Previous Provosts

Elizabeth Garrett (USC Provost, 2010 – 2014)

Elizabeth Garrett was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs on October 28, 2010. As provost, Garrett directed substantial new efforts to hire transformative faculty members –  including initiatives to recruit faculty in neuroscience, the humanities, and the social sciences – with the goal of catalyzing targeted fields of scholarship and invigorating USC’s research environment. She also accelerated the recruitment of Provost Professors and created the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program in the Humanities. Under Garrett’s guidance, the USC Strategic Vision: Matching Deeds to Ambitions was developed over two years and adopted by the USC Board of Trustees in December 2011. She was instrumental in continuing the integration of the new Keck Hospitals of USC and the faculty practice plans into the university, which created an academic medical center on the Health Sciences Campus. Garrett was the Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor in the USC Gould School of Law. In addition to this primary faculty appointment, she held joint appointments in USC Dornsife College, the USC Price School of Public Policy, and the USC Marshall School of Business, as well as a courtesy appointment in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Garrett subsequently served as the 13th president of Cornell University. She was the first woman to serve as Cornell’s president.

C. L. Max Nikias (USC Provost, 2005 – 2010)

From June 2005 to August 2010, USC President C. L. Max Nikias served as USC’s provost and chief academic officer, during which time he was charged with accelerating the academic momentum that USC had experienced in previous years. He was instrumental in bringing USC trustee Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation Institute and its vast video archive of 55,000 testimonies of Holocaust survivors to USC. Dr. Nikias also established the university’s Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, Stevens Center for Innovation, U.S.-China Institute, and Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics. He launched Visions and Voices, USC’s acclaimed campus-wide arts and humanities initiative, as well as a grant program to advance scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. Dr. Nikias spearheaded the integration of the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s faculty practice plans, oversaw the transfer of University Hospital and USC Norris Cancer Hospital from Tenet Healthcare Corporation to the university, and recruited a new leadership team for USC’s medical enterprise.

C. L. Max Nikias served as the eleventh president of the University of Southern California from August 3, 2010 to August 7, 2018.

Lloyd Armstrong (USC Provost, 1993 – 2005)

Lloyd Armstrong is the recipient of USC’s highest honor, the Presidential Medallion. USC’s provost emeritus, he served as the university’s chief academic officer from 1993 to 2005. During that time, he was the driving force behind USC’s dramatic rise in various national rankings. His accomplishments include the overhaul of the core undergraduate curriculum and the university’s student-recruitment program, as well as the creation and implementation of the 1994 Strategic Plan and its 1998 update – all of which helped transform USC into one of the most selective universities in the country. A physicist who earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley before becoming dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Armstrong joined the Rossier School’s Pullias Center for Higher Education as an affiliated professor focusing on issues of university leadership, knowledge production and change.

Cornelius J. Pings (USC Provost, 1981 – 1993)

Cornelius J. Pings was USC’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs from 1981 to 1993. In his position, he oversaw the academic and research programs in the university’s schools and libraries, as well as student affairs and community and governmental relations. In 1993, Pings was awarded USC’s highest honor, the Presidential Medallion, for “his years of insightful and dedicated leadership that have left an enduring mark on the academic life of USC.” That same year, he became president of the Association of American Universities, a group based in Washington, D.C. that represents the nation’s 60 major research universities. From 1987 to 1989, Pings headed an ad hoc committee for the association that undertook a major review of the indirect costs associated with federal support of research on university campuses. Pings also served on three National Research Council committees that addressed topics such as the management of research on the International Space Station and the teaching of undergraduate science and mathematics.