USC President Steven B. Sample became the 108th Eminent Member of
Eta Kappa Nu (HKN), the national honor society for electrical and
computer engineering, on Oct. 31 in a noontime celebration in the
Ronald Tutor Hall Dean’s Boardroom.
Sample, an electrical engineer, was honored by 40 fellow Eta Kappa Nu
members, including about two dozen USC student members. Also attending were USC trustee
Malcolm Currie and and USC alumnus Marcus Dodson, who are also Eminent Members. Sample was honored for his extraordinary
leadership skills as 10th president of the University of Southern
Martersteck, HKN national president, right, congratulates USC President
Steven B. Sample on becoming an Eminent Member of Eta Kappa Nu, an
honor society for electrical and computer science engineering students
“It’s wonderful to be with my fellow Eta Kappa Nu members,” Sample said
in accepting the award. “That Eta Kappa Nu had its roots at my
alma mater — the University of Illinois — makes this award specially
“Eminent Member” status is Eta Kappa Nu’s highest membership
classification for electrical and computer engineers. The honor is
conferred by the HKN Board of Governors upon those whose attainments
and contributions to society through leadership in engineering have
resulted in significant benefits to humankind.
HKN Executive Director Robert M. Janowiak said, "Steve Sample
epitomizes the best in academic leadership, especially in further
developing USC's School of Engineering to a level of national
preeminence. His presidential tenure has resulted in substantially
increased research programs."
Under Sample’s leadership, USC conducted the most successful
fundraising campaign in the history of higher education raising nearly
$3 billion. Spurred by this momentum, the USC Viterbi School of
Engineering raised $200 million in the first half of a seven-year
fundraising initiative. Investing $150 million annually in research
expenditures, the school ranks at or near the top in research funding
per tenure-track faculty member. The school's graduate program
consistently ranks in the top 10 — and top five among private schools —
in U.S. News & World Report
Sample said becoming an engineer was among the “four or five best
decisions I’ve ever made…because it cultivates skillful analysis,
creativity and judgment.”
“Engineers are in the business of solving problems and expanding human
potential,” he told the audience, which included about two dozen USC
engineering students who are members of the honor society. “I
know that the analytical skills and the desire to solve problems that
I’ve cultivated as an engineer have certainly made me a better
He said it was exciting to see USC in the vanguard of pursuing solutions to some of society’s most pressing problems.
“Globalization is being driven, to a certain extent, by engineers,” he
said. “It is outstanding leaders, advisors, alumni, professors and
students such as you who are enhancing not only the stature of our
engineering profession but also USC’s stature as an academic and
Steven Sample poses with members of Eta Kappa Nu during his induction
into Eminent Member status in the honor society.
Sample became the 10th president of USC in March of 1991. The
university's first holder of the Robert C. Packard President's Chair,
Sample is also an electrical engineer, a musician, an outdoorsman, a
best-selling author, and an inventor.
In February of 1998, he was elected to the National Academy of
Engineering for his contributions to consumer electronics and
leadership in interdisciplinary research and education. Sample has also
contributed to countless journal articles and published numerous papers
in science and engineering and higher education.
Sample earned his bachelor of science, master of science and Ph.D.
degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign in 1962, 1963, and 1965, respectively. He has received
honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame (2005),
Northeastern University (2004), the University of Nebraska (1995),
Purdue University (1994), Hebrew Union College (1994), the University
of Sheffield, England (1991), and Canisius College, Buffalo (1989).
Sample has also received a number of awards from civic organizations
and educational institutions, including the Chancellor Charles P.
Norton Medal from SUNY Buffalo, a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the
Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and
the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the National Conference for
Community and Justice.
Eta Kappa Nu is a 100-year-old honor society for electrical and
computer engineering students and professionals which recognizes
excellence in academic accomplishments, leadership, outstanding
character, and service. The society includes four Nobel Prize
winners and a history of more than 200,000 members and 200 university