General (Ret.) Ellen M. Pawlikowski Named Judge Widney Professor at USC

Pawlikowski, nationally recognized as a leader in science and engineering, joined the USC Viterbi School of Engineering faculty in fall 2019.

Photo: Shauna Kato

This fall, Gen (Ret.) Ellen M. Pawlikowski became a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California (USC). The title is named for one of USC’s founders, Judge Robert Maclay Widney, and reserved at USC for eminent individuals from the arts, sciences, professions, business, and community and national leadership.

Pawlikowski, who is currently a member of the Raytheon Company Board of Directors, served for over 40 years in the military, reaching the rank of four-star general, only the third woman to achieve the highest rank in the Air Force.

She has a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. General Pawlikowski’s career has spanned a wide variety of technical management and leadership positions.  In her last assignment, she served as the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  General Pawlikowski oversaw all Air Force technology development, aircraft systems and sustainment, and installation management, leading 80,000 people with an annual budget of $60 billion.  She is nationally recognized for her leadership in the science and engineering community, is a member of the National Academy of Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

“General Pawlikowski is an extraordinary person who has dedicated her life to serving her country.  Her contributions in science and engineering are equally impressive,” said USC President Carol L. Folt. “I am excited about the role she will play in the formation of the next generation of military leaders by engaging with USC’s ROTC programs, and share her experiences with our student veterans as they transition to civilian leadership roles.”

At the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, she co-teaches a Systems Architecting and Engineering (SAE) course with Professor Azad Madni, with a specific emphasis on systems architecting case studies.  She also teaches the systems architecting and engineering case studies course. While on campus, she plays a role in the formation of the next generation of military leaders by engaging with USC’s ROTC programs, and sharing her experiences with USCs student veterans as they transition to civilian leadership roles.

“We are delighted to welcome General Ellen Pawlikowski to our faculty,” said Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.  “Her expertise in complex systems and in the architecting of new processes will be of invaluable help to our educational and research endeavors. Her remarkable accomplishments make her an outstanding role model for all our students.”

General Pawlikowski said of her appointment: “I am delighted and honored to join the Trojans!  I look forward to sharing my experiences with the students in Viterbi School and help prepare them to face the complex technical and engineering challenges of today’s hyper-connected world.  I also appreciate USC’s long-standing commitment to student veterans and the ROTC programs and I’m looking forward to engaging with those students in the fall. ”

Added Madni, the Systems and Architecting Engineering program director: “The SAE Program prides itself in bridging systems theory and practice. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski’s background and experience will be invaluable in bringing real world case studies into the classroom.”