To: USC Community
From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Date: October 24, 2019
Subject: Next Steps for Katharine Harrington
I write today to share the news that Dr. Katharine Harrington, our Vice President of Admissions and Planning, has informed me that she will be stepping down from her position, effective June 30, 2020. She will have served 10 years in this critical role and five years prior as dean of admission and financial aid. On behalf of the USC community, I express our deepest gratitude for her extraordinary work and our enormous pride in what she has accomplished over the past 15 years as our chief enrollment officer. She has been an essential part of USC’s growth into a top-tier global university.
During her tenure, Dr. Harrington developed strategies that expanded USC’s reach across the nation and across the world. She provided the leadership and the strategic guidance that has transformed our undergraduate population into one of the most geographically, socioeconomically, and culturally inclusive student bodies in the country. Her work has strengthened our university community, bolstered our academic achievements, and heightened the quality of the student experience. She simultaneously developed financial aid strategies that have ensured all of our students receive as much support from us as possible.
We also have become a much more selective university – the number of applications went from 31,000 in 2005 to 66,000 in 2019, and our acceptance rate went from 27% to 11.4%. At the same time, we are welcoming a higher caliber of student every year. Our students’ average test scores have risen from the 87th percentile to the 96th percentile, and our graduation rate has also increased.
Dr. Harrington provides oversight for our offices of Admission, Financial Aid, Academic Records/Registrar, and Institutional Research. She also provides leadership for our valuable and popular Orientation and Welcome Week programs. She has assembled strong teams in these areas and she and I are extremely proud of the tireless work they do on behalf of our students and our university community.
Dr. Harrington will take a sabbatical and return to teaching at the USC Marshall School of Business where she is a professor of clinical management and organization. We will update you in coming days on our progress to find the next leader of admissions and planning.
As your new provost, I want to make clear that so much of what attracted me to this groundbreaking university was shaped in so many ways by the work of Dr. Harrington. I personally thank her for her years of dedication to drive us forward, and I wish her heartfelt best wishes for the next stage of her life.
Cc: Carol L. Folt