Dr. Katharine Harrington, USC’s top admissions official, will leave her post in June, the school announced on Thursday.
The departure of Harrington, who serves as USC’s Vice President of Admissions and Planning, was announced in a community-wide email by the school’s provost Charles F. Zukoski.
USC has come under scrutiny in the wake of the nationwide Varsity Blues scandal, in which wealthy parents, athletic officials and coaches made efforts to influence admissions to universities across the country. Annenberg Media spoke with Harrington about the admissions scandal last March.
A USC official told Annenberg Media on background that Harrington had thought about stepping down for a long time and that her decision was not related to the college admissions bribery scandal. On background means that we cannot disclose our source.
Zukoski’s email said Harrington’s resignation will be effective June 30, 2020, and that she plans to return to her position as a professor of clinical management at the USC Marshall School of Business after a brief sabbatical.
Harrington has served in top admissions positions at USC for 15 years, including 10 as the school’s vice president of admissions and planning and five as dean of admission and financial aid. Harrington’s work included oversight for the offices of Admission, Financial Aid, Academic Records/Registrar, and Institutional Research and also lead Orientation and Welcome Week programs, according to Zukoski’s email.
“Her work has strengthened our university community, bolstered our academic achievements, and heightened the quality of the student experience,” wrote Zukoski.
The email did not specify why Harrington will resign nor announce her successor.
USC undergraduate admissions rate has decreased over the past few years. Last year, undergraduate admissions hit a record low of 11%. Harrington discussed the integrity of the admissions process at an Annenberg faculty meeting last April.
The Vice President of Admissions and Planning is the latest role USC will seek to fill. The university is also looking for an athletic director and senior vice president for legal affairs and professionalism.
Annenberg Media reached out to USC for more information, USC Media Relations declined an interview and referred to Zukoski’s email.