Logo: University of Southern California

Celebrating Success

The 2015 Faculty & Staff Awards showcases excellence at USC Viterbi.
By: Marc Ballon
May 05, 2015 —

John Slaughter, recipient of the Dean's Faculty Award for Service, and Dean Yannis Yortsos
An enthusiastic crowd of about 275 gathered April 29 in Town and Gown to celebrate this year’s school achievements and individual excellence at the annual Faculty & Staff Awards Luncheon.

At the event, USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos and other senior administrators honored the following faculty and staff achievements:

  • Jerry Mendel - Senior Research Award
  • Noah Malmstadt - Junior Research Award
  • Andreas Molisch - Use-Inspired Research Award
  • Jean Michel Maarek - Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Sven Koenig - Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching and Education
  • John Slaughter - Dean's Faculty Award for Service
  • Dana Morita - Dean's Staff Early Award Career Award
  • Lizsl De Leon - Dean's Staff Award for Excellence
  • Sudha Kumar - Dean's Staff Award for Service

Furthermore, Dean Yortsos talked about how the school wants “to change the conversation about engineering, to change culture.”

Specifically, the dean discussed USC Viterbi’s partnership with the National Academy of Engineering and “MacGyver” creator Lee Zlotoff to hold a global idea competition that could lead to the next great engineering TV series. Except this time the engineering superhero, the “Next MacGyver,” will be a woman.

Although 33 percent of USC Viterbi’s undergraduates are women compared to a national average of 18 percent, Yortsos said, “We want more. To me, diversity is not a political slogan; it is an essential ingredient for opportunity and innovation.”

The dean also shared several recent school highlights: 

• For the third year in a row, USC Viterbi was listed No. 1 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs.
• Last summer, USC Viterbi became home to a new hub of innovation — one of only seven in the nation — aimed at taking innovation from the lab to the market. A three-year, $3.5-million grant from the National Science Foundation created an I-Corps Node centered at USC, in a close partnership between USC Viterbi and USC Marshall, with UCLA and Caltech as outside partners. This places USC at the center of the emerging technology ecosystem in Southern California.
• USC Viterbi’s graduate program is among the nation's top 10, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings.
• USC Games, a unique collaboration with the USC School of Cinematic Arts, was named the No. 1 games program by The Princeton Review for the sixth consecutive year.
• For the fourth consecutive year, the USC computer programming team won first place in the "Pac-12 South" computer programming competition, beating UCLA and Caltech, among other universities.
• In late March, President Obama was presented with a letter of commitment, signed by 122 universities and colleges, pledging to educate a new generation of engineers in the NAE Grand Challenges, with a goal of 20,000 students in the next decade. That news comes just a few years after USC Viterbi, Duke University and the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering emerged as the three founding schools of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program.
• As part of the university’s $6 billion campaign, USC Viterbi’s share of $500 million is probably the largest goal in the history of any engineering school anywhere. To date, the school has raised nearly $275 million, putting it more than halfway there.

The dean went on to celebrate noteworthy faculty achievements, including:

• In the past decade, 10 members of the USC Viterbi faculty were elected to the NAE, among the highest honors in the engineering profession.
• Terry Sanger and Jim Weiland were named AIMBE Fellows.
• Daniel Marcu and Kevin Knight were named Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) Fellows.
• Daniel Lidar became an IEEE Fellow.
• John Slaughter received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

At the event, distinguished faculty and staff received awards recognizing their important contributions to USC Viterbi. Here are the winners of 2015 Viterbi Faculty and Staff Awards (Andreas Molisch, winner of the Use-Inspired Research Award, could not attend the event.):


(L-R) Dean Yannis Yortsos and Jerry Mendel, recipient of the Senior Research Award
(L-R) Dean Yannis Yortsos; Noah Malmstadt, recipient of the Junior Research Award; and Vice Dean for Research, Maja Matarić
(L-R) Stuart Linsky, vice president at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems; Jean Michel Maarek, recipient of the Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award; and Vice Dean for Academic Programs, James Moore
(L-R) Dean Yannis Yortsos; Sven Koenig, recipient of Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching and Education; and Vice Dean for Academic Programs, James Moore
(L-R) Vice Dean for Administration, Linda Rock; Dana Morita recipient of Dean's Staff Early Award Career Award; and Dean Yannis Yortsos
(L-R) Dean Yannis Yortsos; Lizsl De Leon, recipient of Dean's Staff Award for Excellence; and Vice Dean for Administration, Linda Rock
(L-R) Sudha Kumar, recipient of Dean's Staff Award for Service; and Dean Yannis Yortsos

  To View More Images Click Here