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USC President C.L. Max Nikias received an Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York Thursday, an honor that comes with a $500,000 grant to benefit academic initiatives.

The honor, awarded every other year by the foundation, recognizes university presidents “demonstrating vision and outstanding commitment to excellence and equity fulfilling their administrative and managerial roles with dedication and creativity.”

Nikias is the first Southern California recipient of the award.

“The contributions of C.L. Max Nikias, both as provost and president, of the University of Southern California has been phenomenal,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation. “Under his leadership, the quality of the student body and of the faculty continues to reach new heights. Today, USC ranks among the nation’s and indeed the world’s most outstanding private research universities.

“This award recognizes not only the excellence President Nikias has affected, but also his vision of boosting global engagement and scaling up various community initiatives,” Gregorian said. “What has impressed me as a former provost and president is that he has been able, in a relatively brief period, to establish 77 endowed faculty chairs.”

The organization credited Nikias with leading the Campaign for the University of Southern California, an effort the group called one of the largest fundraising efforts in the history of higher education. USC has also finished or is in the midst of a dozen major construction projects, such as the $700 million USC Village.

“I take great pride in all that the Trojan Family has achieved together, be it through widening access for deserving students, recruiting transformative faculty or engaging with the communities that surround our two campuses,” Nikias said. “This award reminds us that our work can make a lasting difference, and inspires us to remain focused on the responsibilities of a global research university.”

—City News Service

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