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Nikiases host GNC Leadership Circle Dinner

Nikiases Host GNC Leadership Circle Dinner
More than 300 Trojans attended the dinner in San Marino.

The most dedicated supporters of USC’s Good Neighbors Campaign (GNC) enjoyed a night of Greek food, music and entertainment at the home of President C. L. Max Nikias and first lady Niki C. Nikias in San Marino on Oct. 6.

The annual President’s Distinguished Leadership Circle Dinner honors USC staff and faculty who contribute at least 1 percent of their salaries to GNC, the university’s successful program of community outreach and education.

“This is the first year we’ve had the opportunity to host this event at our home, which we love to use as a warm gathering place for the most dedicated members of the Trojan Family,” Nikias told the crowd of more than 300.

Organized by USC Government and Civic Engagement, GNC invites faculty and staff to donate to USC Neighborhood Outreach and United Way programs. Now in its 18th year, the campaign has raised over $12.5 million to support more than 400 community partnerships, with 100 percent of contributions going to the intended recipients.

This year, GNC is seeking to raise $1.4 million. As of Oct. 7, the campaign has reached 73 percent of its goal, with a little over $1 million raised and a 20 percent participation rate.

“In terms of funds raised at this point in the campaign, we’re at a higher rate than last year,” said campaign director Carolina Castillo. “In terms of participation, it’s about the same.”

During the leadership dinner, freshman Maria Cuevas talked about how USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI), a college-preparation program for low-income students in the neighborhoods surrounding USC campuses, pushed her to realize her own potential.

“In elementary school, my goal was to graduate from high school,” Cuevas said. “When I learned about the NAI program, I realized that attending college was an attainable goal. Now that I am in college, my family’s goal for me, and my own goal, is to receive my bachelor’s degree in four years.”

Thanking guests for their dedication, Nikias quoted USC’s fourth president, George Finley Bovard, who described emphatically the role that USC would play in the life of Los Angeles.

“There are two kinds of institution, both of which have their place. One is the small college, with country surroundings and with a campus far from the city. The other is the city institution – the university which tries to solve the problems of the city,” Bovard stated.

Nikias concluded by placing the words of the Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero in the context of the campaign.

“We do not exist for ourselves alone. We exist for the community. That is what it means to be a good neighbor, and I am grateful that this truth finds its expression in the women and men here in this room.”

The Good Neighbors Campaign runs through Oct. 31, but donations can be made any time during the year. To make a donation online, visit

To view the campaign’s online giving page, go to

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Nikiases host GNC Leadership Circle Dinner

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