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University of Southern California Names First Female President

The University of Southern California has named Carol L. Folt as its first female president.

A past biology professor and former chancellor at the University of North Carolina, Folt will succeed Wanda Austin as the university’s new chief executive.

“Ours was a global search, and we spoke to over a hundred diverse and world-class candidates,” Rick Caruso, chair of the USC Board of Trustees, said.

“Dr. Folt stood out from the very beginning as a courageous and compassionate person who always places the well-being of students, faculty, staff, and patients at the heart of all she does.”

Earlier this year, Folt was forced to resign from UNC over controversy regarding a Confederate statue on campus. While she originally sought the return of the statue, her last act as chancellor was ordering that it be permanently removed.

In the realm of biology, Folt is well-known for her research on the effects of dietary mercury and arsenic on human and ecosystem health, salmonid fisheries management and restoration, and global climate change while serving as a professor at Dartmouth College.

She is also credited with increasing the diversity of students, leading a $4.25 billion fundraising campaign, and implementing new environmental sustainability initiatives during her tenure at UNC.

“USC is a world-class global research university, and I am deeply grateful to the USC community and its leaders for giving me the privilege of serving as its president,” Folt said.

“The lifeblood of every great university is its students, faculty, staff and alumni, and I am so looking forward to meeting with you and learning more about you. The opportunities and potential I see ahead for USC are extraordinary.”

Folt will formally take over as president of the institution on July 1, 2019.

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