University installs Nikias as USC’s 11th president

first_imgPresident C.L. Max Nikias was sworn into office Friday morning, during a ceremony that brought together Trojans both young and old to celebrate the 11th USC presidential inauguration.Kelvin Kuo | Daily Trojan “Today, we live in a time of great anxiety. The wisest experts cannot find an agreement on what the future holds for our society,” Nikias said. “Education is what helps us to be fully human and to appreciate the full range of human experience.”The ceremony began with processions from members of the USC community, including student delegates, half-century Trojan alumni, staff and parents. Third-graders from the Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School also marched in the ceremony.Faculty from every school in the university processed to the stage in Alumni Park, followed by Nikias, his wife, Niki Nikias, and their daughters, Georgiana and Maria.Edward P. Roski Jr., chairman of the USC Board of Trustees, officiated the ceremony.“This inauguration you’re about to witness is truly an historic occurrence. It’s only happened 10 times in the last 130 years,” he said. “The last time we saw a new president, there was no one texting during the ceremony or taking pictures with their cell phones. We didn’t have cell phones.”Undergraduate Student Government President Chris Cheng and Graduate and Professional Student Senate President Jenny Novak made remarks as well, commemorating Nikias for his efforts to connect with students.“We promise to work with you to take our innovation beyond the lab and the studio,” Novak said. “To make a difference in the communities we call home, starting right here at USC where we will shape this campus into a dynamic residential community.”The university hosted John Hood, the former vice chancellor of Oxford University, who spoke about Nikias’ accomplishments and his journey to become president of USC.“I assure you, it is USC’s essential character — today and in the future — that has been consuming President Nikias’ thinking and that will guide his collegiate agenda,” Hood said.Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the university played a key part in the history and culture of the city.“When you see the procession of flags come through as they did a few minutes ago, it is not hyperbolic to say this is a city where the world comes together,” Villaraigosa said.After former President Steven B. Sample inaugurated Nikias, fireworks launched from behind the stage to commemorate Sample’s passing of the University Medallion. The new president then gave a speech about his journey to USC and his vision for the future.“As a child, I grew up reading the various legends of the ancient city of Troy,” Nikias said. “No one worked harder than the Trojans, no one was more determined than the Trojans. And their will toward greatness could even bend the will of the gods in their favor.”The history of the Trojans in ancient civilization was a foreshadowing of the Trojans’ strength today, he said.“Troy would grow into the great city of Rome. Rome — the home of the mightiest and the most enduring of all empires,” he said. “That was the destiny that Trojans began to claim.”The future of the university, he said, lies in the intellectual potential of students and the rich cultural environment surrounding USC. Nikias said one of his plans was to make the Health Sciences Campus as residential and bustling as the University Park Campus.“My own commitment to you is to run the next marathon at a sprinter’s pace,” Nikias said. “We can make incredible progress in just the next few years.”Though Nikias said there was no way to anticipate the future landscape of higher education, he was sure USC would serve as an “intellectual crucible” in the years to come.“Consider the voyage that still lies ahead,” he said. “Uncertainty is the beginning of adventure.”At the end of the inauguration, Trustee Ming Hsieh announced a $50 million gift to the university to go toward cancer research. The Annenberg Foundation will also donate $50 million to build a new building for the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.For reactions from the Trojan Family regarding the inauguration ceremony, click here.To learn more about the generous donations the university received at the ceremony, click here.last_img