Delivered on August 20, 2015
Today, we induct you into the academy, and we embrace you as scholars. We have gathered here in this place at a very pivotal moment in your lives, and a very pivotal moment in this university’s history. USC today is one of the academically elite universities, drawing the attention and envy of institutions from every corner of the world.
BY C. L. MAX NIKIAS
Originally published in the Sacramento Bee Op-Ed section on April 8, 2015
Over the past month, hundreds of thousands of California high school seniors have received college acceptance letters. My institution, the University of Southern California, has 2,700 freshman slots and received nearly 52,000 applications – the third most of any private university in the country.
The vast majority of those we admitted rank in the top 10 percent of their high school’s graduating class. Even as USC
By C. L. Max Nikias
Originally published in The Los Angeles Times Op-Ed section on February 25, 2015
As the Great Recession decimated U.S. job growth, one sector continued to thrive: biotechnology. Encompassing everything from medical device manufacturing to biopharmaceutical development and the latest diagnostic tools, this industry will no doubt frame humanity’s most important advances in the 21st century.
California is home to two major biotechnology hubs—San Francisco and San Diego—but Los Angeles has been left behind. The paradox is that universities
Delivered on February 26, 2015 at the Los Angeles Biotech Summit
Good morning everyone! On behalf of the entire USC community, I am so pleased to welcome you to the Los Angeles Biotech Summit.
Today, through several panels of prestigious researchers and leaders from academia and industry and our community, we will explore the extraordinary possibilities for expanding the development of biotech in our region.
To some, the challenges may seem great. But to many, the prospects for success are far greater. By marshaling
The Value of College Education
by C. L. Max Nikias
It is an extraordinary privilege for me to offer my annual address as president of USC. Faculty and students determine the quality of an institution. And USC stands among the most academically elite universities of the nation and the Pacific Rim. Your accomplishments define us, and they will continue to distinguish us.
But we should begin by considering an irony: In the past five years, we have advanced academically at precisely the
Originally published on Jan. 24, 2015 on Agenda, an online publication of the World Economic Forum.
One of the most hotly discussed topics in higher education is the role and future of online education. For the traditional university, does the emergence of online education represent a threat or an opportunity?
Like any new technology, the prospects for online education depend on where it can add value or, better yet, create it. By this measure, its greatest promise lies in continuing and executive
The Washington Post, Opinion, originally published on October 23, 2014.
“The reality is that some students with the right combination of talent, creativity and personality will not begin their academic careers at a selective private university. Many won’t apply, while others simply require more time for polish or introspection. The most academically driven will hone their skills and prove themselves in a two-year program, emerging more motivated, more mature and hungrier than ever.”
Delivered on October 9, 2014 to the USC Health Sciences Faculty
My fellow colleagues, we irreversibly committed the entire, worldwide Trojan Family, in perpetuity, to taking a leadership role in the human health revolution. Of course, in times of change, being reasonable and conventional isn’t how you become a leader. And so all of you responded with characteristic boldness and determination.
Delivered on September 2, 2014 to new student-athletes
Today I also want to affirm USC’s commitment to sportsmanship, embodied in the NCAA’s rules and regulations. They represent the guidelines to which we and our competitors have agreed to abide. They represent the foundation of sportsmanship and the foundation of our own efforts to reach greatness. You are Trojan student-athletes, who have been marked out for greatness. We will be here for you, to help you reach greatness.
Delivered on August 29, 2014 at the unveiling of the Judge Robert Widney statue on the USC campus
One simply cannot overestimate Judge Widney’s role in USC’s birth and early growth. He personally drafted the university’s articles of incorporation, which our statue now holds, and you’ll soon see. He asked and convinced three real estate partners – Childs, Downey, and Hellman – to donate the land. He was the first chairman of USC’s board of trustees. His brother, Joseph Widney, founded USC’s medical school in 1882 and later became the second president of the university.
Judge Widney donated $100,000 for the university’s first endowment fund—an extraordinary amount in that age—and he would later supervise the management of this fund. He was a dreamer, a visionary, a builder. Through force of will, he reimagined a region and the destinies of countless others who would follow here.