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USC President C. L. Max Nikias and USC Board of Trustees Chairman Edward P. Roski, Jr. celebrate the 130th commencement.
Drawing a crowd of more than 60,000 to the University Park Campus, USC celebrated its 130th commencement ceremony on May 17, 2013. The 13,284 new graduates respresented all 50 states and more than 100 countries around the world with over half earning master’s or doctorate degrees.
USC President C. L. Max Nikias told the graduating students that it was a pleasure and a privilege to unleash their talents and energies upon the world.
“Yes, you are graduating into times of uncertainty. But what is uncertainty? It is the beginning of adventure,” Nikias said. “Always remember: To the bold, uncertainty is a fountain of infinite creative possibilities. As the Roman poet Virgil observed more than 2,000 years ago, to be a Trojan is to be an adventurer.”
The commencement address was delivered by music industry executive, Jimmy Iovine who shared some important life lessons and conveyed to the USC graduates that their education would give them an edge in the competitive world. “Today, each one of you has an excellent reason to believe in yourselves,” said Iovine, chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records. “You have earned a degree from USC. You are graduating from one of the greatest universities in the world.”
The ceremony also bestowed an Honorary Doctorate degree on Iovine along with fellow honorees Nobel Prize-winning biologist John Gurdon, renowned playwright David Henry Hwang, arts benefactor Glorya Kaufman, USC alumnus and USC Board of Trustees Chairman Edward P. Roski, Jr., and longtime USC supporter and namesake for USC Roski School of Fine Arts Gayle Garner Roski. Valedictorian Katherine Fu and Salutatorians Alexander Fullman and Julia Mangione were also honored.
Nikias also recognized National Medal of Science winner Solomon Golomb, University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics who has taught at USC for more than 50 years, and graduating USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Jimmy Iovine, Erica Muhl, Dr. Dre, C. L. Max Nikias
With a launch celebration that connected the high-tech hub of Silicon Beach in Santa Monica, CA to the pre-commencement USC campus via livestream, the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation officially kicked off a new program for the digital generation.
President C. L. Max Nikias noted that the $70 million gift from the two media industry moguls to establish the USC Iovine Young Academy was one of the largest gifts from the entertainment industry to an institution of higher education.
Jimmy Iovine, a legendary music producer and entrepreneur, noted that his motivation for approaching USC with the idea for this unique educational program was his observation that “students today live in a different world where the lines between art and technology are starting to get blurred in a great way…This place is a dream factory—you don’t have to get stuck in calculus to succeed.”
The high point of the event was Dr. Dre’s infectious enthusiasm for USC, as he gave a shout out to the massive crowds gathered in front Tommy Trojan. Hundreds of students came out of their study and packing modes, excited about the potential for new classes emphasizing creativity, and all cheered at Dre’s declaration, “I’m an official Trojan now.”
As the event came to a close, confetti and streamers shot over the crowds as the Trojan Marching Band played “California Love” under the cloudless blue Southern California sky.
Jimmy Iovine is slated to address Trojans as the 2013 Commencement speaker on May 17.
Read the announcement news story at USC News.
President Nikias recently recently met with the members of the Trojan Knights. The Trojan Knights are a spirit and service oriented organization and constitute one of the oldest traditions on campus.
From left: USC Trustee Frank Fertitta III, USC Marshall Dean James G. Ellis, USC President C. L. Max Nikias, USC Trustee Thomas Barrack Jr.
The USC Marshall School of Business kicked off the USC Marshall Initiative, a $400 million fundraising drive, with a gala on May 8 that drew some 300 donors, friends, faculty, administrators and students to Warner Bros. Studio, where they were welcomed by Kevin Tsujihara ’86, CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment and host of the event.
At the event, USC President C. L. Max Nikias spoke of USC Marshall’s legacy and its longtime ties to the city of Los Angeles and the global business community.
“For more than 90 years, the Marshall School has been a dynamic cornerstone of USC. The roots of its entrepreneurial DNA can be traced back to USC’s chief founder, Robert Maclay Widney, who is also considered the chief architect of modern Los Angeles,” Nikias said. “Today that entrepreneurial spirit is carried on by the school’s students, faculty and alumni, who take what is taught in the classrooms at USC into boardrooms and businesses around the world.”
The school seeks to raise $400 million to fuel globally relevant programming and opportunities. The funds will support endowments for academic programming, student scholarships and faculty research and teaching in addition to supporting capital projects and other critical priorities. The initiative is part of The Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to secure $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world.
A keynote speech was delivered by USC Trustee Thomas Barrack Jr. ’69, CEO of Los Angeles – based Colony Capital LLC. USC Trustee Frank Fertitta III ’84, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas-based Fertitta Entertainment and Station Casinos also gave remarks.
Read the complete article at USC News.
Jack Ma, founder of AliBaba, and USC President C. L. Max Nikias
President C. L. Max Nikias was featured in a special program hosted by the Nature Conservancy at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Thursday, May 2. The event, titled, “The Nature of Our Future: How Global Interconnectivity Is Driving Social Change and Shaping Our Natural World,” explored how technology and philanthropy can be directed toward solving pressing environmental issues.
Nikias interviewed Jack Ma, founder and outgoing chairman of China’s pioneering e-commerce site, Alibaba Group, about environmental challenges in the world’s most populous nation.
The Nikias family welcomed members of several support organizations that play a key role in The Trojan Family: Town and Gown of USC, the Association of Trojan Leagues and the Alumnae Coordinating Council. Members of these groups were invited for an afternoon tea on Sunday, April 28, 2013. Trojan spirit was in abundance, colorful hats were optional.
From left to right: Patrick Auerbach, interim associate vice president of alumni relations; alumni honorees Jerry Neely, Linda Givvin, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Frank Fertitta III, and Rebecca Soni; USC President C. L. Max Nikias; alumni honorees Barbara Cotler and Geraldine Knatz; USC Alumni Association President Mitchell Lew.
The USC Alumni Awards were held on April 27, 2013 and celebrated the accomplishments and service of USC alumni in the Trojan Family.
Newly named USC Trustee Frank Fertitta III was honored with the Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award. Fertitta is chairman and CEO of Las Vegas-based Fertitta Entertainment, a resort and casino development and management company, and of Station Casinos, one of the largest gaming companies in the United States. Fertitta is also a founder and principal owner of Zuffa LLC, a company that owns and operates the Ultimate Fightin Championship (UFC). Fertitta and his wife, Jill, recently made a naming gift to the USC Marshall School of Business for a state-of-the-art building—Jill and Frank Fertitta Hall—dedicated to the school’s undergraduate programs.
Six -time Olympic medalist Rebecca Soni was honored with the Young Alumni Merit Award. Soni is a world-class swimmer whose most recent accomplishment is winning two gold medals and a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, and Mark Ridley-Thomas, the supervisor of Los Angeles Country 2nd District, were honored with the Alumni Merit Awards. USC honored three members of The Trojan Family for their longstanding commitment and service to the university: Barbara Cotler, who serves on the USC Athletics board of counselors and the executive board of the Spirit of Troy; Linda Givvin, the past president of Town and Gown and a member of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors; and Jerry Neely, a USC Trustee and mentor at the USC Marshall School of Business.
From left: USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Niki C. Nikias, Elon Musk, Debra Reed, Fariborz Maseeh, Sheryl Yortsos, and Dean Yannis C. Yortos
At the 35th Annual Viterbi Awards on April 24, 2013, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering officially launched the School’s $500 million fundraising initiative as part of the Campaign for the University of Southern California, the $6 billion fundraising effort.
“Viterbi’s bold initiative is a very important part of the larger Campaign for USC, which is the most ambitious effort in the history of the university,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “And I am thrilled that some 185,000 people have already donated to our overall campaign. We are very grateful to all of the generous individuals and organizations that have made such wise investments in the people and the future of USC. These people know that gifts of every size, both large and small, get us closer to our goal.”
Honorees at the gala event included Elon Musk, the recipient of the Daniel J. Epstein Engineering Management Award for his success with both SpaceX and Tesla; Debra Reed, recipient of the Mark A. Stevens Distinguished Alumni Award for her pioneering work as the CEO of Sempra Energy; and Fariborz Maseeh, recipient of the Entrepreneurship in Engineering Award for his ongoing philanthropy and sponsorship of the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition.
Paying tribute to the wide range of intellectual and leadership achievements of the past year, the 32nd annual Academic Honors Convocation was held on April 23 at Town & Gown to recognize the best and the brightest among USC students, faculty and administrators.
“USC’s outstanding faculty and students all contribute to our academic community in a variety of ways — through their teaching, research, patient care, creative expression and professional innovation,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “This evening’s honorees have distinguished themselves in one or more of these categories. Together they embody the university’s greatest aspirations.”
Nikias presented the Presidential Medallion, the university’s highest honor, to USC Trustee Verna B. Dauterive, and Inderbir Gill, chairman and professor of the Department of Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Read the complete article at USC News.
For the third consecutive year, tens of thousands of book lovers from across Southern California gathered on the University Park Campus for the 18th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, a free, two-day event held April 20-21.
“We are very grateful that you have made this the largest, most prestigious public literary festival in the nation,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias in his opening remarks to the crowd gathered in front of the USC Stage in Hahn Plaza.
“I believe there is no better place to hold an event that ignites the imagination and inspires scholarly activity than a world-class university like USC,” he continued, after noting that this year’s festival featured numerous live-music performances and film screenings, in addition to a host of literary discussions and events.