Logo: University of Southern California

Master Class

USC Viterbi master’s graduates are encouraged to shape the future.
By: Marc Ballon
May 15, 2015 —

Graduating master's students at Galen Center commencement (Photo by Victor Leung)
Hailing from 40 countries, including the United States, China, India and Greece, students clad in caps and gowns gathered in the Galen Center Friday, May 15 to receive their master’s degrees from one of the nation’s premier schools of engineering.

Surrounded by proud parents, friends and loved ones, the new graduates shared hugs, laughter and joy. Among them were 57 with a perfect 4.0 GPA and 229 who earned degrees via DEN@Viterbi, USC Viterbi’s nationally top-ranked distance education program.

In his address, USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos said that the graduating student would shape the future.

Keynote speaker and venture capitalist Ram Shriram (Photo by Victor Leung)

"It will be you who will help solve the big challenges of our time, whether making solar energy competitive, securing cyberspace, addressing climate problems and enriching lives," he said.

The dean also discussed the changing nature of technology, which he defines as leveraging a phenomenon for useful purposes.

"Physical, chemical, biological, social phenomena, this is the new canvas on which engineering is painted," Yortsos said.

At the event, computer science graduate Kaveri Thakoor received the USC Order of Arete, the highest award given to graduate students for university service.

Venture capitalist Ram Shriram delivered the keynote address. Shriram, a founding board member at Google Inc., former Netscape executive and ex-Amazon officer, spoke of the need to take chances and the importance of perseverance.

“Remember that success comes frequently from fearless risk taking,” said Shriram, whom Forbes ranked in 2008 and 2009 as No. 3 on its list of “Top Tech Dealmakers.” “Years of struggle and failure often precede success, so be resilient and persistent in reaching your goals.”

He also encouraged graduates to “rewrite the rules,” while retaining their values. “What seems impossible to an earlier generation of engineers might well be a challenge you will take on and achieve a breakthrough in,” Shriram said.

USC Viterbi has increasingly won national recognition for excellence.

"U.S. News & World Report" recently ranked USC Viterbi among the nation’s top ten graduate schools of engineering. For the third year in a row, USC Viterbi placed No. 1 in the magazine’s rankings for Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs. Last summer, USC Viterbi became home to a new National Science Foundation-funded hub of innovation, one of only seven in the nation, aimed at taking high-tech research from the lab to the market.

"Congratulations and fight on!" Yortsos told the cheering graduates.

Click here to see all event images