University of Southern California

USC Leadership Delegation to India

In February 2011, USC President C. L. Max Nikias led a delegation of university faculty, administrators and trustees to India, where they met with key Indian partners in higher education, business and government, and with USC alumni, to build sustainable alliances in the areas of medicine and health care, neurosciences, the arts, communication and journalism, business, and technology and engineering.

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

Paul Peterson/Embark LLC

The Taj Mahal

Travel Blog

Knowledge without Borders

Topics: Media Coverage

“Geographic boundaries have been levelled by the Internet and globalization,” President Nikias said in a feature story about USC in the India Times’ Education Times section. “So a diverse and international ambience is important.” The president also discussed USC’s distinct educational approach: “One of the strengths of our curriculum is that we do not overspecialize…. We ensure that students learn a craft that can be universally applied wherever they are in the world.”

To read the complete article, click here.

Memoranda of Global Understanding

Topics: Academic Cooperation, Engineering, MOU, Mumbai, New Delhi

Leaders of the USC India delegation kept pens handy for signing ceremonies that formalized academic partnerships between the university and top Indian academic institutions. On the second day of the trip, President Nikias signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.

When the delegation moved to New Delhi a few days later, USC Viterbi School of Engineering dean Yannis C. Yortsos signed an MOU connecting USC Viterbi and IIT Delhi. He signed another MOU with IIT Hyderabad on the final day of the visit.

Almost seven years earlier, then-dean Nikias signed an MOU with IIT Kharagpur, the oldest IIT campus. Read more about the 2004 MOU here.

“Top U.S. School” in the News

Topics: Media Coverage

“It’s one of the world’s leading private research universities, and is the most popular American university among Indian students,” the Education Mail of New Delhi wrote in a major feature story about the USC delegation. “The University of Southern California (USC) boasts of nearly 1,700 students from India on its campus at any given point in time. In the first-ever visit by a USC president to India, President C. L. Max Nikias came calling with a high-level delegation of USC deans. No less than Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani threw a party for the delegation on their first day.  The delegation was backed by USC trustee Ratan Tata, who also accompanied Nikias to met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”

The Mail also briefly profiled USC’s dean of religious life: “Varun Soni created history in 2008 when he was appointed USC’s dean of religious life, becoming the first Hindu and the first Indian ever to get such a post at a US university. ‘This is the first generation that lists meaning as one of the things they are looking for in their career, and our programming addresses this,’ he said.”

Education Mail, New Delhi (PDF, 1.7MB)

An End … And a Beginning

Topics: Bangalore, Travel

The USC delegation’s marathon tour through India concluded with a special panel, the USC Forum on Globalization and Innovation, arranged by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, examining issues surrounding globalization and innovation in the 21st century from the India perspective. President Nikias (see photo below) welcomed attendees to the gathering, offering perspective on conditions that promote the most beneficial forms of innovation. (See the photo section of this blog for more pictures from the event.)

A Spotlight on Excellence

Topics: Bangalore, Cinematic Arts, International Offices

In this photo, President Nikias asks acclaimed Indian playwright Girish Karnad, who will receive an honorary USC doctorate in Los Angeles in May, to share a few words at the opening of the new Bangalore office on Feb. 25.

Dedicated to the Future

Topics: Bangalore, Engineering, International Offices

Sudha Kumar, director of USC’s Bangalore office and member of the USC Viterbi staff, performs the traditional lamp-lighting ceremony on Friday, Feb. 25, as part of a traditional Indian dedication ceremony for the new office.

A Trojan Family Portrait … From Bangalore

Topics: Alumni, Bangalore, International Offices

Bangalore is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of South Asia. Numerous technology companies and innovators are based there. (The head of one such company – Infosys, a USC partner – inspired the title of Thomas Friedman’s famous book The World Is Flat.)

Below is a Trojan Family portrait from Bangalore, on the occasion of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s dedication of the university’s Bangalore office Friday night. The group consisted of USC’s leadership delegation, alumni and parents, and friends of USC.

The Ties that Bind

Topics: Arts, Media Coverage

“A strong relationship with India is very beneficial to our students in America,” President Nikias said in a feature article in the Financial Chronicle of India. The article noted that the president feels a personal connection to India. “Cyprus used to be a British colony like India and India was a big brother to Cyprus,” he was quoted as saying. “Jawaharlal Nehru was a very close friend of Cyprus’ first president, Archbishop Makarios. Indira Gandhi visited the island when she was the prime minister. And most importantly it was in 1960s when I had a chance to see a number of Hindi movies that were shown in theatres with Greek subtitles.”

You Can Hear the Cricket Late at Night

Topics: Uncategorized

With 1,600 Indian students attending USC, you can be sure that there is considerable interest on campus for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, currently being co-hosted by India. In response, Student Affairs has opened up Tommy’s Place in the Tutor Campus Center for the games, which are beginning at 2:45 p.m. in India. That translates to 1:45 a.m. Pacific time!

Global Leaders

Topics: New Delhi, Political Leaders

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, shown below with President Max Nikias and trustee Ratan Tata during their meeting on Feb. 23, is one of the most transforming figures in modern India’s short history. As the country’s finance minister in the early 1990s, he led the economic reforms that opened up the Indian economy to international trade and set the country on a rapid path toward status as a major global player.  The liberalizing of the Indian economic structure, in 1991, coincided with Tata’s appointment as head of the Tata Group. In the new and open environment that Singh helped create, Tata led his group to unprecedented growth in sectors as diverse as steel, telecommunications, automobiles and food.

President Nikias reported that it was a special privilege to be able to hear first-hand from Prime Minister Singh about his hopes for increased Indo-American connections.


  1. Depart from USA Feb 18
  2. AMumbai Feb 20-22
  3. BNew Delhi Feb 23-24
  4. CAgra Feb 23-24
  5. DBangalore Feb 25-26
  6. Depart from India Feb 27