Announcing USC’s Vice President for Presidential Initiatives

February 22, 2024

I am writing today to let you know that I have appointed Shrikanth (Shri) Narayanan as vice president for presidential initiatives. This is a new role in my office, designed specifically to help the provost, senior vice president for health affairs, senior vice president for research and innovation, and me to implement cross-cutting, university-wide initiatives that involve multiple schools, locations, disciplines, units, and approaches. His initial focus will be in strengthening existing connections, developing new ones, and helping to magnify and amplify programs and opportunities than span the university’s moonshots, especially in health and advanced computing.

Professor Narayanan is ideal for this new role. He has spent his entire academic career pursuing innovative, cross-cutting research. He is a University Professor and holds faculty appointments in three USC schools – Viterbi School of Engineering, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and Keck School of Medicine of USC. After more than 24 years as a Trojan, he also is highly familiar with many parts of the university: he is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Linguistics, Psychology, Neuroscience, Pediatrics, and Otolaryngology, and he serves as director of the Ming Hsieh Institute and research director of the Information Sciences Institute.

His research focuses on developing engineering approaches to better understand the human condition in areas like defense and intelligence, health, education, and the arts. Professor Narayanan is an exemplar of effective teamwork and always puts his students at the center. He has mentored over 90 Ph.D. and postdoctoral scholars and continues to mentor undergraduate students in his lab. He understands the power of a USC education to bring about change, and this goal goes to the heart of USC’s moonshots.

Many of you already know Shri and his infectious energy and passion for discovery. He shares my belief that even the smallest idea can blossom into a world-class solution, particularly if you bring in a wide range of voices from the outset. He tells me he sees a university without walls or boundaries. This is precisely the approach we need to connect, and integrate talent, ideas, and strengths from across the institution.

Please join me in congratulating Shri and welcoming him into his new role.


Carol L. Folt