Trojan Family Thanksgiving for students — with Dr. and Mrs. Nikias

Continuing a Thanksgiving tradition they began in 2010, President C. L. Max Nikias and his wife, Niki C. Nikias, opened up their homes to students last Thursday. Together with their daughters, Georgiana and Maria, the Nikiases hosted over 400 guests, who were treated to a traditional Thanksgiving meal that included oven roasted free range turkey, ciabatta stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and crispy brussels sprouts.

President Nikias said, “Since Niki and I both came to the U.S. as international students many years ago, we learned quickly that Thanksgiving can be a lonely holiday if you’re not able to get home to your family. That’s where Niki got the idea to open our home to students both domestic and international – who are all part of our Trojan Family.”

USC students take part in Thanksgiving Festivities at the President's house

USC students take part in Thanksgiving Festivities at the President’s house (Photo: USC/Steve Cohn

In his remarks towards the end of the meal, President Nikias spoke about the history of Thanksgiving in the U.S., telling students that we have the woman behind children’s nursery rhyme ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’, Sarah Hale, to thank for this family holiday. Beginning in the late 1820s, she wrote extensively about the need for America’s citizens to come together to observe Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Lincoln heeded her call, and finally declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.