Logo: University of Southern California

Congratulations Class of 2003!

May 16, 2003 —

May 16, Commencement Day, was the happiest day of the year for more than 1,500 USC engineers took the first step of what will be a lifelong journey of learning. The USC School of Engineering Class of 2003 includes about 512 students receiving bachelor’s degrees, 950 receiving master’s degrees and 85 receiving doctoral degrees. Totals are inexact because not all final grades are in yet, and they include students who will complete their studies in summer sessions.
More than one hundred of the master’s degree students did all of their academic work over the Internet, including Dave Rocheleau, a Boeing employee from Mesa, Arizona, who saw the USC campus for the very first time when he picked up his degree.

“I’m afraid I’m going to get lost,” said the 27-year-old Boeing employee whose wife and two children came to see him graduate.

Addressing the degree candidates, faculty, parents and others assembled on Archimedes Plaza, Dean C. L. Max Nikias noted parents had made great sacrifices toward the goal of giving sons and daughters a better life. “Today as you look around you, there is clear evidence that you have succeeded.”
Valedictorian and Renaissance Scholar Melissa Patterson received a BS in Biomedical Engineering as well as a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She urged her her classmates “to celebrate the uncertainty that lies ahead…we’ve all earned the privilege of plotting our own stories.” It was the kind of bright, sunny, spring day that makes Southern California seem like paradise.
Not everyone’s attention was riveted to the podium as every single graduate’s name was called.
Parents and brothers and sisters were laden with cameras, cell phones, bouquets of flowers and leis. Here’s what Archimedes Plaza looked like from behind the podium.
Jessica Lee of Phoenix, Arizona received her master’s degree. in Biomedical Engineering. You may think you know where she’s going next, but you’d be wrong. “My little brother went to Disneyland yesterday and got these for me,” she laughed.
Vesile Evrim, a Turkish Cypriot who was one of the flag bearers in the graduate ceremony received a master’s degree Computer Science with a specialization in Multimedia and Creative Technologies. She, and Charalambos Poullis, a Greek Cypriot who received the same degree, were the first beneficiaries of a special fellowship program started by the dean when he was director of the Integrated Media Systems Center.
It was a memorable day for professors too. There is nothing more satisfying than to see the success of your labors. So before the platform party began their procession to the graduate ceremony, the last event of the day, they posed for a picture.