Carol Folt Will Be the Next President of the University of Southern California

Carol L. Folt has been named the 12th president of the University of Southern California. The university enrolls nearly 46,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Women make up about 52 percent of the undergraduate student body. Dr. Folt will assume her new duties on July 1, 2019.

Most recently, Dr. Folt served as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from July 2013 to January 2019. During her tenure, she oversaw the implementation of more than 70 reforms to ensure the highest standards of accountability and integrity across the university. Her other notable accomplishments  included appointing a special assistant to focus on diversity and inclusion, strengthening the university’s policies on sexual assault, and she drove critical conversations on campus about race and sexual violence. Dr. Folt left the university this past Janaury after taking the bold and controversial step of removing the pedestal for a Confederate monument from a main entrance to the campus.

Dr. Folt’s career in higher education began as a professor at Dartmouth College, where she served as a faculty member in biological sciences. At Dartmouth, she also held various administrative positions including dean of faculty, provost, and interim president. As an academic, her research has focused on the effects of dietary mercury and arsenic on human and ecosystem health, salmonid fisheries management and restoration, and global climate change. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“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,” said Dr. Folt. “The lifeblood of every great university is its students, faculty, staff and students, 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. Of course, I also am aware that our community is deeply troubled by a number of immediate challenges. I assure you that we will meet these challenges together, directly, decisively and with honesty and candor. This is a moment of responsibility and opportunity, and we will seize them both.”

Dr. Folt holds a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology and a master’s degree in biology both from Santa Barbara City College. She earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis.

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