Logo: University of Southern California

Dorit Hochbaum Installed in Epstein Chair

April 22, 2011 —

Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, Dorit Hochbaum, Daniel J. Epstein, and USC Provost and Senior Vice President Elizabeth Garrett
Dorit Hochbaum, a renowned operations research expert, was formally installed in the new Epstein Family Chair by USC Provost and Senior Vice President Elizabeth Garrett. Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos presided over the ceremony, which was attended by benefactor Daniel J. Epstein and his wife Phyllis.

Hochbaum said she “has found a wonderful intellectual home at USC,” singling out its interdisciplinary focus: “It is simple to work across departmental and disciplinary lines, and I love working with colleagues inside and outside the department.” She also praised Epstein as “a great asset to the department!”

In the installation, Garrett noted that the first known endowed chair was in 1502, when “Margaret of Richmond, mother of Henry VII, established the Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity at Oxford University,” but that the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius had funded lectureships in the second century A.D.

The provost, aided by the dean, revealed a full-sized chair that had been draped in linen to cap the installation ceremony.

Daniel J. Epstein and Dorit Hochbaum
Epstein, who is chairman of the ConAm Group one of the nation's largest apartment management/owners, downplayed his generosity. He attributed his gift to the persuasiveness of former engineering dean and current USC President C. L. Max Nikias who Epstein said had suggested funding two endowed chairs. “You can’t turn Max down,” he said adding, “whatever success I had was due to graduating from USC and the engineering department.”

Epstein received his B.S. from USC in 1962 and named the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2002. He said an important academic mission was to “find the true leaders in the field.”

Hochbaum was described to be a game-breaker and a superb addition to the faculty. The first chair he endowed was filled six years ago by Sheldon Ross. Both Ross and Hochbaum were recruited to USC from UC-Berkeley.   

Dorit Hochbaum
Hochbaum received her Ph.D. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and is an honorary doctorate of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.  She is a fellow of Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. She held faculty positions at Carnegie Mellon University, and then at UC-Berkeley. She joined USC as Daniel Epstein chair at the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2010. She served in the past as the chair of the management science group at Haas School of business, as area editor for Management Science, and in various prize committees and on editorial boards.

Her research interests include discrete optimization, algorithms' design and complexity, coping with NP-hardness, clustering, pattern recognition, data mining and image segmentation.

Also attending the ceremony were USC Vice President for Research Randolph Hall, ISE Department Chair Stan Settles and former Chair James Moore; Computer Science Department Chair Shanghua Teng, and USC Women in Science and Engineering Chair Leana Golubchik; Sheldon M. Ross, the holder of the the Epstein Chair and Hochbaum's husband Aaron.