April 20, 2005 —
Timothy Pinkston, left, chairman of the Engineering Faculty Council,gives Dean
Nikias,right,a pen-and-clock set in recognition of his four years as dean of the
Viterbi School of Engineering.
Dean C. L. Max Nikias, who will become USC provost and senior vice president
for academic affairs June 1, thanked engineering faculty and staff for their outstanding
service during his tenure and welcomed his successor, Yannis C. Yortsos, to the
helm at the 2005 Viterbi School of Engineering Staff and Faculty Awards luncheon.
Timothy Pinkston, chairman of the Engineering Faculty Council, introduced Nikias
to the audience, which gathered April 20 in the university’s Town and Gown conference
center for the annual recognition luncheon.
Nikias saluted outgoing USC Provost Lloyd Armstrong Jr. for “all of his great
accomplishments in the last decade” and for his guidance during a three-year planning
process to draft USC’s new strategic plan. As provost, Nikias will work with
President Steven B. Sample and the USC Board of Trustees to implement the university’s
new 10-year master plan.
Before delivering his “State of the School” speech, Nikias recognized six faculty
and staff for outstanding achievements during the 2004-2005 academic year. They
o Elliot Axelband, formerly associate dean for research development and director of the Systems
Architecting and Engineering program, who received the 2005 Special Recognition
o Bhaskar Krishnamachari, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who was
awarded the Junior Faculty Research Award.
o Behrokh Khoshnevis, professor of industrial and systems engineering, who received the Senior Faculty
o Geoff Spedding, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, who received
the Northrop-Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award.
o Maja Mataric, director of USC’s Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems, who received the
o Jason Dziegielewski, digital communications manager, who received the Dean’s Award for Staff Achievement.
- 2005 Special Recognition Award
- Junior Faculty Research Award
- Senior Faculty Research Award
- Northrop-Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award
- Service Award
- Dean’s Award for Staff Achievement
Nikias recognized other faculty for their awards and accomplishments during
the past year.
Those recognized included Sandy Sawchuk, who was awarded the Optical Society
of America’s Distinguished Service Award; Ramesh Govindan, Maja Mataric and Ari
Requicha, who won Okawa Foundation grants; Todd Brun, who received a National
Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Award; and Cyrus Shahabi, who was awarded
the Presidential Early Career Award.
Also recognized were Firdaus Udwadia, elected a Fellow of the American Society
of Mechanical Engineering; Milind Tambe, who earned the Autonomous Agents Research
Award from ACM; and Hank Koffman, elected to the board of directors of the Construction
Management Association of America Foundation.
Others included Terry Landon, recipient of the Structural Materials Division
Distinguished Materials Scientist/Engineer Award for 2005; Jim Moore, who won
the Women’s Transportation Seminar-Los Angeles Chapter Diversity Leadership Award;
and Barry Boehm, who will receive the Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Finally, Timothy Pinkston received the Distinguished Alumni Award from his undergraduate
alma mater, the College of Engineering at Ohio State University, and Dan Dapkus
was honored with the 2005 Optical Society of America's Nick Holonyak Award.
“Four years ago, I began my administration by telling everyone that the key to
academic excellence was a strong and superb faculty,” Nikias said. “Thank you
for proving my point!”
He called his new job as USC provost a "priceless" opportunity.
"I love USC and all it stands for," he said. "I'm charged with helping one of
the most influential university presidents of the last half-century, Steven B.
Sample, accelerate USC onto an even higher trajectory.
"Now is the time to redouble our efforts to become an elite 21st century research
university,” he said.
Yannis Yortsos will serve as dean for an interim period.
Nikias reminded faculty and staff that the Viterbi School has been “a leader
at USC,” and that its ascent will continue under a new dean.
Yannis Yortsos, currently senior associate dean for academic affairs, will become
Viterbi School dean for an interim period beginning June 1.
“He has played a key role in all of our achievements and has been deeply involved
in the planning of our ongoing initiatives to take this school forward,” Nikias
said. “He will lead a school with the right people, plans and resources to carry
on its remarkable rise.”
For a complete transcript of the “State of the USC Viterbi School", click here