USC Price pays tribute to Joyce Mann

Joyce Mann, director of USC Price’s International Public Policy and Management Program (IPPAM), unexpectedly passed away on June 27 as she was preparing to leave home for work. She was 65. We remember her here in photos and quotes from a few of the many people who knew and loved her.

Joyce was born in Rome, N.Y. But with a father in the U.S. Air Force, she and her family moved frequently. Waypoints for the Mann family included Winnemuca, Nevada; Okinawa, Japan; Moses Lake, Wash.; San Bernardino, Lompoc and Cambria, Calif. She had intended to retire in Cambria with her husband, Bob Sarnoff, and three sisters, Linda, Barbara and Christine.

Student and teacher from the beginning, she enjoyed swimming, bowling, pickleball, and long walks along Cambria’s seashore.  But her number one sport was always contract bridge, at which she allowed her competitive nature to shine.

Her father, Jim, was American and her mother, Yaiko, was Japanese – and Joyce and her sisters joyfully embraced both cultures and families.

Through IPPAM, Joyce had the opportunity to travel to other countries to recruit future students and attend alumni reunions.  

“She wanted to try everything in her life,” said Linda Mann Melendy, one of her three younger sisters.

She studied microbiology (premed), first at Cuesta College, then UCLA.  When not studying, she organized to remove a nuclear reactor from campus and protested to stop the opening of the Diablo (nuclear) Canyon Plant.  Off-campus, she was a Planned Parenthood clinic defender.  In graduate school, she switched to a master’s in health care policy. After her MPH, it was off to a UCLA/RAND joint PhD program and post-doctoral research.

She joined USC in August, 1999, to start the IPPAM graduate program at what is now USC Price with professor Glenn Melnick.

The Mann Family: James, Barbara, Yaiko, Front row: Joyce and Linda.
Joyce, aged 2.
Jim and Yaiko Mann with 8-month-old Joyce, December 1957.
Joyce in high school.

The high school years

“She was not your typical child. Joyce already read the newspaper when she was 7 or 8 years old.  She wanted to learn about the Vietnam War. I knew she was going to be special.” – Linda Mann Melendy

Joyce with Bob at Joanna Yu’s son Kenny’s wedding (Oahu, near Kailua).
Young Joyce and husband Bob Sarnoff.

“Were Joyce still with us this month, she would want us to all fight on but always with the biggest smile and the deepest compassion for everyone we touch.” – Bob Sarnoff

Top to bottom: Joyce and sisters Linda, Barbara, and Christine.
Joyce and her father, “Papa Jim,” with family members.

“She would do anything for her friends, her family and her Price School/IPPAM family.” – Linda Mann Melendy

“Joyce was the most selfless and generous person.  She truly lived her life to make the world a better place.” – sister Barbara Mann

Colleagues Ann Abrahamyan, Joanna Yu, and an IPPAM student with Joyce.
Price School colleagues and Joyce.

“She could work 17 hours a day, 7 days a week, but she was always kind and generous. She never complained, she never criticized.” – Joanna Yu, academic director, IPPAM, and friend and colleague to Joyce for 30 years.

“I met Joyce when we both worked at RAND, and I feel very fortunate for the support she provided to me when I joined the Price School. Joyce was fiercely intelligent and a joy to be around. Her passing is a great loss for our community,” – Dana Goldman, dean, USC Price School.

“My wife, Megan, and I were at an IPPAM reception … for a visiting dignitary and Price alum from Taiwan who also did beautiful ceramics. He had presented Joyce with one of his extraordinary artistic cups. When my wife admired it, Joyce gave the cup to her and refused to take it back when Megan insisted. We were both bowled over by such a kind and generous act by Joyce.  Megan still treasures that cup and uses it daily. Joyce was an exemplary leader, a person of warmth and natural congeniality whom we will deeply miss.” – Terry Cooper, professor emeritus of public policy

Joyce and students at a Price School “Welcome Back” celebration.
Joyce at IPPAM’s 15th Year Anniversary party.

“It’s been a challenging time since Dr. Joyce Mann passed away. However, I can still feel her spirit about learning and education in my personal and professional life. I am grateful that she arranged the IPPAM program in such a constructive environment so that students always have inspiration to continuously learn and grow.” – Aditia Nugroho, MD, MIPM, IPPAM ’20

“Without question my greatest contribution to the USC and Price School community was the day I convinced Joyce to move with me from UCLA to USC to start IPPAM.  If each life on earth is represented by a candle, Joyce’s candle was brighter than most, and now the earth is a little less bright, both because of her passing and because our lives are a little less bright without Joyce in our lives.” – USC Price Professor Glenn Melnick

“I treasured all the moments I spent with her laughing, playing games, watching movies, traveling, and talking.  I love you forever and always Auntie Joyce.”  – niece Maryn Steeb