Former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt will become the University of Southern California’s 12th president, the USC Board of Trustees announced Wednesday.
Folt, who led Carolina from 2013 to January 2019, will take office as USC’s new president on July 1.
The first female to lead UNC-Chapel Hill, Folt was known for advancing student access and affordability, promoting research, discovery and academic excellence at the University, and steering the campus toward greater accountability.
As Carolina’s 11th chancellor, she set the course for the University’s future with the launch of The Blueprint for Next, Carolina’s strategic framework, and the University’s $4.2 billion fundraising campaign. She worked to make college education accessible for all North Carolinians and inspired thousands of Tar Heels to embrace the arts with the start of the Arts Everywhere initiative. She also oversaw the unprecedented rise in research, the update of the campus master plan and the establishment of makerspaces and interdisciplinary hubs on campus to spark innovation and entrepreneurship.
“As I have come to know Dr. Folt and how she thinks, it is clear that USC has chosen a brilliant, principled leader with clarity of purpose and integrity to lead the university forward and upward,” said Rick Caruso, chair of the USC Board of Trustees. “Ours was a global search, and we spoke to over a hundred diverse and world-class candidates. 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.
“She has a deep appreciation for the breadth and depth of USC’s mission, and I’m confident she will further strengthen the academic and athletic programs, professional schools and health sciences. Her experience, energy and dedication to these essential elements of USC are needed now more than ever. She is the right leader at the right time. She is a remarkable and accomplished woman.”
Folt was the unanimous choice of USC’s 23-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The group presented Folt as a candidate after a seven-month national search shaped by the input of hundreds of USC faculty and staff members, students, alumni and other members of the Trojan Family.
“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, and staff, 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 assume leadership of the university from interim President Wanda M. Austin, who has led USC since August 2018.
“I am proud to congratulate Carol Folt on her appointment as president of the University of Southern California,” said Carolina’s Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “Through the development of The Blueprint for Next strategic framework and the fundraising momentum we achieved in the Campaign for Carolina, Carol accomplished great things on which we will continue to build. I know she will bring the same level of passion, energy and commitment to help the USC community work extremely hard to achieve its goals and dreams. We wish Carol the very best in this new pursuit.”
Read the full announcement on the University of Southern California’s website.