August 7, 2018

Communication regarding Presidential Transition, Interim President, Search, and additional updates from Board Chairman Rick J. Caruso

Presidential Transition

“Today, C. L. Max Nikias has agreed to step down, effective immediately, and will move into the role of President Emeritus and Life Trustee of the University. This decision follows the announcement, earlier this summer, that the Board of Trustees and President Nikias had agreed to an orderly transition and that a Special Committee of the Board would commence a search for a new president. Amongst other responsibilities, Dr. Nikias will continue to assist with the transition of the incoming president.

Appointment of Wanda M. Austin as Interim President

I am pleased to let you know that the Board of Trustees has appointed Wanda M. Austin as Interim President of USC.”


From May 31, 2018

The University of Southern California Board of Trustees elected Rick Caruso as its chair effective immediately, on May 31, 2018. He succeeds John Mork, who completed his full five-year term as chair.

Caruso is a long-serving member of the USC community, an alumnus (Bachelor of Science, 1980), a current parent, and member of the Board. He is the founder and CEO of Caruso, one of the country’s largest privately held real estate companies.

In addition to his duties as Board Chair, Caruso will continue to lead the Special Committee overseeing the investigation into the misconduct and reporting failures that occurred at the USC student health center. The subcommittee has retained Los Angeles law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP to conduct an expedient, thorough and independent investigation. The investigation will be led by one of the firm’s practice chairs, Apalla Chopra, with assistance from her partner, Steve Olson, both of whom have vast expertise working with universities in conducting complex and sensitive investigations. The goal is to complete the investigation by the time students return to campus in the fall.