Related: Download application for Provost’s Pre-College Summer Scholarship for Military High School Students

by Eddie North-Hager

USC President C. L. Max Nikias and a delegation of university leaders met with key policymakers in Washington, D.C., this week, unveiling a new program that will bring the sons and daughters from military families here for summer classes.

Nikias announced the Provost’s Pre-College Summer Scholarship for Military High School Students in conjunction with the 2014 USC in D.C. event, where Nikias and Provost Elizabeth Garrett joined USC faculty, staff and trustees to share USC’s leadership role in research, education, health care and civic engagement with congressional and other government leaders.

“Federal funding ensures that universities like USC are engines of discovery and innovation, which enrich and improve our lives,” Nikias said. “It’s this powerful partnership between education and government that makes research universities a wise investment even in the most challenging fiscal climate.

“We maintain an engaged presence in Washington, D.C., because it’s the constant collaboration between our elected officials and our world-class researchers that makes America the intellectual leader for the rest of the world.”

One focus of the trip was to emphasize USC’s ongoing commitment to issues that affect U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families. USC will provide eight students of active duty or veteran U.S. service members with full scholarships to attend a four-week program in which they can earn college credit and preview their “freshman year” at one of the world’s leading private research universities. The university will cover tuition, fees, airfare, room, board and lab costs.

The summer program exemplifies USC’s long-standing support to those who have served their country. USC, which has maintained a decades-long relationship with ROTC, is developing new disciplines focusing on veteran issues and creating fields of study to help the student-veteran succeed on the University Park Campus or a military base through online classes.

Last year, USC launched the Master of Business for Veterans to help veterans transition into civilian life. In the past three years, more than 450 students graduated with a master’s degree in social work with a concentration that focuses on the military, the first program of its kind.

The D.C. visit took place a week after USC signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide even more services that will help veterans readjust to civilian life.

“Our university is committed to helping veterans succeed in their educational programs and their transition to the workforce by maintaining a campus environment that is supportive, as well as providing access to a world-class education both on campus and online,” Garrett said.

The groundbreaking research at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and the USC Information Sciences Institute also was highlighted. These programs partner with the military directly to produce work that benefits military personnel in the field and veterans on the home front.

In addition to Nikias and Garrett, the delegation included Trustees Wanda Austin, Lisa Barkett, Christopher Cox, Robert Padgett, Bruce Ramer, Edward Roski, Leonard Schaeffer and Jeff Smulyan. Randoph Hall, USC vice president of research, and Anthony Hassan, director of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families in the USC School of Social Work, also attended.

The delegation met with many members of California’s representatives, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and congressional members Karen Bass, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Adam Schiff, Kevin McCarthy, Scott Peters, Loretta Sanchez, Xavier Becerra, John Campbell and members of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office.

In addition, there were meetings with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dean Heller ’85, both of Nevada; Sen. Charles Schumer of New York; Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas; John Engler, the president of Business Roundtable and former governor of Michigan; and Jamienne Studley, under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

Nikias also discussed USC’s military initiatives with Brig. Gen. (Select) Michael Groen, director of intelligence for the U.S. Marine Corps. Over lunch they explored other potential intersections of interest across a broad range of topics.

Photo: Anthony Hassan, Bruce Ramer, Mac Thornberry, USC President C. L. Max Nikias and Edward Roski, from left, in Washington, D.C.

This story first appeared on USC News.

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