White House Taps USC Law Professor for Commission on Presidential Scholars



Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011

Robert M. Saltzman to select nation's top high school seniors

By Gilien Silsby

President Barack Obama announced that USC Gould School of Law Associate Dean Robert M. Saltzman will be appointed to the Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of distinguished citizens charged with selecting and honoring the nation’s top graduating high school seniors.

Saltzman, an expert on the political process and legal and professional ethics, oversees USC Law's Academic Support Program. He has worked in a variety of public service capacities and currently is a commissioner for the Los Angeles Police Department. He also serves on the board of directors of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute.

“I am honored to be able to provide this public service, especially because of the role the Presidential Scholars play in the development of leadership for our nation's future,” Saltzman said.

Established in 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program recognizes and honors the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. A panel selects scholars from an initial pool of approximately 3,000 candidates who demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts and an outstanding commitment to public service.

Saltzman will join more than a dozen other commissioners who work in education, medicine, law, social services, business and other professions. Marina C. McCarthy of Harvard University is the current chair of the commission.

Carol Pensky, who serves on the board of directors of DC Prep, a public charter school in Washington, D.C., also will be appointed to the commission. President Obama announced his intent to nominate five individuals to other administration posts.

“These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles, and I am proud to have them serve in this administration,” Obama said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Robert K. Rasmussen, dean of USC Law, said Saltzman is a dedicated public servant as well as an outstanding leader and mentor to students.

“We are very proud of Rob, and I’m confident he will do an excellent job on the commission,” Rasmussen said.

Saltzman graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. He served on the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission from 2005 until 2008 and as commission vice president in 2008.

During the 1990s and again from 2009 to 2011, Saltzman served as a trustee of the Law School Admission Council. He also was a member of the board of trustees of the National Association for Law Placement Foundation from 1999 to 2002, and he formerly served on the board of visitors of the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and Leadership at Dartmouth College.