Schwarzenegger and USC to establish bipartisan political think tank
Bodybuilder-turned-movie-star-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can now add one more thing to his resume: scholar.
On Wednesday, Schwarzenegger and USC announced a partnership to establish a think tank that will seek bipartisan solutions to environmental problems, economic policy, political reform and other public policy issues.
The USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy will be funded with a commitment of $20 million from the former California governor that will include a personal donation as well as money from his fundraising efforts. USC officials said the endowment is expected to be fully funded within two or three years. Schwarzenegger's initial gift is confidential, officials said.
"When you think back of everything I've done — body building, training people, writing about diet and food supplements and promoting movies and entertainment — I've always been interested in making sure other people can benefit from my experience," Schwarzenegger said in an interview. "And it's the same with this. It would be a shame to think what I learned from my governorship over seven years … ways of solving problems — will now be left behind and no one will benefit."
Schwarzenegger will be chairman of the institute's board of advisors and will hold an appointment as the Gov. Downey Professor of State and Global Policy at USC, named after John Downey, an Irish immigrant who in 1860 became California's first foreign-born governor and helped found USC.
The Austrian-born Schwarzenegger became the second foreign-born governor of the state.
The school has been in discussions with Schwarzenegger for more than a year, said USC President C.L. Max Nikias. Schwarzenegger was bestowed an honorary doctorate after speaking at the university's commencement ceremony in 2009. His daughter Katherine graduated from USC last year, and son Patrick will be a freshman in the upcoming academic year.
The university is also in discussions with Schwarzenegger to house his personal collection at the institute. His official papers as governor are stored with the State Archive.
The Schwarzenegger institute will be housed at USC's Sol Price School of Public Policy.
"We're very excited about this because USC has had a deep commitment to civic engagement, especially with the Sol Price school, with a lot of different programs over the years locally, nationally and internationally," Nikias said. "From an academic viewpoint, the institute fits very nicely into the overall mission of the university."
— Carla Rivera
Photo: Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in July. Credit: David Muang / European Pressphoto Agency