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Inauguration of C. L. Max Nikias

President C. L. Max Nikias speaks about the future of USC at his inauguration ceremony on Friday, Oct. 15. Photo credit Laurie Moore.
President C. L. Max Nikias speaks about the future of USC at his inauguration ceremony on Friday, Oct. 15. Photo credit Laurie Moore.

In a momentous celebration that drew 7,500 members of the Trojan Family and local community, C. L. Max Nikias was inaugurated as USC’s 11th president on Oct. 15. The former USC executive vice president and provost became president in early August. Nikias succeeded Steven B. Sample, who had led USC since 1991.

The inauguration ceremony’s theme revolved around a quotation from Virgil’s Aeneid, which is inscribed on a plaque at the base of Tommy Trojan — “Here are provided seats of meditative joy, where shall rise again the destined reign of Troy.”

Over the course of his career as a researcher, educator and university administrator, Nikias has earned accolades for his leadership, innovation and fundraising, as well as his ability to build partnerships among varied constituencies.

Nikias is credited with accelerating the university’s recent academic momentum, recruiting new leadership, strengthening the academic medical enterprise, helping attract a series of major donations to the institution, creating innovative cross-disciplinary programs, enhancing USC’s globalization efforts, and increasing support for undergraduate and graduate students.

Nikias’s selection by the Board of Trustees followed an international search process ending in approximately 75 candidates and seven finalists, all of whom were sitting presidents or provosts at major universities.

A visionary of the highest order, Nikias has said: “My vision is to propel USC to reach what I call ‘undisputed elite status.’  When you’ve reached undisputed elite status, there is no argument, there is no doubt, and yes, there is no question you belong in the pantheon of American elite universities.”

Read President C. L. Max Nikias's full inauguration address at usc.edu/president.