Delivered on October 25, 2013, to parents and family of USC students
Having served as a professor, dean, provost, and now as president of USC, I have been guided first and foremost by my perspective as a parent. In the past, it was quite helpful to see and experience USC through the eyes and hearts of my daughters and their friends. From time to time, I would have lunch with them on campus in pursuit of what was on the minds of students here.
Today, I still have an opportunity to share a meal with your children. Every year since I became president, my wife Niki and I host Thanksgiving for over 300 students at our house. I only wish the President’s House could host 3,000 students for a traditional turkey dinner! These are both domestic and international students who don’t go home for Thanksgiving. Niki and I, along with our daughters, spend the evening with them, and we love it.
Delivered to the World Affairs Council, Los Angeles, October 15, 2013.
Quietly and without fanfare, USC’s faculty have developed an online model that expands educational access to more than 40 nations around the world already— while maintaining the all-important standards of academic rigor, integrity, and quality.
USC’s online education model focuses entirely on professional master’s degree programs, along with executive and continuing education. Our goal is to provide an online education that is just as powerful as the classroom one.
Delivered at the USC Shoah Foundation Ambassadors for Humanity Gala, October 3, 2013
When we stand together, we ensure that no one confronting the indignity of intolerance in our age stands alone. In doing so, we forever preserve the kingdom of memory against those who would assault decency and civility.
Before Pearl Harbor, USC’s total student enrollment stood at 6,000. But following the war, this number skyrocketed, and in 1947 our total enrollment reached 24,000—the overwhelming majority of which were former servicemen. To meet their needs, our faculty worked a double shift, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and classes were even held on Saturdays. In 1945 alone, 111 new faculty were hired! We brought in old army barracks from a nearby training camp, and these served as classrooms and laboratory space. (In fact, the last two remaining barracks on our campus remained until only 11 years ago, when during my tenure as dean, we had to clear the site for a new building.).
These veterans ultimately became distinguished alumni and major donors to USC, and helped build our university into the great, world-class institution it is today.
This is an era in which the crucial issues of how we live, and how well we live, and how long we live will be illuminated by creative and collaborative adventurers across the sciences and engineering, the humanities, the arts and social sciences, and the professions.
As a private, comprehensive research powerhouse, here at the greatest cultural and commercial crossroads of the Pacific Rim, USC finds circumstances working in its favor. Located in this place, at this time, with our unique assets, we find that Destiny has dealt us a favorable hand. Let us play this out wisely!
The Trojan Family kept working, for 132 years, to build a great research university: Brick by brick, building by building, achievement by achievement, gift by gift, generation after generation after generation. The Trojan Family did it, though. We all did it together, because we share our founder’s passion and love for this university.
The word ambition comes from ambire, an old Latin word which signified the manner in which aspiring leaders of the Roman Republic would campaign for office, by going around town to recruit support for their dreams. For each of us, let us make it our ambition to do more together for USC than we thought possible.
USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy
September 24, 2012
By C. L. Max Nikias
It is a great privilege to welcome you all here to the inaugural symposium of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. We would not be here today without the generous support and unbounded vision of one man: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Governor Schwarzenegger is a strong believer in the importance of expanding dialogue on both a state and global level to tackle the most pressing
September 12, 2012
By C. L. Max Nikias
Tonight I feel privileged to speak to this impressive assembly of USC councilors and advisors as we celebrate our recent successes and shine a spotlight on the signs of our steady progress.
As we do, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you. I want all of you to know how much I appreciate your wisdom, your leadership, your advice, and your hard work.
If you look through this university’s history, you will
September 5, 2012
By C. L. Max Nikias
Today, we have been given the opportunity to create an extraordinary place: a special place that will carry a special name. Today we break ground on one of the world’s most forward-looking academic facilities, which will carry the name of a man and a woman who represent USC’s own forward-looking values.
The USC Verna and Peter Dauterive Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Building will be a truly remarkable place. Here the most remarkable people in the world
May 11, 2012
By C. L. Max Nikias
Good morning, and welcome to the 129th Annual Commencement of the University of Southern California!
Today, we confer nearly 14,000 degrees—at the undergraduate level, at the graduate and doctoral level, and at the professional level.
Today, we confer degrees on graduates from 50 states and from more than one hundred nations. We confer them in hundreds of fields and specialties. We confer them on women and men from every walk of life.
Today, we also confer honorary