University of Southern California USC Logo

C. L. Max Nikias Inauguration

Joseph Pomeroy Widney

Joseph Widney.jpgJoseph Pomeroy Widney, physician brother of Judge Robert M. Widney, became USC's second president.

Dr. Widney received his early education at Ohio's Miami University. After moving to California, he earned an M.A. degree from San Jose's University of the Pacific and an M.D. degree (1866) from Toland Medical School in San Francisco.

In 1868, Widney established a private practice in Los Angeles, where he organized the Los Angeles County Medical Association and served as president of the Los Angeles Board of Education.

Instrumental in the organization of USC, he served as an endowment trustee and taught courses in physiology, hygiene and English literature until becoming dean of the School of Medicine in 1885.

Widney was nominated for the presidency of USC by a member of the university's board of directors, William S. Knighten; he was unanimously elected by the board on Jan. 11, 1892. No records of the inaugural ceremony have been preserved.

Widney served as president for three years, accepting no money from USC for salary or expenses. His skillful financial planning guided the university through three difficult years. In 1895, Widney resigned to return to his medical practice.


For questions about inaugural events
USC Office of University Events
(213) 740-6786

For media inquiries
USC Media Relations
(213) 740-2215

For questions about alumni events
USC Alumni Association
(213) 740-2300