January 21st, 2020

First confirmed U.S. COVID-19 case in Washington state.

March 10th, 2020

USC announces a temporary shift to online classes for the week after Spring Break.

March 11th, 2020

In a day where COVID-19 became real for many Americans, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announce positive tests and the NBA suspends its season, following a bizarre Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game ending moments before tip-off.

March 15th, 2020

First confirmed USC student tests positive (not on campus). Dean Yannis Yortsos’ memo follows: “effective tomorrow, and until further notice, all non-essential office functions at Viterbi will be minimally staffed, with most work done remotely and on-line.”

“On March 15, 2020, in the vocabulary of the many-world theory of quantum mechanics, the ‘wave function’ collapsed, and, essentially, we collectively moved overnight to another world, the COVID world.”

— Yannis C. Yortsos, dean, USC Viterbi School of Engineering

March 19th, 2020

California issues statewide
stay at home order.

April 7th, 2020

USC Viterbi partners with the National Academy of Engineering on a national “Call to Action,” to identify and support engineering solutions for the global pandemic.

May 15th, 2020

USC commencement online. USC Viterbi celebration features special guests Andrew Viterbi, Ming Hsieh, Larry Ellison, Academy Award- winning actor Geena Davis, actor Jack Black and Megan McCarthy from NIAID.

September 10th, 2020

Dean Yortsos returns to the (online) classroom, kicking off the 11-part “Viterbi vs. Pandemics!” lecture series. The free program immerses students in cutting edge, COVID research from USC Viterbi researchers.

December 11th, 2020

the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

May 14-20th, 2021

USC returns to in-person graduation at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — for the first time in 71 years! — for 2020 and 2021 graduates.

“In this historic commencement event, today, we are celebrating the passage to a new world, one you are going to shape like no other graduating classes have before.”

— Yannis C. Yortsos, dean, USC Viterbi School of Engineering