“I want them to know it’s my turn to give back”

My USC Story: first-year student

USC First-year student Tony Ouyang photographed standing outside in the USC courtyard, looking straight into the camera and smiling. He plans to work hard, graduate, explore venture opportunities, and give back to his family who helped him get to LA.
My USC Story first-year student Tony Ouyang, 18, photographed September 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Gus Ruelas)

Wentiao Ouyang, who goes by Tony, has business acumen and work ethic in his blood. He grew up working and managing his family-owned restaurant in South Bend, Indiana. He went on to found umbrella holding company Lux Technologies as a high school sophomore, this fall, opens his own ramen shop.

Why did you choose USC?

As a business major, it was important for me to be in a big city so I could be at the forefront of innovation and commerce. Los Angeles not only provides a myriad of internship opportunities but also a hub that’s diverse and saturated with new ideas. Specifically, USC stood out to me because of its powerful alumni network and vibrant Trojan pride that radiates the moment you step on campus.

What did you do when you first found out you got into USC?

Growing up across from the University of Notre Dame, I had always thought that it was the college that I was going to go to. But when I got the large cardinal package from USC, I knew it was a place I had to explore. And when I visited during acceptance day—I know this is cliché but—I just had a gut feeling this is the type of environment I wanted to be in, with its perfect weather and Trojan pride. October 12th is going to be insane!

What are you most excited to learn/do/experience while at USC?

Coming from a boarding school in the middle of the cornfields of Northern Indiana, I’m so excited to explore the vibrant and diverse city of L.A. I hope to build new relationships and memories while diving into all the amazing opportunities USC has to offer.

What is one thing you brought with you to USC that means the most to you?

We just took a vacation trip to Europe this summer and roaming around Venice, my dad pointed out this cool live-size Trojan helmet. Perfect memorabilia for an extraordinary trip and an even better transition to USC.

What piece of advice about starting college do you think you’ll follow?

“The world is your oyster.” At first, I was like, “WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? How is the world like bivalve mollusks with rough irregular shells that happen to taste really good?”

After some hard thinking and explanation, I’ve finally settled on this: It doesn’t matter what your background is or where you came from, if you have dreams and goals, go make it a reality.

What do you think/hope you’ll be like four years from now?

Four years from now, with L.A. as my new backbone, I hope to have successfully expanded my restaurants and investment portfolios around the nation while picking up on new ventures such as an Asian supermarket chain. However, while those are great ambitions, more importantly, in four years, I hope my parents have the chance to retire. Working cruel 14-to 17-hour shifts 365 days a year to support me for the past 20 years, I want them to know it’s my turn to give back.

Read more stories here!