The Class of 2015 celebrates commencement amid raindrops and words of wisdom

May 15, 2015 USC President C. L. Max Nikias addresses the gathered crowd during Friday morning's commencement ceremony. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

As raindrops pelted caps and gowns during USC’s 132nd commencement ceremony, finance executive and main speaker Mellody Hobson offered USC graduates three words of wisdom to conquer any of life’s storms: Just add bravery.

“Bravery,” Hobson told the Trojans, “allows us to push beyond the boundaries that hold us back from living the lives that we want.”

More than 15,000 degrees were conferred to USC graduates, who hailed from each of the 50 states and from more than 115 nations. Despite their


Celebrating the first Mork Family Scholars graduating class

C. L. Max Nikias, Niki C. Nikias, John Mork and Julie Mork with the first ever graduating class of Mork Family Scholars (Photo/Steve Cohn)

Earlier this week, President Nikias and first lady Niki Nikias joined Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Mork and his wife Julie, to celebrate the first graduating class of Mork Family Scholars. The 19 graduates come from a broad range of disciplines encompassing the arts, sciences and engineering. Many attended the celebratory dinner with their parents.

In his remarks, President Nikias congratulated the scholars and paid tribute to the Morks—John and Julie, and their children, Allison and Kyle. “The Morks are a family


Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offers unique perspective to USC students

May 8, 2015 USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Niki C. Nikias, Gordon Brown and USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay, from left, at a USC luncheon (Photo/Steve Cohn)

Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, recently spent two weeks at USC, joining Steven Lamy, professor of international relations and vice dean for academic programs, in teaching the course “Case Studies in Modern Leadership.” Offering an intensive study of international politics and economics at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the class gave 82 undergraduates from diverse majors the opportunity to examine various dimensions of what the world may look like in 2025 from the perspective


President Nikias in conversation with Peter Marx

May 5, 2015

Earlier this year, President C. L. Max Nikias spoke to Peter Marx, Chief Innovation Technology Officer and Deputy Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, as part of the L.A. Live Talks Business Forum series of events. President Nikias discussed the virtues of the modern American research university as well as the areas he’s focused on as President of USC. The full video was recently published and is now available below.


High-energy enthusiasm greets President and First Lady in Texas

May 4, 2015 President C. L. Max Nikias and Niki Nikias with Cecilia Abbott, the First Lady of Texas, who attended USC's Trojan Family Reception in Austin. The Governor and First Lady are proud, soon-to-be Trojan parents.

President Nikias and First Lady, Niki Nikias, returned over the weekend from a three-day tour of Texas, including stops in Houston, Austin and Dallas. They hosted Trojan Family Receptions, meeting hundreds of alumni, parents, and other friends of the university during their whirlwind tour of the state.

In his remarks, President Nikias highlighted USC’s close bonds with Texas – as USC’s larger feeder state for students after California, as the home of USC’s largest alumni base outside of California, and as a


Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits USC

May 2, 2015 Touring the University Park Campus on May 2 are, from left: USC President C. L. Max Nikias; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie Abe; and Niki C. Nikias. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan could not leave the U.S. without returning to USC.

Abe stopped at the University Park Campus on his way to Los Angeles International Airport on May 2, after a week of historic diplomacy that included a state dinner at the White House and the first address by a Japanese prime minister to a joint session of Congress.

It was Abe’s first time on campus in almost 40 years. He spent three semesters here in 1978 studying


USC delegation brings key concerns to Washington

April 24, 2015 USC Chief of Staff Dennis Cornell, President C. L. Max Nikias, and Trustees Bruce M. Ramer and Christopher Cox pose with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Washington D.C. (USC Photo/Eric Abelev)

WASHINGTON — With cherry blossoms blooming and spring in full swing, USC President C. L. Max Nikias led a delegation of trustees, senior administrators and deans to the nation’s capital Wednesday.

Running two concurrent tracks led by Nikias and Provost Michael Quick, delegates discussed with lawmakers a number of pressing issues affecting higher education including research funding, student aid, veteran care and a White House proposal to rate the nation’s post-secondary institutions.

Delegates met with a bipartisan group including: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Sen.


USC delegation brings Cal Grants plea to Sacramento

April 9, 2015 Stopping during their visit to Sacramento are, from left: Trustee Christopher Cox; Randolph Hall, vice president of research; Martha Escutia, vice president, government relations; Thomas Sayles, senior vice president, university relations; Provost Michael Quick; Gov. Jerry Brown; Trustee Robert Padgett; President C. L. Max Nikias; Trustee Lisa Barkett and husband Bill Barkett; and Dean of Financial Aid Thomas McWhorter. (USC Photo/Eric Abelev)

USC President C. L. Max Nikias led a delegation of trustees and senior administrators to the State Capitol in Sacramento today to speak with Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers including Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, Assemblymember Reggie Sawyer-Jones and Senator Kevin De Leon.

USC delegates stressed the importance of maintaining the current level of Cal Grant awards, which provide support for low- and middle-income students pursuing undergraduate degrees.

Support cuts

While Cal Grants for students at public institutions have increased in value, students


President Nikias addresses Mexico’s Council of Foreign Relations

March 5, 2015 USC President C. L. Max Nikias addressed Mexico’s Council of Foreign Relations (COMEXI) on Thursday, March 5, 2015; here, Nikias is seen with COMEXI President Jaime Zabludovsky. (USC Photo/Eric Abelev)

Hghlighting the potential of educational diplomacy, USC President C. L. Max Nikias spoke this morning to members of Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (COMEXI), Mexico’s Council of Foreign Relations. COMEXI’s members include foreign and Mexican diplomats, industry leaders, elected officials and various government and non-governmental organizations.

In his remarks, Nikias stressed the important and evolving role research universities will play in supporting and promoting global partnerships and development and described the initiatives USC is undertaking to be at the center of this international push.


USC honors Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, José Antonio Meade Kuribreña

March 4, 2015 Undersecretary Alcocer accepts Judge Widney Award on behalf of Foreign Secretary Meade

At a special reception and dinner Tuesday at Mexico City’s historic Palacio de Autonomía, USC President C. L. Max Nikias honored Mexican Foreign Secretary José Antonio Meade Kuribreña with the inaugural Judge Widney Award.

Nikias presented the award in recognition of Meade’s leadership and the important gains Mexico’s foreign ministry has made in establishing educational diplomacy and building research and innovation partnerships between Mexico and the United States.