Longtime USC Mann faculty member, donor and alumnus Mel Baron recently published a memoir, Beyond the Dream. Written as a love letter to his family across generations, it also recounts Baron’s colorful, purpose-filled life.
The autobiography tracks his early years of watching his father provide for the family during the Great Depression and World War II. The elder Baron succeeded in businesses for which he had no training or experience—from operating a hotdog stand (assisted by 10-year-old Mel) to owning racehorses and even running an illegal bookie operation.
The book then follows Baron as he pursues a degree in the “sedate” field of pharmacy before going on to develop groundbreaking services such as home IV infusions and expanding his business until its purchase by a Fortune 500 company. It also explores his involvement in the civil rights movement in the late 1960s.
In 1981, Baron embarked on a new adventure as a part-time faculty member at the USC Mann School, joining full-time as professor of clinical pharmacy in 1990. In all, he devoted more than four decades to the school. His achievements included helping create and serving as director of the first-level externship program. Leveraging his entrepreneurial and leadership skills, Baron also co-directed the PharmD/MBA program, as well as teaching clerkships in pharmacy administration and on the healthcare needs of special populations.
The latter became a special passion, and he became renowned for championing efforts to improve the health of underserved populations—including as a consulting pharmacist for several community clinics that serve indigent patients in Los Angeles County. His scholarly focus was on the health literacy program he created to provide accessible health-related media for underserved and at-risk Latino populations.
Baron hopes his memoir will inspire future generations to reach beyond their perceived limits and embrace their dreams.
Anyone who makes a gift of $100 or more between now and December 31, 2023, to the Mel and Lorraine Baron Endowed Scholarship Fund at the USC Mann School will receive a copy of Beyond the Dream. For more information, contact Cheryl Stanovich, chief development officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-442-1738.