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USC President Visits Health Sciences Campus

USC President Visits Health Sciences Campus
President C. L. Max Nikias provided the HSC faculty with updates on recent developments.

In his inaugural annual faculty address on the Health Sciences campus Feb. 9, USC president C. L. Max Nikias affirmed that faculty members are the foundation of all academic excellence and the cornerstone of the university’s aspirations.

“I’m ever mindful that all excellence in the life of the mind and body and spirit all begin and end with you, the faculty,” he said.

Nikias was introduced by Peter Conti, president of the faculty and professor of radiology, clinical pharmacy and biomedical engineering, who called him “an energetic leader, innovator and scholar.”

The president’s energy was evident as he updated attendees ¬- those present in the Aresty Auditorium and others watching via webcast at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – on recent developments that he said will allow USC to reach “undisputed elite status.”

Nikias focused on the beautification plan for the Health Sciences campus and construction of the new Soto Building, which will house a gym, a café and the medical school’s Department of Preventive Medicine. He also emphasized that the university plans to upgrade athletics facilities, expand housing options for all students, provide a new student health center and move the University Club to a new historic location on the University Park campus.

On a community level, Nikias said, “There are many ways in which we are trying to weave USC into the very fabric of the larger Southern California community.”

As a prime example, he cited the Festival of Books, which will be held at USC this spring after 15 years at UCLA.

To illustrate the teamwork and community partnerships that will be necessary to take USC to the next level, Nikias praised a recent award that was developed by Keck School of Medicine of USC researchers.

“Our faculty understand that success requires building bridges across our two campuses,” he said. “This led to USC winning the massive $57 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.”

Nikias also focused a major part of his speech on the new USC strategic plan, which will guide the investments and energies of academic leaders, deans and the faculty.

Part of the plan is a commitment to recruit the “world’s best faculty to USC,” particularly in the areas of research in the life sciences and clinical health practice.

“The challenge will be to create a new culture – one that’s collaborative and one that allows our academic medical enterprise to be truly academic,” Nikias said.

He noted that the newly created position of a senior vice president for health will help “to build the single best academic medical center, not just in the Los Angeles area, but also for the Pacific Rim.”

Nikias added, “With pride in our recent successes, we will continue to develop all of the faculty here and help everyone to succeed.”

To achieve undisputed elite status requires that USC achieve a “critical mass of faculty superstars,” he said, noting that while USC currently has many world-class scholarly and creative faculty, it needs more. Nikias called for the recruitment of “revolutionaries who will be remembered alongside you for changing their field and changing society.”

Referencing the success of universities surrounding the Atlantic in the recent past, he said, “I believe as the center of gravity shifts increasingly to the Pacific, we will need a new enlightenment – one specific to the needs of our age. USC has been designed and built by great women and men … for this very sort of moment.”

He said the university is poised to achieve a great level of influence on a global scale, and the faculty has a great opportunity to “take USC to the mountaintop of undisputedly elite universities.”

Nikias concluded: “It is a wonderful destiny for a dedicated faculty of any university, but indeed it is an especially remarkable destiny for this faculty, at this moment in USC’s history. Let us move forward, together, with purpose and determination and passion. Let us write together, the most glorious chapter in USC’s history.”

USC President Visits Health Sciences Campus

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