Los Angeles

USC Selects Next President

(The following story by Callie Schweitzer comes courtesy of Neon Tommy, the voice of Annenberg Digital News.)

USC named C.L. Max Nikias the 11th president of the university in an e-mail blast to the school's community early Thursday morning.

The vote was unanimous, according to the e-mail, which was sent by Edward P. Roski, Jr., the chairman of the USC Board of Trustees.

Roski calls Nikias "a remarkable and inspiring leader, a brilliant scholar, and the best possible person to lead our university forward."

Nikias, the executive vice president and provost of the university, is currently second-in-command to President Steven B. Sample, who will be retiring in August.

Nikias, who joined the USC faculty in 1991, was named provost in 2005 after serving in several different positions throughout the university including dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

He will assume presidential duties on Aug. 3, 2010.

The selection process was exhaustive, according to the e-mail, which states that the search committee "spent hundreds of hours reviewing portfolios and letters of nomination to get to 75 serious candidates, and then interviewing seven finalists."

In a news release attached to the e-mail, President Sample and Nikias are quoted.

"I have long believed that Max Nikias is one of the country's most talented provosts," Sample said in the release. "I'm delighted to have a successor whose keen vision and energy will keep the university moving ahead at a rapid pace. USC will be in excellent hands with Max as president."

"It is the greatest honor to be given this opportunity by USC's Board of Trustees to work toward realizing the dreams and aspirations of the Trojan Family," Nikias said in the release. "The Trustees have committed themselves wholeheartedly to continuing the historic, rapid ascent begun by Steve Sample -- and even to accelerating USC's momentum based on opportunities that lie before us.

"This incredible, wide-ranging university represents an electric environment, one remarkably skilled at producing new ideas and new leaders to strengthen our society. Moving USC forward, and accelerating its breathtaking momentum, strikes me as the most rewarding endeavor in American higher education today."