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FacStaff Awards

Outgoing Dean C. L. Max Nikias recognizes faculty, staff for extraordinary efforts and welcomes his successor, Senior Associate Dean Yannis Yortsos, to the helm

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 were:

o Elliot Axelband, formerly associate dean for research development and director of the Systems Architecting and Engineering program, who received the 2005 Special Recognition Award.

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 Research Award.

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 Service Award.

o Jason Dziegielewski, digital communications manager, who received the Dean’s Award for Staff Achievement.


Elliot Axelband - 2005 Special Recognition Award

Bhaskar Krishnamachari - Junior Faculty Research Award

Behrokh Khoshnevis - Senior Faculty Research Award

Geoff Spedding - Northrop-Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award

Maja Mataric - Service Award

Jason Dziegielewski - 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 at USC. 
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.
--Diane Ainsworth