Report places University President Morton Schapiro on shortlist for next USC president

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

University President Morton Schapiro speaks at an event in Fall 2017. In response to a report by 247Sports site, Schapiro said he has not spoken with members of USC’s presidential search committee.

Alan Perez and Elizabeth Byrne

University President Morton Schapiro is on the short list for the University of Southern California’s next president, according to a report by 247Sports affiliate, a role the school has been slow to fill since its embattled chief executive stepped down more than six months ago.

USC’s board of trustees is considering Schapiro, a former administrator and professor at the Los Angeles-based university, to be its next president, the online sports news website reported last week. He is one of two leading candidates, including the current Northeastern University president, Joseph E. Aoun, according to the report.

In a statement sent to The Daily by a University spokesperson, Schapiro said he hasn’t been in contact with USC.

“While I spent a wonderful eleven years at USC, I haven’t spoken with anyone on their search committee or on their board,” Schapiro said. “Even though I am completing a decade as president of NU, I am still having a great time here and there is much left to accomplish.”

USC did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

A return to USC would complete a full circle for Schapiro, who was appointed to be dean of USC’s College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in 1994 after chairing the school’s economics department. He also served as the private school’s vice president for planning.

The higher education economist began his career in academia as a professor of economics and assistant provost at Williams College, where he later served as president after his stint at USC. He became Northwestern’s 16th president after the board appointed him in 2008, citing his “grasp of the issues facing higher education, the complexities of a research university (and) his impressive record of academic achievement.”

In an interview with The Daily last week, Schapiro reflected on his NU career, saying his 10th year as president is “uncharted territory” because it is the longest he’s served in the same role at a university.

“I didn’t plan to come here as president; it just sort of happened. … I know I make a lot of mistakes, but every once in a while I get something right,” he said. “I always try to learn from my mistakes and do a better job.”

USC has been in turmoil since its chief executive, C.L. Max Nikias, stepped down in August amid outcry over his handling of reports that the school’s gynecologist had mistreated students for decades, as uncovered by the Los Angeles Times. The private school also faced criticism after the Times revealed that the former medical school dean had used drugs on campus and partied with prostitutes.

Well into the school year without a permanent president, USC’s board of trustees is still looking for a person to bring stability back, although the board is reportedly struggling with some internal conflict of its own.

USC’s leadership has said it would take four to six months to pick a new president, though it is well into its seventh month of searching.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @_perezalan_

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @lizbyrne33

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