USC Interim President Wanda Austin and President-elect Carol L. Folt have announced the creation of a provost search committee and the appointment of Interim Provost Elizabeth Graddy. The announcement came in a memo to faculty and staff, distributed April 30. Mark Humayun, MD, PhD, University Professor of Ophthalmology, will lead the search committee, and members of the committee include Keck School of Medicine of USC professors Yaniv Bar-Cohen, MD, and Andrew P. McMahon, PhD.

The full memo can be read below:


As we work toward a smooth transition in the university’s leadership, we have been identifying key areas of focus, including the appointment of USC’s new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, who will succeed Provost Michael Quick. We write today to share the next steps and a timeline for this critically important search. Moving forward, we are committed to building on the excellent foundation established by many in our community during the search for the president, as it will allow us to fill this position in a timely fashion and with broad community input.

To begin, we are pleased to announce that Elizabeth Graddy has generously agreed to serve as the university’s interim provost, effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Graddy, who is USC’s current executive vice provost, brings tremendous experience to this role, having previously served as vice provost of academic and faculty affairs. In her current capacity, she oversees the offices of faculty affairs, academic affairs, undergraduate programs, and the Graduate School. Dr. Graddy cares deeply about the university’s mission and core values, and brings a well-considered and aspirational perspective to every discussion. She is also passionate about diversity and inclusion, and understands their importance in building trust among our community and in achieving our goals for academic excellence.

During the presidential search process, we saw a groundswell in community involvement, as faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local community members participated in listening sessions, wrote impassioned letters, and shared their views with colleagues, peers, and friends. The goals articulated by these diverse voices guide our work today, and we will select a provost whose values and vision align closely with the broader ambitions of our community.

To guide this process, we have formed a search committee that consists of a wide range of leaders from across the university. The committee will be chaired by University Professor Mark Humayun, and will report directly to the president-elect. The full roster accompanies this letter.

In selecting the members, we worked closely with the Academic Senate. Dr. Yaniv Bar-Cohen and Professor Rebecca Lonergan, the president and the president-elect of the Academic Senate, respectively, will serve on the search committee, and we will continue to  listen carefully to the input and guidance we receive from that important group.

For experience and continuity, we also included several individuals who were on the presidential search committee. We added students and staff to the committee. Taken together, this group represents a breadth of backgrounds, views, and experience at the university, and the chair will work closely with each member of the search committee throughout the process.

Beyond the committee, we will actively consult the executive board of the Academic Senate, University and Distinguished Professors, student government (both undergraduate and graduate), the deans, and the academic department chairs of the Keck School of Medicine. We hope to identify the candidate by the end of the summer.

Isaacson, Miller, a highly regarded search firm, will assist the university in its search. We and the members of the search committee welcome your input, as well as your nominations and applications, for this position. You may direct these materials to Throughout the process, we are committed to maintaining absolute confidentiality.

The central role of the provost at USC cannot be overstated, and this appointment tops our list of priorities in the coming weeks. The provost is the second-ranking officer under the president, the chief academic officer, and plays a critical role in all of the univeristy’s operations. To realize the dreams we all share for USC, we will need to get this appointment absolutely right. We ask for your help and we are eager to partner with you.

USC Provost Search Committee

Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD, chair, Provost Search Committee; University Professor of Ophthalmology

Yaniv Bar-Cohen, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics and medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC

David C. Bohnett, University Trustee; chair, academic affairs committee; chair, David Bohnett Foundation

Hanna Damasio, MD, University Professor, Dana Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience, Professor of Psychology and Neurology, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Jeffrey de Caen, Staff Assembly President; associate dean of operations, USC Thornton School of Music

Joanna Demers, PhD, professor of musicology, USC Thornton School of Music

Shaun Harper, PhD, Provost Professor of Education and Business, Clifford H. and Betty C. Allen Professor in Urban Leadership, USC Rossier School fo Education, USC Marshall School of Business

Sharoni Little, PhD, EdD, professor of clinical business communications, USC Marshall School of Business

Rebecca S. Lonergan, JD, professor of lawyering skills; incoming president of the Academic Senate, USC Gould School of Law

Peter Mancall, PhD, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Linda and Harlan Martens Director of hte Early Modern Studies Institute, professor of history and anthropology, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Oliver Mayer, associate professor of dramatic writing, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Andrew P. McMahon, PhD, University Professor, W.M. Keck Provost Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Biological Sciences, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Ellis Meng, PhD, Gabilan Distinguished Professorship in Science and Engineering, professor of biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering-electrophysics, USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Viet Thanh Nguyen, PhD, University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, professor of English, American studies and ethnicity, and comparative literature, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

James M. Staten, senior vice president, finance and chief financial officer

Trenton Stone, Undergraduate Student Government president

Joycelyn Yip, Graduate Student Government president