Successor must work to honor Sample’s legacy

If Pete Carroll is the face of USC, then surely President Steven B. Sample is the brains.

In 1991, the man who assumed the role of USC’s 10th president had his work cut out for him. In the last 18 years, Sample has transformed USC from a commuter school to a residential university. His tenure has seen USC rise 25 spots in the US News & World Reports rankings; with an increase in merit-based scholarships and a rigorous recruiting regimen, USC’s admittance rate has fallen from 70 percent in 1991 to 24 percent this year. His work emphasizing USC’s presence abroad has brought to campus the most international students of any national university.

As USC began the precarious process of reaching out into the community, Sample worked to ensure a cohesive expansion and focused on reconciling the interests of the surrounding area with the needs of a burgeoning urban university.

His emphasis on community service won USC Time Magazine’s “College of the Year” in 2000, and his vision for the Master Plan aims to further cement USC as one of the focal points in Los Angeles.

Today, Sample is officially announcing his decision to step down from his post in August. With his resignation, he leaves a formidable legacy to whoever accepts his mantle.

Sample has fostered almost two decades of comprehensive change at USC. As the university stands on the cusp of generation-defining change, his successor will have the tremendous task of continuing Sample’s momentum.

It is up to USC’s next president to promote and continue many of Sample’s achievements — making USC a destination school for students across the country and the world, continuing to develop the Figueroa Corridor in conjunction with the community, maintaining an open dialogue with community leaders, faculty and students.

The decisions made over the next few years are going to shape USC’s new identity as we move further into the 21st century. Let’s honor Sample’s progress by making sure that it never slows and never stops.