The University of Southern California has purchased an $8.6-million home in Santa Monica for its president, a transaction that closed just before the onset of a global pandemic that has resulted in austerity cuts announced Friday at the private university.
Carol Folt, who took over as president last summer, bucked the four-decade trend of USC leaders residing at the sprawling compound in San Marino that was bequeathed to the university by Seeley Mudd, a former medical school dean.
Instead, Folt opted to live in a modern, eco-friendly home near the Pacific Palisades that offered views of the ocean and Santa Monica Mountains. After renting it for about $35,000 per month, USC opted to buy it, and after the trustees signed off, the sale closed March 2. The deal was first reported this week by Variety.
Despite the price tag, Rick Caruso, the billionaire chairman of USC’s board of trustees, argued that the move was prudent, citing the costly overhead at the Mudd Estate, along with a host of plumbing, electrical and seismic upgrades.
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