Message to USC Ambassadors – March 2019

Dr. Carol L. Folt, incoming president of the University of Southern California

I would like to focus this month’s letter on the wonderful news that the USC community has selected its twelfth president: Dr. Carol L. Folt.  Her appointment follows an extensive national search, from which she emerged as the clear choice.  I served on the search committee, and was among those who found Dr. Folt to be the most qualified and most prepared person to lead our university to an even brighter future.

In the press conference to announce her appointment, Dr. Folt quickly earned the admiration of our Trojan Family.  One reporter alluded to our university’s recent challenges, and asked Dr. Folt why she had decided to come to USC in spite of all she had heard.  Without missing a beat, Dr. Folt replied that she came here because of all she had heard!  That drew a warm round of applause from the standing-room-only crowd in Town and Gown, and matched the quick-thinking style she demonstrated throughout the search process.

Dr. Folt will formally assume the USC presidency on July 1.  She has already made a point of reaching out to our community, and has attended meetings and gatherings with our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and local community members.  We all will have the pleasure of getting to know her much better in the coming weeks and months, but I would like to share two articles with you now.  One is our USC News story, which describes her professional accomplishments in some detail.  The second is an interview with The New York Timesin which she shares her thinking on a range of important subjects.  I am confident Dr. Folt will be a brave and inspiring leader for USC’s next chapter, and look forward to supporting her as I return to my service as a member of the board of trustees.

Before closing my letter, I would like to briefly address the revelations that emerged last month regarding an admissions scheme, and the ongoing investigation by the Justice Department.  The revelations were deeply concerning and personally disheartening.  I regard USC’s admissions work—particularly with underrepresented groups—with great pride and esteem, and the recent revelations run counter to all that we strive to uphold in our admissions process.  I will continue to update the USC community on this matter, as appropriate, and will post my letters here.

As we approach summer, Dr. Folt and I will work closely to ensure that our transition is smooth.  I know she is eager to hit the ground running on July 1, and to lead USC to its very best years.  I look forward to supporting her as a trustee.