The USC Viterbi School of Engineering has established a new
$2-million endowed chair to honor former Dean Leonard Silverman, the
longest serving dean in the school’s history.
“Establishment of the new Leonard Silverman Chair, especially during
our centennial anniversary, is a fitting tribute to the Viterbi
School’s most enduring dean,” said Dean Yannis Yortsos. “Dean
Silverman provided strategic leadership during a very challenging time
of growth and change in the school and in the world.”
|Former Dean Leonard Silverman|
The newly endowed chair was established with funding from the estate of
the late Arthur Settle, an electrical engineering alumnus, in memory of
his aunt, Mary Zell. The chair will be awarded to faculty in the
Department of Electrical Engineering who have demonstrated exceptional
achievements in research and teaching.
During his tenure from 1984 – 2001, Dean Silverman, a specialist in
system theory, led the Viterbi School through tumultuous times marked
by the Cold War, a defense buildup, fierce competition in the
burgeoning space industry, and severe budget cutbacks.
He added approximately 90,000 square feet of offices and laboratories
with the opening of Kaprielian Hall in 1989, and construction of the
Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Building in 1990.
Altogether, in the five-year period after his appointment, the Viterbi
School of Engineering raised $60 million.
Perhaps most important, in the early 1990s, Silverman successfully
navigated a new environment of drastic cutbacks in aerospace
engineering, traditionally one of the school’s main sources of support,
which was caused by the end of the Cold War. He made careful
cutbacks through attrition, while still retaining promising young
faculty and going after outstanding new faculty recruits, including USC
Provost and former Viterbi School Dean C. L. Max Nikias.
“Dean Silverman’s great strength has been his ability to provide
strategic directions for the school and then move decisively to
implement them,” USC President Steven B. Sample said upon re-appointing
Silverman to his third term as dean.
Under Silverman, the school won a National Science Foundation grant to
open its first Engineering Research Center — the Integrated Media
Systems Center (IMSC) — dedicated to developing multimedia and Internet
technologies. The center was the first of its kind in NSF’s program, a
first at USC, and an unprecedented new center for technology transfer
in the state of California.
While Silverman was dean, the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical
Engineering was established and most of the faculty from the Department
of Biomedical Engineering are now involved with projects at this
incubation center for medical device development and commercialization.
The new Leonard Silverman Chair brings to 43 the total number of
endowed chairs, professorships and early career chairs in the Viterbi
School of Engineering.