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Viterbi Keynotes Awards Luncheon

Faculty and Industry Leaders Gather For USC’s 2004 Engineering Awards Luncheon

April 26, 2004 —

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.

Viterbi, a devoted scholar and teacher, urged entrepreneurs and innovators, teachers, scholars and federal and state governments to view today’s explosion of computer technology as an opportunity to invest in more Internet classrooms to reinvigorate the nation’s educational system.


Philip M. Condit , retired chairman and chief executive officer, The Boeing Company, received the Daniel G. Epstein Engineering Management Award. Condit earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1963; a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University in 1965; a master’s degree in management from MIT in 1975; and, in 1977, a doctorate in engineering from Science University of Tokyo, becoming the first Westerner to earn such a degree. Condit retired from The Boeing Company on March 1, 2004, after more than 38 years of service to Boeing in 20 assignments. Under his leadership, several mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisition of Rockwell Aerospace, the merger with McDonnell Douglas and the addition of Hughes Space and Communications transformed the company into a broad-based global enterprise.

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.

Keynote Speaker

Andrew J. Viterbi , president of The Viterbi Group, LLC, delivered the keynote address, “Education and the Information Technology Society.” A USC trustee and member of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering board of councilors, Viterbi’s company advises and invests in startup companies, predominately in wireless communications, network infrastructure and imaging. He co-founded Qualcomm Inc., a developer and manufacturer of mobile satellite communications and digital wireless telephony, in 1985. From 1963 to 1973, he was a professor at UCLA. He continued teaching on a part-time basis at UC San Diego until 1994 where he is still a professor emeritus. He currently holds the Presidential Chair in Engineering at USC. Viterbi invented the “Viterbi Algorithm,” which became the basis for international standards of digital cellular telephony, as well as most digital satellite communication systems. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MIT in 1957, and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1962 from USC. The $52 gift from Andrew and Erna Viterbi that was announced on March 2, 2004, was the largest ever naming gift to an American engineering school. The school is also host to the annual Andrew J. Viterbi Distinguished Lecture Series in Communications.

Click here for the Speech

--Diane Ainsworth