Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi School Honors Industry Leaders at 30th Annual Engineering Awards Ceremony

May 11, 2008 — The USC Viterbi School of Engineering celebrated a legend in the field of microwave communications – Simon Ramo, whose last name signifies the “R” in TRW – and outstanding professionals from industry and from USC at its 30th annual Viterbi Awards Banquet, held May 8 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
USC President Steven B. Sample, left, and Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, right, present Simon Ramo with the first-ever Viterbi School Lifetime Achievement Award. (Steve Cohn photo.)

Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos presided over the dinner and reception, which included a special Lifetime Achievement Award given to Ramo, co-founder of TRW, Inc., which later merged to become the Northrop Grumman Corp.

Ramo's career spans 70 years and several areas of endeavor. As a scientist and engineer, he obtained the Ph.D. degree magna cum laude from the California Institute of Technology at age 23, then went on to become a General Electric scientist.  He achieved world recognition as a pioneer in microwaves, which are extremely high radio frequencies fundamental to radar and advanced communications, and developed GE's electron microscope. Before age 30, he had accumulated 25 patents, was made a fellow of the American Physical Society and several other major professional societies, and was voted as one of America's "most outstanding young electrical engineers."

Ramo became one of the nation's top experts in guided missiles, first as the director of the Falcon guided missile program for air defense and later as the chief scientist for the nation's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program. As the leading civilian contributor to this "largest single program in the country's history," he was awarded a special citation of honor by the Air Force.
James Hooker, executive director of University Events, center, presents Ramo and his wife with a birthday cake.  (Steve Cohn photo.)

Celebrating his 95th birthday at the same time, Ramo is also a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering.  USC President Steven B. Sample and Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos presented him with the first-ever Viterbi School Lifetime Achievement Award during the opening presentation and video of his career. He thanked the Viterbi School for the honor, but joked that the school should check back with him if it ever decided to Issue a post-lifetime achievement award.    

The Daniel J. Epstein Management Award went to Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D. and founder, chairman and CEO of Abraxis Bioscience, LLC, for his industry leadership and exemplary professional accomplishments and contributions to the field of management.
Patrick Soon-Shiong

Soon-Shiong is a noted research scientist as well as a physician and surgeon and has devoted his career to developing next-generation technology to enhance the medical care of patients with life-threatening diseases, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. He  performed the world’s first encapsulated islet transplant in a diabetic patient and developed the nanoparticle delivery technology upon which the cremophor-free form of paclitaxel compound known as ABRAXANE® is based. The FDA approved ABRAXANE in January 2005 for treatment of advanced stage metastatic breast cancer and it is being developed for lung and melanoma cancers.

Katherine Crothall (BSEE '71, PhD EE '76), a distinguished alumna and principal of Liberty Venture Partners, was honored with the Mark A. Stevens Distinguished Alumni Award. The award, established in 1978 in tandem with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Awards, is presented to a Viterbi alumnus and industry leader in recognition of her/his exemplary professional accomplishments and in acknowledgement of exceptional contributions to the field of engineering.
Katherine Crothall

Crothall heads up a venture fund focused primarily on health care. Prior to joining Liberty, Crothall was founder, president, and CEO of Animas Corporation (NASDAQ: PUMP), a leading manufacturer of insulin infusion pumps located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. In February 2006, Animas was sold to Johnson and Johnson. Prior to founding Animas, Dr. Crothall was founder and CEO of two other successful medical technology companies.

Crothall holds over 20 patents and is the recipient of several awards, including the Greater Philadelphia Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003 and the Raymond Rafferty Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in 2004. She is also a director of several private companies.
The awards ceremony was held in the Le Grande Trianon Room of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  (Steve Cohn photo.)

This year's event was supported by six gold and silver corporate sponsors: Northrop Grumman, Chevron, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, The Aerospace Corporation and Raytheon. In addition to corporate participation, two anonymous donors sponsored tables for Viterbi School engineering students who aspire to become Industry leaders in the 21st century.