115 Years, 115 Impactful Moments

Play USC Viterbi’s 115th anniversary trivia game, support local K-12 students

In 1905, USC offered its very first engineering courses out of the physics and mathematics departments.

One hundred and fifteen years later, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering has a name and a host of accomplishments over the ensuing 11.5 decades.

This past May, Dean Yannis Yortsos, working with USC Viterbi vice deans, chairs, and select senior faculty, sought to identify 115 amazing USC Viterbi accomplishments by faculty, students and alumni over that span of time. This list would span all eight departments, the famed USC Information Sciences Institute and various programs of the school.

This list, like many of its kind, suffers from a clear recency bias. It is by no means the definitive list of all the USC Viterbi School’s noteworthy accomplishments! However, despite these limitations, perhaps it will serve as a helpful primer on what George Bekey, USC Viterbi professor emeritus, once called the school’s “remarkable trajectory.”

Test your knowledge of these USC Viterbi “wins” in a “Who Wants To be A Millionaire”-style interactive game above.

Or, for those who prefer to dive right in…the full list of 115 accomplishments for 115 years awaits.


Astronautical Engineering

The first commercial space vehicle is launched by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in 2010, carrying a communications nano-satellite developed in part by ISI and its Space Engineering Research Center (SERC).

Similarly, in 2012, a nano-satellite designed and built at ISI and USC is launched successfully.

In 2009, USC became the first and only university to offer bachelor, master and doctorate degrees in astronautical engineering.

In April 2019, the USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, became the first student group to launch and recover the world’s first entirely student-designed and fabricated rocket into outer space.

Traveler IV reached 340,000 feet and set the student world altitude record.

Professor Mike Gruntman was a member of the IBEX spacecraft team that in 2008, for the very first time, mapped the interstellar frontier of the solar system.

Twelve USC Viterbi alumni have journeyed beyond Earth’s atmosphere as NASA astronauts.

These include: Charlie Bolden, former NASA administrator, who flew on four space shuttle missions; and Nancy Currie-Gregg, who flew in four space shuttle missions, accruing 1,000 hours in space. In addition, Professor Garett Reisman spent 95 days aboard the International Space Station after which he returned to Earth aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2008. Professor Paul Ronney, now AME department chair, was selected as an alternate payload specialist astronaut. His experiments flew on two Columbia Space Shuttle missions in 1997 (the mission he was backup for) and one in 2003.