Joseph Aoun is leaving his post as dean of the University of Southern California's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences to be president of Northeastern University. On the surface, it may seem that Boston-based Northeastern is a far cry from the Los Angeles-based USC, but the two universities have important similarities. Both are private institutions with large enrollments. USC has a total enrollment close to 33,000; Northeastern's is close to 23,000.
And both have worked to improve their academic reputations during the past decade. Aoun, 53, is credited with helping raise the prestige of the USC College that he ran. Four years ago, he started a $100 million initiative to bring 100 renowned professors to USC's faculty and has helped with the fundraising.
The college, which is USC's largest, currently has more than 30 academic departments. Overall, the average annual fundraising total for USC's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences under Aoun rose from $18 million per year to $40 million in 2005, according to documents he filed with the university.
Northeastern officials have stated that fundraising will be integral to Aoun's efforts there. Northeastern has already benefited from the efforts of outgoing President Richard Freeland, who is credited with turning the largely commuter school known mainly to local students into a national institution with a distinct national identity. Freeland, who has been in office for more than a decade, steps down in mid-August of this year. -J.M.A.