Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the USC Viterbi Naming

Twenty year ago, Andrew Viterbi, cofounder of technology powerhouse Qualcomm and inventor of the Viterbi algorithm, and his late wife Erna made the largest naming gift to an engineering school in history at that time. In the two decades since, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering has reached new heights of academic excellence.

At age 22, Andrew Viterbi’s photo appeared on the cover of Life magazine, together with several of the members of the JPL team who had tracked the Explorer 1 satellite signal in order to validate that it had achieved earth orbit, as the U.S. answer to Sputnik.

Andrew and Erna Viterbi were engaged in 1957, the same year he began his Ph.D. journey at USC. They married the following year.

On March 2, 2004, Erna and Andrew Viterbi, joined by then USC President Steven Sample (left), and then Dean C.L. Max Nikias (right), named the school for the first time in its nearly 100-year history.


At a February 29 event celebrating the 20th anniversary, Andrew Viterbi (seen here with Dean Yannis Yortsos and USC President Carol Folt) was honored by 170 USC Viterbi students, friends, faculty and staff.