business more toward retailing and successfully led it to become the San Gabriel Valley’s top jewelry retailer.
Lloyd Greif, the namesake of USC’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, had the final say in the 20 inductees and said Lee, who guest lectures for entrepreneurial classes at USC, was an easy choice and praised his reaching out to the niche market of fellow Chinese immigrants and tourists.
“He has certainly been an enterprising entrepreneur who has built a multi-location business,” Greif said. “David has built quite a niche market catering to these tourists.”
Greif said the inductees’ imagery will be shown in the new building along with their backgrounds.
“The whole idea is for students to be inspired by their stories,” he said.
Lee said he has continued to be proud of his collegiate academia and especially praised the entrepreneurship program for recently ranking fourth nationally.
“It’s very fun to give back to the school and participate,” he said. “It was a great program and has even improved since I’ve been there.”
Lee also serves on the advisory board for the Greiff Center and board of leaders for the Marshall School.
“The kids love to listen to him,” said Jim Ellis, dean of the Marshall School. “Kids enjoy listening to people who are doing things. He’s a real entrepreneur, no question about it. He really gets the world of entrepreneurship and he works hard at it.”

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