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Enter the Dragon: Luck, Water and a Side of Spring Rolls

Viterbi students celebrate the 2012 Chinese New Year
Adam Smith
January 31, 2012 —


For the first time in 60 years, the water dragon has returned.

During a celebratory dinner last Monday at the Doheny Library, many Viterbi Chinese undergraduate students, senior faculty and staff were joined by Dean Yortsos to usher in the 2012 Chinese New Year — the year of the dragon.

In his remarks to students, Yortsos said: “The year of the dragon is supposed to be the luckiest and most powerful year of the Chinese zodiac. We certainly think that it will be the year of Viterbi!”

LUNAR NEW YEAR IN LOS ANGELES: Dean Yannis C. Yortsos (center) is joined by Viterbi undergraduate students, senior faculty and staff in a celebratory dinner. With nearly 2,000 Chinese students at USC, many at USC Viterbi, the university continues to be attract more international students than any American university.

Noting the USC Viterbi-lead blurring of cultural boundaries, Yortsos reflected on iPodia — Viterbi’s distance-learning platform that uses immersive video to unite top faculty and students from multiple universities.

“Just last spring, for example,” Yortsos noted, “we offered — through iPodia — the first ever joint class between the USC Viterbi School, Peking University and Taiwan National University: a remarkable collaboration of students between one island, two continents and three premier universities. This exchange, culminating in a three week, in-person visit to Beijing, where all three universities worked together late into the night, debating innovation, had an atmosphere I likened to kindergarten meets Google.”

The next step, he said, is to add additional partners from all over the world.

Attending the event were also Professor Joe Qin, USC Viterbi’s vice dean of academic initiatives in East Asia and China, Louise Yates, senior associate dean for admissions and student affairs, and Professor Stephen Lu of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Professor Lu is also the director of the iPodia program.

With over 7,000 international students — including nearly 2,000 Chinese students — USC once again has the largest population of any American university. They hail from 111 countries and all continents, with the exception of Antarctica.