Dr. Schwarzenegger: Former Governor Will Be a Professor at New Institute That Bears His Name

Reed Saxon, AP Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger will gain a new title at the U. of Southern California's new Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. The former governor is shown receiving an honorary doctoral hood at Southern Cal in 2009 from C.L. Max Nikias, then the university's provost and now its president.
August 02, 2012

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former California governor, action-movie star, and body builder, can now add the job title of professor to his diverse list of occupations.

Mr. Schwarzenegger and C.L. Max Nikias, the president of the University of Southern California, are set to announce today the establishment of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. The former governor, who holds an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Southern Cal, will be the institute's Governor Downey Professor of State and Global Policy and will serve as the chairman of its board of advisers.

"Titles are nice," the former Republican governor said in an interview, when asked how he felt about adding "professor" to the list of ways he could be addressed. But titles are about ego, he said, and what's more important "is the substance of what we are trying to accomplish."

The institute, which will be part of USC's Sol Price School of Public Policy, seeks to promote a new era of post-partisanship, Mr. Schwarzenegger said.

"We should teach people that they can have strong, strong beliefs. If you are a Republican, you should keep your beliefs. If you are a Democrat, you should keep your beliefs," he said. But students need to be taught, he added, how to get people of different beliefs together and to forge solutions through intelligent and civil discussion.

The Schwarzenegger institute will emphasize the importance of science and evidence in policy making, according to the university's announcement, and will focus on local and regional solutions as being among the best means to solving global problems. The five policy areas the institute will prioritize are: education, energy and environment, fiscal and economic policy, health and human wellness, and political reform.

The institute's co-leaders will be Bonnie Reiss, a former California education secretary who was also a senior adviser to Mr. Schwarzenegger when he was governor, and Nancy Staudt, who holds a joint appointment in the university's Gould School of Law and the Price School of Public Policy. Ms. Reiss will be the institute's global director, and Ms. Staudt will be its academic director.

An International End Game

Mr. Schwarzenegger is helping to finance the institute. The former governor will provide an initial gift, the amount and terms of which the university declined to disclose. Digital documents from his work as governor, an office Mr. Schwarzenegger held from 2003 to 2011, also will be housed at Southern Cal.

In his role as professor, Mr. Schwarzenegger said he will give talks and lectures on the campus and also at sites across the globe. "My strength is international reputation," he said. "My end game is to take information overseas."

He said he is enthusiastic about sharing the knowledge he gained as governor and about hearing from other cities and countries, too, about the experiences they have had that might help others solve problems. Whether it is about training or diet or policy, Mr. Schwarzenegger said, he likes to communicate about the things he has learned about how to be successful.

For example, he said, he used to meet with the world's top body builders after international competitions, and they would debate such things as where the sport should go and what judging should look like. "This is no different," he said of how he expects to exchange ideas and lessons with other leaders, and with students, as part of the institute that bears his name. "I always like to go and take what I know and run with it."