As the 2014 year began, USC hosted key events that celebrate the ongoing legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 22nd annual Empowerment Congress, chaired by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, brought together stakeholders from civic organizations, faith-based organizations, private businesses, and community-based organizations to identify issues of justice and equality in Los Angeles. At another event on campus during the national holiday weekend, the law enforcement community came together for the 5th annual Los Angeles Police Department Martin Luther King Breakfast, with a special address by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Professor Arieh Warshel, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was celebrated at an event at the USC Town and Gown attended by faculty colleagues from across campus.
Warshel is a distinguished professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the Nobel Prize in chemistry for 2013 on Oct. 9 to Warshel and two colleagues for developing the key principles behind computer simulations that are now indispensable in the study of chemical reactions.
Warshel, Martin Karplus of the Université de Strasbourg in France and Harvard University, and Michael Levitt of Stanford University were recognized for “the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” Their crucial achievement was to marry classical and quantum mechanics in order to model both the relatively large-scale movements of atoms in a molecule, and the minute dances of the free electrons that shuttle between atoms and spark many chemical reactions.
Read the complete article at USC News.
At a standing room only event on campus, USC President C. L. Max Nikias announced the creation of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, a cornerstone of research collaboration at the intersection of engineering and the life and biomedical sciences. The USC Michelson Center, supported by a $50 million gift from orthopaedic surgeon, inventor, and philanthropist Gary K. Michelson, will provide a 190,000-square-foot research building housing up to 30 principal investigators, with labs ranging from advanced microscopy to nanofabrication.
“This will be a center that will unify engineers, scientists, and physicians in solving real problems. When our experts develop a new idea or a timely innovation, this center will help their advances move rapidly from the laboratory into our society,” said President Nikias, “The work that will be done at USC will have a profound positive impact on the curing of diseases, the creation of life-saving biomedical devices, and on many other areas beyond the field of healthcare.”
Read more about the recent gift, which represents a milestone in USC’s current fundraising initiative — the Campaign for the University of Southern California. The Campaign, with a fundaising goal of $6 billion, recently reached its halfway point, raising an unprecedented $3 billion in three years.
Homecoming weekend on the USC campus was filled with excitement—not only was it the site of a thrilling College Game Day live broadcast, tens of thousands of loyal Trojans came to renew connections, cheer on the Trojan football team, and enjoy the camaraderie created by The Trojan Family.
A special tribute was made to some of the academic champions of the university, as National Award winners Kevin Starr, Andrew Viterbi, Morten Lauridsen, and Solomon Golomb were honored in front of more than 90,000 cheering Trojan fans.
The sold-out game brought Trojans to their feet as the weekend closed with an upset win against the 4th-ranked Stanford team. Fight on!
At an installation ceremony attended by USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Niki C. Nikias, Dean Yannis C. Yortsos of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and USC Trustee Daniel J. Epstein, the new holder of the Epstein Family Chair of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Jong-Shi Pang, was formally welcomed to the faculty. Pang, who is an expert in optimization and operations research, envisions using mathematical models to solve the major issues facing society, from health and social sciences, to homeland security and communications systems.
Mrs. Niki C. Nikias officially opened the new Town & Gown of USC Court of Recognition at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on October 1, 2013, delivering a welcome address to the group of dedicated Trojan leaders. Town & Gown of USC is a non-profit philanthropic organization whose purpose is to support USC through scholarships for students, building and campus enhancements and cultural programs. The Court of Recognition commemorates the contributions of outstanding women who have supported USC through their transformative leadership and gifts. Pictured in the photo above are Verna B. Dauterive, Niki C. Nikias, and Sheila Derrig.
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.
During the holiday weekend celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., USC President C. L. Max Nikias welcomed several key stakeholder groups to the USC campus for high-level civic dialogues. He welcomed Los Angeles County Supervisor (second district) Mark Ridley-Thomas during the 21st annual Empowerment Congress Summit on Saturday, January 19, 2013. This event brings together constituents, community leaders, business owners, and local organizations to engage in quality dialogue around the issues that are most important to the diverse constituency in the Second Supervisorial District of Los Angeles County.
President Nikias also welcomed the Los Angeles Police Department and Police Chief Charlie Beck for the fourth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration, an event commemorating the transformative partnership between the LAPD and the African American community.
USC President C. L. Max Nikias recently spoke on a panel discussion on California’s opportunities for growth, business innovation and workforce development in today’s complex economic environment. The panel was part of the Milken Institute’s California Summit, held November 14 and 15, 2012. The panel, titled “A Conversation with California Leaders,” was moderated by James Canales, president and CEO of the James Irvine Foundation, and included panelists Kafi Kafi Blumenfield, president and CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation, Russell Goldsmith, chairman and CEO of City National Bank, Steven Mnuchin, chairman and CEO of OneWest Bank Group, and Lynda Resnick, vice chairman of Roll Global.
Pictured from left to right are panel speakers Blumenfield, Goldsmith, Canales, Resnick, Mnuchin, and Nikias.
The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism broke ground on Nov. 8, 2012 on a building that will turn the fundamentals of human interaction into physical reality. The ceremony also marks the launch of the school’s $150 million fundraising initiative, part of the $6 billion Campaign for USC. Funded with a $50 million gift from the Annenberg Foundation, the five-story, 88,000-square-foot Wallis Annenberg Hall will bridge the traditional and transformational. Its exterior harmonizes with USC’s iconic architecture, while its ultramodern interior fosters “blue-sky” thinking.
Pictured in this photo: USC Annenberg School alumna and KCAL 9 news anchor Sylvia Lopez, USC President C. L. Max Nikias, USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett, Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube, and USC Annenberg School Dean Ernest J. Wilson III.