Faculty, staff, students and alums from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and local engineering leaders, gathered April 23 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel to hear a keynote address by Andrew J. Viterbi at USC’s 26 th annual Engineering Awards Luncheon.
Viterbi, a pioneer in the field of digital satellite communications, for whom the USC Viterbi School of Engineering was recently named spoke on “Education and the Information Technology Society.” The approximately 370 in attendance included industry executives, members of USC’s Board of Trustees and the Viterbi School’s Board of Councilors.
Dean C. L. Max Nikias presided over the awards ceremony, which opened with a special video presentation of Viterbi’s life. Honorees included three leaders in industry and academia: Kenneth R. Klein, A.V. Balakrishnan and Philip M. Condit. Klein and Balakrishnan are USC alumni. Condit’s leadership helped to build The Boeing Company into a leader in commercial airplanes, defense, space, information technology, financing and communications.
Viterbi discussed the profound impact of the information technology revolution on education. He called the personal computer the single most influential learning tool of the 20 th century.
Computer savvy tots and teens around the world have been motivated to read and write using this visual medium, Viterbi said. Beyond those far-reaching benefits to society, information technology should be used more rigorously to teach history, art, literature, music, science and mathematics.
Kenneth R. Klein , president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Wind River, received the Mark A. Stevens Distinguished Alumni Award. Klein has more than 20 years of experience in the software industry and is working to extend Wind River’s leadership position by expanding customer and partner initiatives. Prior to Wind River, he served for 12 years as chief operating officer and board member of Mercury Interactive, building the company into a software powerhouse with revenues approaching one-half of a billion dollars. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and biomedical engineering from USC. He also serves on the board of Tumbleweed Communications and is a member of the USC Viterbi School’s Board of Councilors.
A.V. Balakrishnan , professor of electrical engineering and mathematics at UCLA, received the Distinguished Alumni Award in Academia. Balakrishnan received his master’s degree in electrical engineering and his Ph.D. in mathematics from USC in 1950 and 1954, respectively. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1962, becoming a professor of engineering and later, a professor of mathematics. From 1969-1975, he was chairman of the department of systems science in UCLA’s engineering school. Since 1985, he has served as the appointed director of the NASA-UCLA Flight Systems Research Center. He has also been active in industry and government, working for Optimization Software, Inc., NADC UA Navy and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. Among his professional memberships, Balakrishnan is a lifetime Fellow of IEEE and a member of the International Scientific Radio Union.