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Senior Fellows
C.L. "Max" Nikias
President, University of Southern California (effective August 2010)

Areas of Interest:

technology in education, information technology, engineering education

C. L. Max Nikias became the University of Southern California's eleventh president in August 2010. He is the holder of the Robert C. Packard President's Chair and the Malcolm R. Currie Chair in Technology and the Humanities, and also chairs the USC Hospitals Governing Board. He has been at USC since 1991, as a professor, director of national research centers, dean, provost, and now president. He holds faculty appointments in both electrical engineering and the classics. In addition, he leads special freshman seminars each fall on ancient Athenian democracy and drama.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Among numerous other honors, he has received the IEEE Simon Ramo Medal and the University at Buffalo's Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award.

Dr. Nikias is recognized internationally for his pioneering research on digital signal processing, digital media systems, and biomedicine. The Department of Defense has adopted a number of his innovations and patents in sonar, radar, and communication systems. The author of more than 275 journal articles and conference papers, three textbooks, and eight patents, he has mentored more than 30 Ph.D. and postdoctoral scholars. Three of his publications received prestigious best papers awards.

As president, Dr. Nikias has articulated a vision for USC to attain undisputed, elite status as a global research university. His initiatives include recruiting a cadre of transformative, world-class faculty; elevating USC's academic medical enterprise; expanding USC's international presence; further improving the breadth and quality of USC's world-class student body; and embarking on the largest fundraising campaign in the history of higher education.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has called Dr. Nikias a "prodigious fundraiser." His first year as president was highlighted by seven transformative gifts to USC, including a $200 million gift from Dana and David Dornsife to name USC's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences-the single largest donation in the university's history; a $150 million gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation for medicine; and a $110 million gift from Julie and John Mork to support student scholarships. This allowed USC to raise an unprecedented total of $1 billion in Dr. Nikias' first year.

He also brought the nation's largest literary festival, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, to USC. In addition, the university broke ground on a major new student health center, a state-of-the-art athletics complex, and other new facilities.

In recognition of his efforts to renew USC's athletics heritage, the New York Times selected Dr. Nikias as one of a small number of national figures "who make sports' little corner of the world a better place."

Dr. Nikias received a diploma from the National Technical University of Athens, also known as National Metsovion Polytechnic, the oldest and most prestigious higher education institution of Greece, and later earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He holds honorary doctorates from Hebrew Union College and the University of Cyprus. His wife, Niki C. Nikias, received a bachelor's degree in accounting from the Athens University of Economics and Business in Greece and a master's degree in business administration with a specialization in finance from the State University of New York at Buffalo. They have two daughters, both of whom are graduates of USC.

Updated 07/13/12

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