Circle K International began as a Kiwanis club service project to provide an opportunity for capable, ambitious, and worthy young men to acquire a college education by assisting them, where necessary, with their financial problems; by means of a scholarship fund, if available, or securing part-time employment. Additionally, affording its members a useful training in the social graces of a well-rounded personality was a focus area for CKI. Soon after the concept of CKI was recognized and accepted, the element of community service was introduced to CKI, thus creating an appealing outlet for collegians around the globe.
Today, as the largest collegiate service organization, CKI boasts a membership of more than 13,000 collegians on nearly 550 campuses worldwide. CKI is a student-led organization with an International Board of Trustees elected by its membership each year. Embodied by its tenets of leadership, fellowship, and service at the club, district, and International levels, CKI continues to grow through service to he world’s campuses and communities.
Circle K International has grown tremendously over the past 40 years, sometimes in spirit, sometimes in members, and still other times in service to the community. Circle K International is continuing to move toward ever-increasing service and leadership development as well as providing fellowship and personal growth to the members. Though history provides a good foundation from which to view achievements and obstacles, Circle K International must connect the organization’s mission with tomorrow’s college students and tomorrow’s student organizations to envision the possibilities for the organization and realize its dream of creating a better world in which to live.
USC Circle K International was officially chartered on March 1, 1988. Within its 30 year history, the club has been an integral part of the California-Nevada-Hawaii Circle K District. Though smaller in size compared to local chapters in Metro Division, USC Circle K takes pride in its ability to create a strong, service-oriented community here on campus.
The club has been present throughout the course of USC's recent history. In 1992, USC Circle K club members assisted the Daily Trojan in disseminating information about final examinations when campus shut down because of the Los Angeles Riots. In 1994, the club helped rehabilitate USC after Northridge earthquake hit Southern California. And since these events, the club has continued to serve the campus in various ways, such as volunteering at Friends and Neighbors Day, Spirits at Troy and Kicks for Kids.
In 1992, Rich Willens '93 was elected to serve as the Governor of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of Circle K International. As governor, Willens represented over 40 chapters throughout the states of California, Nevada and Hawaii. To date, USC has only had one governor represent the organization in its history.
In 1999, Tutanh Ma '00 became the same second member in club history to be elected into position beyond the club level. She served as the Lieutenant Governor of Metro Division.
Becoming the first elected district officer from USC Circle K in 16 years, Allen Pham '19 made club history when he was elected to serve as the Metro Division Lieutenant Governor for the 2016-17 year. Serving in the position as a sophomore, Pham chartered two new Circle K chapters, improved relations among the division's eight chapters and organized monthly large-scale service projects.