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.


Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


In 1922, Maude Milnes, a civil engineer, became the first woman to receive a USC engineering degree.


In 2009, Professor Costas Sioutas and his team played an integral role in in saving Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper,” from Milan’s air pollution by developing state-of-the-art aerosol technologies to assess the toxicity of particulate matter air pollution.


After the devastating Northridge earthquake in 1994, USC civil engineers, including Professor Victor Weingarten, developed new finite element techniques to simulate steel-and-concrete, beam-column structural connections and their potential failure, a real benefit to developers.


In 1970, the same year that the Nixon administration created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USC Engineering lauched the Environmental Engineering Program, among the first programs of its type in the country


In 1998, Costas Synolakis, founder of the USC Tsunami Research Center (TRC), and his team developed cutting-edge tsunami modeling software used by leading government agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA for real time operational warnings. Most tsunami hazard maps in the western US were produced by the same technology.


In 1908, USC awarded a degree in civil engineering, its first engineering degree.