Carol Folt, PhD
Robert C. Packard President’s Chair
Dr. Carol Folt serves as the twelfth president of the University of Southern California and holds the Robert C. Packard President’s Chair.
Known for always placing students at the center, she is a collaborative academic leader and an internationally recognized life scientist with faculty appointments in biological sciences, civil and environmental engineering, and population and public health sciences.
Since joining USC in 2019, Dr. Folt has advanced academic excellence and innovation; increased accessibility and affordability; elevated belonging and inclusion; driven significant growth in the USC Health System; made meaningful advancements in sustainability; prioritized shared governance; enhanced USC’s winning legacy in athletics with honor and integrity; increased cross-school collaboration; built a new Capital Campus in the heart of Washington D.C., expanding USC’s role within the national conversation; amplified USC’s research enterprise; and established USC’s most comprehensive academic and research initiative, embedding ethics, analytics, and artificial intelligence across the university’s scholarly and creative work.
Dr. Folt currently serves as chair of the Association of American Universities (AAU) Board of Directors.
Prior to USC, Dr. Folt served as chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill and held several leadership appointments at Dartmouth College, including interim president, provost, dean of faculty, and Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences.
Dr. Folt is a distinguished scientist whose pioneering research on the effects of dietary mercury and arsenic on human and ecosystem health led to numerous national and global policy changes and consumption advisories.
Dr. Folt earned her bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology and a master’s degree in biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her doctorate in ecology from the University of California, Davis.