first_imgPresident C. L. Max Nikias met with state legislators and government officials in Sacramento last week in his first trip to the state Capitol as president. Nikias traveled with a delegation of university administrators and trustees to discuss issues ranging from the Coliseum to funding for higher education.A trip to the state Capitol is organized each spring by the USC Office of State Government Relations to allow the university to help shape state policy, particularly issues concerning higher education.Nikias had not been to Sacramento since 2008, when he was provost, said Adele Wilson, administrative assistant in USC’s Office of State Government Relations.“He wanted to reconnect with the Sacramento stakeholders and the legislators,” Wilson said.During the day, Nikias met with Gov. Jerry Brown, Secretary of the State Anna Caballero and Los Angeles legislators, including Assembly member Gil Cedillo. Edward P. Roski Jr., Board of Trustees chairman; Thomas S. Sayles, USC senior vice president for University Relations; and Trustee David Dornsife also held meetings with officials in the capital.Wilson said the lease agreement between USC and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission was a primary issue on the trip’s agenda.This transaction will give USC complete control over use of the stadium and the Los Angeles Sports Arena for 20 years and commit the school to paying at least $70 million in stadium renovations.Brown expressed his support of the lease approval during a meeting, according to a press release.Wilson said the visit ended with a reception in the evening. About 150 people were in attendance, Wilson said, including several legislators and the secretary of foreign affairs.Another issue on the trip’s agenda was higher education and funding. According to a press release, Nikias urged Brown to reconsider cutting Cal Grants, which provide financial aid for low-income students. Cal Grants are currently slated for a 44 percent cut in the upcoming budget.Nikias also discussed The Village at USC project with California legislators and the Keck Hospital of USC.Chester A. Newland, an emeritus professor of public administration, said in an email that the trip was successful in displaying USC’s leadership.“Max Nikias’s visit to Sacramento demonstrated USC’s exemplary, broadly inclusive and shared Trojan leadership culture,” Newland said. “[The meeting worked] to promote understanding of the university’s sustained commitment to [the] vital interests of California and to advanced-knowledge civilization, locally to globally.”last_img

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