The sun may not be shining, but the University of [Southern] California has more than one reason to beat its WASPy chest with pride this October.
1. Amid a slew of West Coast visits from top-billed politicians, USC snagged the No. 1 man on campus: President Obama himself. (Of course, this one's not so great for those of us ill-fated enough to be commuting anywhere between LAX and the USC campus this Friday, when Obama's security entourage will likely cause a catastrophic traffic clog. That is, if memory serves.)
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2. To the science-oriented research divisions of USC -- dumping grounds for philanthropic billionaires needing a nifty tax write-off -- a $50 million grant might seem like pocket change. But for the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the latest gift from (who else?) the Annenberg family is a miracle. It's enough, even, to make sure USC plays "the leading role in shaping the future of journalism and communication for our world," if you ask brand-new USC President C.L. Max Nikias (see below). Now, if only the Annenbergs could find it in their hearts to buy up the Los Angeles Times.
3. The Trojans might have lost Helen, but they've got a new Greek for their throne: the great C.L. "Max" Nikias, internally hailed as one of the most accomplished people of all time -- especially when it comes to fundraising. He was sworn in last Friday. Good timing.
The only buzzkill on campus: The Daily Trojan reports that administrators are tightening the reins on tailgating at football games. Or, as senior vice president of administration Todd Dickey put it, "We want [campus] to be a family-oriented tailgating experience." Kind of an oxymoron, if you ask us.