University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias – recognized internationally for his pioneering engineering research and for his vision that has helped make USC a global research university – will be the commencement speaker at Santa Monica College.
SMC’s Commencement Exercises – which will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 on Corsair Field – will be webcast live and available on the SMC Alumni webpage. This is the fourth year in a row that SMC’s graduation will be available to families and friends from all over the world who will not be able to attend the ceremony.
About 550 graduates are expected to attend the festivities, which will also feature the awarding of the SMC Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award to Nathalie Rayes, the U.S. National Public Relations Director of Grupo Salinas, a Mexican conglomerate with $5 billion in annual sales.
“We’re honored that Dr. Nikias will be our commencement speaker,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “Santa Monica College and USC have had close ties for many years, and SMC has long been the No. 1 transfer institution to USC. Thousands of Santa Monica College students have gone on to receive an exceptional baccalaureate education at USC that has launched many outstanding careers.”
Nikias became the University of Southern California’s eleventh president in August 2010. He has been at USC since 1991, as a professor, director of national research centers, dean, provost, and now president. He holds faculty appointments in both electrical engineering and the classics. Additionally, he leads special freshman seminars each fall on ancient Athenian democracy and drama.
Dr. Nikias is recognized internationally for his pioneering research on digital signal processing, digital media systems, and biomedicine. The U.S. Department of Defense has adopted a number of his innovations and patents in sonar, radar, and communication systems. He has authored more than 275 journal articles and conference papers, three textbooks, and eight patents, and has mentored more than 30 Ph.D. and postdoctoral scholars. Three of his publications received prestigious best papers awards.
As president, Dr. Nikias has articulated a vision for USC to attain undisputed, elite status as a global research university. His initiatives include recruiting a cadre of transformative, world-class faculty; elevating USC’s academic medical enterprise; expanding USC’s international presence; further improving the breadth and quality of USC’s outstanding student body; and embarking on the largest fundraising campaign in the history of higher education.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has called Dr. Nikias a “prodigious fundraiser.” His first two years as president were highlighted by eight transformative gifts that allowed USC to raise an unprecedented total of $2 billion.
Meanwhile, SMC is once again pulling out the stops to ensure a memorable graduation. Through the Alumni webpage, graduates will also be able to watch videos and read and post comments. Graduates and SMC friends are encouraged to “like” the Alumni Association’s Facebook fan page and upload their graduation photos. They can also tag their pictures to Flickr or Twitter with #smcgrad13 that will be published on the association’s website.
After the ceremonies, the Alumni Association is hosting a reception on the Quad, with free hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and two photo booths where pictures will be taken and uploaded on the Alumni website. A compilation video will be available on the website about a week after graduation.