Christopher Celenza, the second of three candidates for dean of USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, spoke to students and faculty on Monday about why he wants the position, why he has the relevant experience to take it on and why he believes he is best suited for the job.Celenza holds two Ph.D.s — one in history from Duke University and one in Neo-Latin Literature from the University of Hamburg, and is currently the vice dean for humanities and social sciences at Johns Hopkins University.Celenza spent four years as the Director of the American Academy in Rome where he oversaw fundraising and administration and became an interim librarian.Celenza said his experience managing the Academy in Rome made him realize that this position was something he “could do well, really loved doing and wanted to do in a larger context.”When questioned about his plans to further the science programs at USC, Celenza admitted that though he does not have a background in the sciences, he has done his research and said that the biggest problem facing science majors today is a lack of funding for risky ventures.“One thing I would suggest for the science is that we work really hard to develop innovation funds,” Celenza said. “Good science often involves risk, it often involves disruption and USC needs to have that environment where people can feel comfortable going after their riskier ideas.”If chosen as dean, Celenza said that his first three to six months on the job would be “listening months.”“[My] focus will be on interacting with department chairs, institute heads and interested groups of undergraduates,” Celenza said. “Then we can spend the next academic year coming up with focus groups that can really operationalize those ideas in a structured three- to five-year plan.”One of Celenza’s main goals at USC is to be present in campus life. He wants to be someone that people can easily reach out to and talk to about issues in Dornsife.“A dean, even though they might be busy, has to be able to reach out to individuals,” Celenza said. “If someone’s not convinced, they must do all they can to make them feel respected and listen hard to what they say.”Celenza believes that a main problem undergraduates face is that they tend to change jobs every five years. Because of that, his goal for undergraduate students is to foster resilience because employers need flexibility in their employees.Celenza said that there should be a strong emphasis on proximity and presence to foster conversations and ideas that can further a school.“I would love to see experiential learning programs, collective spaces where undergraduates can gather to discuss things they are passionate about,” Celenza said.Dornsife’s previous dean Stephen Kay left the job earlier than expected, and many in attendance were curious about whether Celenza would look at this position as simply a stepping stone to greater things.When asked about his future plans beyond the position of dean, Celenza responded that USC is an ideal destination in his professional career and that he would want to stay as long as possible.On his leadership style, Celenza said that he believes in “finding the right leadership teams and giving them the gift of trust.”One of the attendees, Senior Administrator for Dornsife Architectural Services James McElwain, said these forums were incredibly helpful in allowing the faculty and students to get to know their prospective dean.“I love the fact that they’re willing to have us speak with the candidates. You just get a little taste of who this person is,” McElwain said.Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Quick has not yet released the name of the third and final candidate.
Vegas built a team based on all-around decent players who were underrated or didn’t quite fit in with their past clubs. Collectively, those players created a formidable contender. Thomas has only one major win under his belt: the 2017 PGA Championship. He had historically good — not great — outings at all majors, but he has seen steady improvement in the standings each year. At the end of the day, however, I think LeBron and his crew will overcome those obstacles and prove they are the best team in the league come June. This year, the Golden Knights are once again sitting atop the Pacific Division thanks to their offensive firepower from players like wingers Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, and they are currently on a six-game win streak. Thomas is coming off a phenomenal season, during which he placed third in the FedEx Cup standings. At 26 years old, Thomas is nearing the prime of his career, so I expect him to have another big season on tour in 2020. The Masters: Justin Thomas With Tiger Woods playing inconsistently and Brooks Koepka returning from injury, I think Thomas has a prime opportunity to steal the Masters early in the PGA season. On paper, the Lakers have everything they need to win a title. They have superstars, shooters, hustlers, rebounders and defensive stoppers. But in reality, it seems like the team has relied a little too much on star duo. We’ve already seen major sporting events in 2020 like the College Football Playoff and the Super Bowl, but aside from football, we still have a year full of championships to win in every sport, at every level. This week, I will make my predictions for the winners of the most high-profile remaining American sporting events this year — except for the upcoming March Madness, which I’ll dive into deeper in a couple of weeks. However, the Braves will have no easy path to the World Series, as a number of other prominent teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees will be hungry for titles of their own. It’s going to take a complete and flawless postseason with minimal injuries, but I think the Braves have what it takes to win it all this October. From a pitching standpoint, the Braves are once again stacked with a deep and trustworthy rotation, including Mike Soroka and Cole Hamels, and even bolstered their bullpen to give them depth at all positions. NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers The Lakers have been Finals contenders since the day they acquired Anthony Davis, and so far, the Lake Show has lived up to the hype. With the second-best record in the league, the Lakers have looked formidable thanks to the duo of Davis and LeBron James, both of whom have put up highly impressive stats this season. The one major area of concern will be L.A.’s role players: The Lakers need players like guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Danny Green and forward JaVale McGee to play at an extremely high level to provide the necessary support for Davis and James. Founded just a couple of seasons ago, the Golden Knights have quickly emerged as one of the NHL’s most exciting teams. The Golden Knights started out their first season with a bang by making it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Last year, they had another solid season where they made the playoffs but were quickly eliminated by the San Jose Sharks. World Series: Atlanta Braves One key player that has contributed to the Braves’ resurgence has been young outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., who has put up massive numbers in his two MLB seasons. He and first baseman Freddie Freeman’s firepower should spearhead another deadly Braves offense this year. In addition, the Lakers will have to deal with other stacked rosters like the hometown rival Los Angeles Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as well as the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the NBA’s best record. The Braves suffered through the rebuilding process for several years, but recently, the team has taken major strides. Last season, the Braves finished first in the National League East in front of the eventual World Series winners, the Washington Nationals, but they made a quick playoff exit after losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series. Thomas is currently first in the FedEx Cup standings, first in top-10 finishes and fourth in scoring average. Stats like these allude to my prediction that this is the year Thomas takes his game to the next level and finally pulls out another major win. Defensively, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been outstanding. Other than him, however, stopping the puck has been an area of concern for the team. The Golden Knights might not have the most stacked team on paper compared to teams like the Boston Bruins or the Washington Capitals, but they will have to find ways to overcome those giants in the playoffs, and I believe they will. Stanley Cup: Vegas Golden Knights Harrison Cho is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “The Chosen One,” runs every other Thursday.