University of Southern California

About USC

Introduction of President Steven B. Sample

Annual Address to the Faculty
February 2004
by Edwin McCann
Professor of Philosophy
President of the Faculty 2003-04

It’s a pleasure and an honor for me today to introduce Steven B. Sample, 10th president of the University of Southern California, on the occasion of his annual address to the faculty. I’m sure all of us know of the tremendous strides the university has made during the 13 years of his leadership: our incoming freshman class now boasts average levels of achievement, as measured by grades and standardized test scores, that are the envy of even the flagship campuses of the University of California, placing us at the highest levels of selectivity; we now retain many more of those gifted students from year to year than we have done in the past; our sponsored research amounts to $400 million per year, and we were recently awarded a second Engineering Research Center grant by the National Science Foundation, a very rare distinction; the president recently completed the most successful fundraising campaign in the history of higher education, distinguishing himself as the only university president to secure four gifts of $100 million or more; the realization of preeminent athletic excellence in the context of a solid dedication to academic values; the list goes on and on.

Through it all, President Sample, a tenured member of the faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering, has continued to teach. Each spring semester he co-teaches with Professor Warren Bennis a very popular course on leadership. He has written a best-selling book on the topic, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, the royalties being donated to a scholarship fund for USC undergraduates. President Sample has also fostered such innovative educational initiatives as the Renaissance Scholars Program.

These accomplishments, and others too numerous to mention, are ones of which anyone would be proud, and I know that President Sample takes due pride in them. But I also know that he looks forward much more than he looks back, and that where others might see a string of completed successes, he sees a trajectory. From the beginning of his time here, the president has been very adept at preserving the rich traditions of USC and the Trojan Family while bringing them forward to meet the opportunities and obligations which the future places on us, and this makes the prospects for the future of USC very bright indeed. Let me now introduce him to you as I think he’d like best: I give you the 10th president of the University of Southern California, Professor Steven B. Sample.