Yannis C. Yortsos

Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering



Yannis C. Yortsos is the Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Zohrab Kaprielian Chair in Engineering, a position he holds since 2005. Prior to that he served from 2001 to 2005 as Associate Dean and then as Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Yortsos joined the USC faculty of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in 1978. He served as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering between 1991 and 1996. Since 1995 he also holds the Chester Dolley Professorship.

He received a BS (Diploma) degree in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and MS and PhD degrees from the California Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering. His research area is in fluid flow, transport and reaction processes in porous media with specific application to the subsurface.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, where he has also served as secretary, vice-chair and chair of Section 11. Since July 2017, Yortsos serves as a member of the NAE Council. In 2011 he was awarded the distinction of honorary member of the AIME, in 2013 he was elected as Associate member of the Academy of Athens, in 2014 he received the Ellis Medal of Honor and since 2017 he holds an honorary degree from Tsinghua University.

He was on the peer review team for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Disposal and served on the NRC Committees for the 2017 report on a New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research as well as the 2017 report on The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities. He currently serves a member of the NSF Engineering Advisory Committee.

As dean of engineering, he articulated in 2008 the concept of Engineering+, positioning engineering as the enabling discipline of our times, and has been actively engaged in the effort to “change the conversation about engineering”. Along with colleagues at Duke University and Olin College, he co-founded in 2009 the Global Grand Challenges Scholars Program, now adopted by many universities in the US and overseas. He organized and hosted at USC in Fall 2010 the NAE Second Grand Challenges Summit, which spurred in 2013 the Global Grand Challenges Summits. These are bi-annual meetings of the NAE, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, on the organizing committees of which he has continuously served.

Between 2012 and 2017, Yortsos was the chair of the Diversity Committee of the Engineering Deans Council, in which capacity he has spearheaded an engineering diversity initiative, now adopted by more than 210 engineering deans nationwide. In recognition of these initiatives, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering received in 2017 the ASEE President’s Award, and was one of the four engineering schools nationwide that received the ASEE Award for Excellence in Veterans in Engineering.

Yortsos is the PI of the NSF I-Corps Innovation Node Los Angeles, established in 2014 as a partnership between USC, Caltech and UCLA.

Between 2011 and 2017 he served on the Executive Committee of the Engineering Deans Council (2011-2017) and on the Executive Committee of the Global Engineering Deans Council (2012-2016).