With Deep Sadness We Announce the Death of Bonnie Reiss

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Bonnie Reiss, the much-admired Director of the Schwarzenegger Institute and lifelong advocate for good.

Bonnie passed away on Monday, April 2, 2018 in Malibu, California, surrounded by her family after a brave fight with cancer. On behalf of everyone at the University of Southern California, we are honored to have worked with Bonnie, and are so grateful for her friendship and mentorship. She was one of a kind, with an enthusiasm that was matched only by her compassion and intellect. Bonnie, you are irreplaceable, and we will miss you always.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chairman of the Schwarzenegger Institute and Bonnie’s friend for nearly 40 years, issued this statement:

“Bonnie Reiss was a true treasure to California, the United States, the world, and everyone she has ever met. For the past year, she has bravely fought cancer, just as she fought for equality and justice, students and the environment, and every other important issue you can imagine throughout her life of public service. It was in her DNA – Bonnie never accepted things as they are – she was born to shake the status quo to its core and shape the world.

I have learned from decades of friendship that if Bonnie was fighting for a selfless cause, instead of a disease that impacts her own life, she would still be planning, inspiring, and battling. She would be arranging calls and conferences and believe me, she would be winning. I have never met anyone with more energy for helping others and improving the world around her. Sadly, cancer was immune to all of her immeasurable strengths. Bonnie inspired me on a daily basis, and her legacy will inspire me forever.

Now, through a scholarship at the USC Price School of Public Policy, Bonnie can inspire the next generation of active citizens to get involved, to care like she did, and to use their voices for good. I will miss her dearly, but I am so happy that she will continue to leave the world better than she found it through each of the students whose lives she impacts. I love you, Bonnie. Thank you for each and every day we had together.”

Bonnie was a beloved figure at USC, and the Price School of Public Policy has established The Bonnie Reiss Scholarship in her honor. The scholarship will support students with a vision and passion to change the world and who embody Bonnie’s fierce commitment to social justice, her extraordinary leadership ability, and her deep spirit of generosity and warmth.

Rest In peace, Bonnie.

Conyers Davis and Mebus Behrle