I write to you today as the newly elected Chair of the USC Board of Trustees. As a Trustee for the last two decades, I am honored to serve USC and its important constituents in my new role. Over the years, I have been privileged to get to know so many faculty and staff members, students, alumni, community members, and supporters. I am looking forward to meeting many more of you.
Since my enrollment as a freshman from Chicago, USC’s traditions and history have remained a deep source of pride and gratitude in my life, as they have for our former Chair, Rick Caruso. Thanks to the legacy he built and the transformative changes he led to create a stable foundation for accountability, integrity, and oversight, we are well on our way in this exciting and ambitious new era. USC is a model of what our society can be, and I am filled with optimism as we continue to look strategically at our future. In President Folt’s recent State of the University address (which I encourage all of you to read or watch), she announced four “moonshots” focused on improving access, affordability, and belonging, while continuing to drive important advances in research, health care, sustainability, computing, and athletics. This is a historic time for USC to establish a pivotal leadership role in each of these areas.
I believe that the Trojan Family has no boundaries on its power to do good — not by geography, not by generation, not by school or discipline, and not by any other difference. Together, we will build on the excellence and distinctiveness that have always defined USC.
Of course, this begins with our Board, which has worked diligently to improve our governance processes over the past several years. My fellow Trustees and I pledge to hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics and accountability as we support USC.
As President Folt has stated, it will take the support of our entire community to continue driving forward on this critical work. Open communication, collaboration, civility, and respect are critical values that are central to her and her leadership team, and will help us as we achieve our goals.
Finally, thank you to my fellow Trustees and President Folt for seeing through a smooth and thorough transition process. Most of all, I want to thank the Trojan Family in advance for its partnership and trust as I begin my term as Chair.
I accept this role proud of USC’s heritage – the many gifts that we have received from those before us – and keenly aware of creating USC’s legacy: the institution that we will leave for those who come after us. I am looking forward to working with all of you as we unite to move this great university forward.
With kind regards,
Suzanne Nora Johnson
USC Board of Trustees