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Long Time Director of Development Retires at Rose Bowl Aquatics Center

RBAC hires Ron Orr, former USC senior associate athletic director

Published on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | 10:24 am

The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center (RBAC) has announced that Mary Pinola, director of development retired at the end of March. after 29 years at the RBAC.

“Mary’s passion, commitment, vision, caring, and creativity have been instrumental in helping the center achieve many incredible projects,” according to a written statement.

Pinola helped establish the Water Safety/Learn-to-Swim Program which provides all 1,450 third-grade students in Pasadena Unified School District’s 17 elementary schools in with swimming lessons.

Almost 30,000 students have learned to swim through this program, according to the RBAC.

“Learning to swim plays a key role in saving lives and is especially important to Pasadena’s children because more than 80 percent of PUSD students report that they have no aquatic experience.”

This program is funded on an annual basis from multiple sources. The center aspires to create an investment fund dedicated to the long-term viability of this program and is looking to work with the Pasadena Community Foundation.

Contributions are being accepted at to help support the Water Safety/Learn-to-Swim Fund that will be named in Pinola’s honor and will benefit not only this generation but also future generations of Pasadena’s publicly educated students.

The RBAC has hired Ron Orr as Associate Executive Director, Advancement.

Orr comes to the center from USC’s Department of Athletics where he most recently served as senior associate athletic director and leader of the Trojan Athletic Fund.

He was a 6 time All-American, USC record holder, and swam on three NCAA Championship teams.

After graduation, Ron served as assistant to USC’s swim coach Peter Daland for two years and he also served as Associate Director of USC’s Annual Giving Office.

He then went on to work for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee leading up to the 1984 Olympic Games and then served as Venue Manager for swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming events.

Following the Olympic Games, Orr joined the USC Department of Athletics.

In 1995, he was promoted to associate athletic director and to senior associate athletic Director in 2010. Ron’s responsibilities included all annual giving operations, major gifts and coliseum renovation fundraising for USC Athletics.

Ron is also the Founder of Swim With Mike and has served as the organization’s executive director since its inception in 1981, when Mike Nyeholt, a swim teammate, was critically injured in a motorcycle accident. In response, Ron brought together former teammates and other friends to organize a “Swim a Thon” that they called “Swim for Mike”. The scheduled one-time event raised over $58,000 which was more than enough to purchase an adapted van for Mike. Based on Mike’s recommendation, the additional funds were put aside to help other physically challenged athletes.

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