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Star Speakers Enhance Viterbi Commencements

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and USC Energy Institute Executive Director Don Paul addressed the class of 2010

May 12, 2010 —

Two luminaries in their fields — one from commercial aviation and safety, the other from energy research and development — took the podium Friday, May 14, 2010 as the USC Viterbi School of Engineering undergraduate and graduate ceremony commencement speakers.

American pilot and hero Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger will address the undergraduates. USC Energy Institute Executive Director and retired Chevron Chief Technology Officer Don Paul spoke to the graduates.

Captain Chesley "Sully' Sullenberger III spoke to the Viterbi School undergrads. (Click on the image to read a recent NPR story on his thoughts about air safety.)

Sullenberger was hailed internationally as a hero after saving the lives of 155 US Airways passengers following an emergency water landing in the Hudson River in New York. The engines of the Airbus A320 had lost thrust following a bird strike. “Captain Sully” guided the plane to a safe landing, and while the cabin took on water, saw that all passengers disembarked before exiting himself.

Sullenberger is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force, eventually attaining the rank of captain. He then became a commercial airline pilot and retired in March from a 30-year career.

Sullenberger earned his bachelor’s in psychology from the Air Force Academy. He also has two master’s degrees: One in industrial psychology from Purdue University and one in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado. (Click here for Captain Sullenberger's full biography.)

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Donald Paul addressed the Viterbi School's master's and Ph.D. graduates.
Donald Paul has spent his remarkable career at the forefront of energy research and development during his 33-year tenure at Chevron. He held a variety of positions there in research and technology, exploration and production operations and executive management. He retired in 2008 as the corporation’s vice president and chief technology officer.

It was during his tenure at Chevron that the Viterbi School and Chevron came together for the five-year collaborative research effort known as the Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies, or CiSoft.

In addition to reaching out to academia, Paul has also directed Chevron’s efforts to build cooperative partnerships with government agencies and national laboratories in energy R&D, alternative fuel infrastructure, high performance computing and cyber-security for oil and gas.

Currently he serves as the executive director of the University of Southern California Energy Institute. He also holds the William M. Keck Chair in Energy Resources.

Paul continues to serve on a number of university, public and private sector advisory boards and holds an appointment as senior advisor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Paul earned his Ph.D. in geophysics, his Master’s degrees in geology and geophysics and his B.S. in applied mathematics — all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Click here for Donald Paul's full bioraphy.)