Logo: University of Southern California

Yannis Yortsos Named Dean of the Viterbi School

Search committee considered over 200 candidates for the position during the eight-month decanal search.

May 22, 2006 —
Dean Yannis C. Yortsos
Yannis C. Yortsos, who had been serving as dean on an interim basis since June 2005, has been named permanent Dean of the University of Southern California Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering.  The announcement was made by Provost C. L. Max Nikias on behalf of President Steven B. Sample.
His appointment comes at a symbolic time with the school celebrating its centennial. Effective June 1, it is the culmination of an eight-month international search in which the search committee identified and reviewed more than 200 candidates for the position.
“Yannis Yortsos has shown tremendous leadership skills since arriving at USC,” Sample said.  “He is a world-class scholar who understands the Viterbi School's limitless potential, and he also understands how to mobilize the school's faculty, students, alumni and staff to fulfill that potential.”
Provost Nikias said: "Professor Yortsos has won acclaim for describing what the 'new engineer' of the 21st century must look like.  He has argued that the future of engineering -- as well as that of other disciplines that seek to impact our world -- will require a ‘seamless blending of left-brain and right brain skills,’ which necessitates creative alliances between engineers and counterparts in other sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and the arts."
Nikias, who co-chaired the international search with Brian Hendersoln, dean of the Keck School of Medicine at USC, said that Yortsos has laid out ambitious strategies to enhance the school's profile as an elite institution, by building additional strength and diversity within the school's faculty and student body, continuing aggressive fundraising efforts, and furthering ongoing efforts to build global partnerships that offer new possibilities for education and research. 
Yortsos is a distinguished and internationally known chemical engineer who has held the Chester F. Dolley Professor of Petroleum Engineering since 1975. He is highly regarded for innovative work in chemical engineering relating to the mechanics of fluids in porous media, and in petroleum engineering relating to oil recovery.  He earned a diploma in chemical engineering from the National Technical University in Athens, Greece.  After coming to the United States for graduate work, he earned an M.S. and a Ph.D.  in chemical engineering from Caltech.  
Yannis C. Yortsos, Steven B. Sample, and C.L. Max Nikias
From 1991 to 1997, Yortsos chaired the Viterbi School's Department of Chemical Engineering. He served as the Viterbi School's associate dean and then senior associate dean for academic affairs during the four years that Nikias served as dean.  When Nikias was named to the post of USC Provost, he immediately tapped Yortsos to serve as dean for an interim period.  
During his time overseeing the Viterbi School's academic affairs, Yortsos facilitated an impressive overhaul of the undergraduate curriculum, and the school enjoyed significant gains in student strength and in the quality of academic programs for freshmen. 
He also presided over the merging of two departments -- chemical engineering, including its petroleum engineering program, and materials science – that now form the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, named when alumnus John Mork (BSPE ’70) endowed it with a $15 million gift.  Alumnus Ken Klein (BS BMEE ’82) established the Klein Institute for Undergraduate Engineering Life also during the period that Yortsos served as dean for an interim period.  
"I am humbled and honored to be named Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering,” Yortsos said in accepting the position.  “The school has become a global leader in innovations in engineering, and I am thrilled to be part of its future enhancement and growth.  In this century, engineering will flourish in exciting new areas that require interdisciplinary research and teaching, and alliances across disciplines and across the globe. I am convinced that with the continuing, unparalleled help of our friends, the Viterbi school will reach new heights of excellence in creating new paradigms of engineering education and research.”