In preparation for President C.L. Max Nikias’ inauguration on Friday, USC staff, faculty and students are working together to plan events for more than 10,000 expected attendees, university staff said.
Preparations for the inauguration began in March when the university announced that Nikias would serve as USC’s 11th president, said Jeff Olsen, managing director of academic events.
“We’ve only had 10 [inaugurations] before and that’s pretty rare for a university that is so old,” Olsen said. “[This is] a special experience.”
Three committees consisting of about 80 people from Facilities and Management Services, USC Transportation and many other departments are helping to oversee and plan the inauguration, Olsen said. In addition, about 400 people will be involved in facilitating the events Friday.
Staff set up about 10,000 chairs on campus earlier this week between Doheny Library and Bovard Auditorium, Olsen said.
An integral component of the event will be the approximately 200 hosts — including volunteers from Society 53, Trojan Knights, USC Helenes and various departments — that will be stationed around campus on Friday available to answer any questions that visitors or students might have, Olsen said.
“Really, people shouldn’t be able to go about more than 50 feet without bumping into another host,” he said. “[They will] provide a friendly face especially for people who have never been to campus before.”
Preparations for Friday are similar to the ways in which the campus prepares for commencement by cleaning up, replanting and working to keep everything neat around campus, Olsen said.
In the event that it rains, the inauguration will be held in the Galen Center.
“We have to prepare for anything,” Olsen said. “We’ve got it all planned.”
Department of Public Safety officers will be on campus Friday to ensure that fire lanes remain clear, but people are still encouraged to attend inauguration even without a reserved seat, Olsen said.
“We’re anticipating that more people will show up than we have seats for, but that’s great. That’s what we want,” he said. “There’s space for everyone.”
The university invited the entire Trojan Family — students, staff, parents, alumni and members of the community — to attend the inauguration, Olsen said.
“It’s that kind of event that students are going to want to look back [on] and say, ‘I was there when it happened,’” Olsen said.