The largest fundraising campaign in USC’s history officially launched Thursday and Friday. A kickoff event was held at Bovard Auditorium on Friday and was attended by university officials, students, faculty and alumni.
The event included speeches by President C. L. Max Nikias, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett and several senior faculty members conducting breakthrough research.
Students reacted enthusiastically to the Campaign for the University of Southern California, but critically to where the funds would be allocated.
Allyson Brown, a senior majoring in neuroscience, said she agreed with the university’s plan for doubling its endowment — which currently stands at $3 billion — so that USC can maintain its status as a leading research institution.
“This fundraiser is very important because we need to spend more money on creating world-class research projects to maintain our status as a world-class institute,” Brown said.
Garrett said an increased emphasis will be placed on research as the USC hope to solidify itself as a top-tier university.
“USC is poised to become one of the greatest schools in the world and this campaign will help us realize this goal,” Garrett said. “Also, this campaign will cement the university’s place among the top research institutes in the country.”
Some students had their own ideas on how the university should use the new funds.
Alex Carreon, a sophomore majoring in theatre, said the university should use some of the funds to help the community.
“USC is already such a wealthy university,” Carreon said. “We should donate a part of these funds to help the community which is not that well off.”
Garrett confirmed USC would be giving a portion of the money to charities such as the Good Neighbors Program, a six-year pre-college program designed to prepare low-income neighborhood students for admission to USC.
“USC is already donating $1 million a year to the Good Neighbors Program and we expect this amount to increase once the funds are raised,” she said.
President Nikias said the campaign is focused on faculty and students. During his speech, he spoke about the history of the university and how it was founded on the principles of hard work and innovation.
“Uncertainty is always the beginning of adventure,” Nikias said. “With this $6 billion campaign goal, we are embarking on our own adventure of a lifetime. We know our journey will not be a short one or easy one.”