The board of trustees of the University of Southern California has chosen Wanda M. Austin as interim president of the university. She will serve while the university conducts a search for a permanent president to replace C.L. Max Nikias who resigned after a series of allegations were raised about the university’s handling of alleged sexual abuse by a university physician.
Dr. Austin is the co-founder of MakingSpace Inc. and a systems engineering and leadership development consultant. From 2008 to 2016, she was president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to the application of science and technology relating to the nation’s space program. She was the first woman and the first African American to serve as CEO of the organization since its founding in 1961.
Dr. Austin has been a member of the board of trustees of the University of Southern California since 2010. She also sits on the board of Chevron and Amgen Inc., and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Dr. Austin is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She holds a master’s degree in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Southern California.