Logo: University of Southern California

Creating The World That Never Was

The Viterbi School Launches $500 Million Fundraising Initiative
Katie McKissick
April 25, 2013 —

Dr. Andrew Viterbi has provided financial support to many institutions—those that he attended himself as well as those attended by his children and grandchildren—but he says, “I am convinced that our best investment was in the gifts we made to the USC School of Engineering.”

At the 35th Annual Viterbi Awards on April 24, 2013, Dean Yannis C. Yortsos honored alumni and friends of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and officially launched the School’s $500 million fundraising initiative as part of the Campaign for the University of Southern California, the $6 billion fundraising effort.

"Viterbi’s bold initiative is a very important part of the larger Campaign for USC, which is the most ambitious effort in the history of the university," said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. "And I am thrilled that some 185,000 people have already donated to our overall campaign. We are very grateful to all of the generous individuals and organizations that have made such wise investments in the people and the future of USC. These people know that gifts of every size, both large and small, get us closer to our goal."

From left: USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Niki Nikias, Elon Musk, Debra Reed, Fariborz Maseeh, Sheryl Yortsos, and Dean Yannis C. Yortsos

The theme of the campaign is “Creating a World That Never Was,” an idea drawn from a quote by Theodore von Karman: “Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was.”

Campaign Kickoff from USC Viterbi on Vimeo.

"Today, thanks to engineering and technology the world is being re-created and re-imagined, like never before—with an astonishing speed, at an exponential pace, in front of our very eyes. And it is engineers and visionaries that drive this re-imagination," said Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.

And indeed the recipients of this year’s Viterbi Awards exemplify the valuable contributions that engineers have made to our world and our future.

Mark A. Stevens presented Debra Reed with the Mark A. Stevens Distinguished Alumni Award for her pioneering work as the CEO of Sempra Energy. 

Debra Reed Tribute from USC Viterbi on Vimeo.

Daniel J. Epstein presented Elon Musk with the Daniel J. Epstein Engineering Management Award for his success with both SpaceX and Tesla.

Elon Musk Tribute from USC Viterbi on Vimeo.

Fariborz Maseeh received the Entrepreneurship in Engineering Award for his ongoing philanthropy and sponsorship of the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition.

Viterbi Awards: Fariborz Maseeh Tribute from USC Viterbi on Vimeo.

Discussing the future of the Viterbi School of Engineering, Dr. Andrew Viterbi, the School’s namesake, described his experience growing up as a first generation American, coming from humble means and harnessing the power of education to achieve his current success—an opportunity he wants to give others. “Our nation, the world’s most inventive, entrepreneurial and successful in so many dimensions, can only continue to be so if we preserve the quality of the education and research provided by our world renowned universities,” said Viterbi. “I ask you to join me in ensuring the future of the great School of Engineering in our excellent University of Southern California.”