USC Viterbi School of Engineering Announces 2017 Commencement Speakers

| May 3, 2017

Speakers for May 12th ceremonies include Andrew Viterbi, Megan Smith and Vibhu Mittal

Photo Credit: USC Viterbi

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering satellite commencement ceremonies will take place on Friday, May 12, 2017, following USC’s main commencement ceremony. There will be three separate ceremonies featuring three distinguished speakers. All ceremonies will be streamed live on the respective undergraduate and graduate-level commencement pages.

 Undergraduate Satellite Commencement Ceremony

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Andrew Viterbi, Co-founder of Qualcomm and Presidential Chair Professor, USC

Time: Friday, May 12, 2017, 10:45 a.m. Pacific Time

Location: Epstein Family Plaza (tickets required)

Streaming at

About Dr. Andrew Viterbi:

Dr. Andrew Viterbi, a USC trustee, earned his doctorate in electrical engineering at USC. In 1967, he invented “The Viterbi Algorithm,” a mathematical formula to eliminate signal interference, which paved the way for the widespread use of cellular technology and wireless communications. The Viterbi Algorithm has been widely employed, from satellite broadcast TV receivers to mobile phones, in speech recognition and computer search engines, data terminals and deep space telemetry.

A co-founder of Linkabit in 1968 and Qualcomm in 1985, Dr. Viterbi led the development of innovative technologies based on code division multiple access (CDMA).

His numerous awards and honors include the NAE Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering, the IEEE Medal of Honor and IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, the National Medal of Science, the Marconi International Fellowship Award, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering, as well as eight honorary doctorates. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 2004, the USC School of Engineering was named as the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in honor of Dr. Viterbi and his late wife, Erna.

Andrew Viterbi studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned SB and SM degrees in 1957, and at the University of Southern California (USC), where he completed his PhD in 1962.

Master’s Level/Graduate Ceremony (for master’s candidates in Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Astronautical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Green Technologies, Industrial & System Engineering, and System Architecting & Engineering)

Keynote Speaker: Megan Smith, 3rd United States Chief Technology Officer, Entrepreneur, Engineer

Time: Friday, May 12, 2017, 3 p.m. Pacific Time

Location: The Galen Center

Streaming online at:

About: Megan J. Smith

Megan J. Smith served as the 3rd United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to President Obama in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). In her role, Smith and her team helped the President and the Administration harness the power of data, innovation and technology on behalf of the American people. Her work included adding senior tech talent to policy tables for collaboration on topics from Artificial Intelligence and Federal Open Source to Precision Medicine; collaborations on broad capacity building in open data, open government, and data science; and supporting programs like the Presidential Innovation Fellows, GSA’s Tech Transformation Service, the U.S. Digital Service and more. She helped co-create many public-private programs like TechHire, ComputerScienceforAll, Image of STEM, Data Driven Justice, Police Data Initiative, inclusive entrepreneurship and tech, local community solutions innovation and ActiveSTEM.

Prior to her role as U.S. CTO, Smith served as Vice President of New Business Development at Google, managing early-stage partnerships across the company’s global engineering and product teams for nine years. She also led acquisitions of Google Earth, Maps and Picasa, and GM-ed’s engineering transition adding Google Crisis Response, Google for Nonprofits, Earth Outreach/Engine and increased employee engagement. Later, she served in the leadership team of Google[x] where she co-created SolveForX and Women Techmakers.

Smith has focused in her career on innovative solutions for humanity’s challenges as CEO PlanetOut in the early days of the Internet working towards LGBTQ inclusion, at General Magic on teams designing early smartphone technologies and at Apple Japan. She is an advisor to the MIT Media Lab, Vital Voices, and the Malala Fund, which she co-founded. Over the years, Smith has contributed to a wide range of engineering projects, including an award-winning bicycle lock, space station construction program and solar cook stoves. She was a member of the MIT student team that designed, built and raced a solar car 2000 miles across the Australian outback. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she completed her master’s thesis work at the MIT Media Lab.  Today she serves as a life member of the Corporation (board) of MIT and has recently been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

Master’s Level Commencement Ceremony for Computer Science and Informatics Programs

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Vibhu Omprakash Mittal, Chief Executive Officer of Edmodo

Time: Friday, May 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Location: Shrine Auditorium

Streaming online at:

About Dr. Vibhu Omprakash Mittal

Dr. Vibhu Mittal is the CEO at Edmodo, a global education network aimed at connecting students and teachers. Previously, he was the CTO at Edmodo after they acquired his company, Root-1, in 2013.

Prior to founding Root-1, Dr. Mittal was a senior scientist at Google for nine years. While with the company, he worked on initiatives such as Google Scholar and Google Translate, and co-founded the Google India Engineering Center. Prior to Google, he was a member of the adjunct research faculty in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University, a senior scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, USC Viterbi, Ohio State University, and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Dr. Mittal earned a BTech in computer science for the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1986, an MS in computer science from Ohio State University in 1987, and a PhD in computer science from USC Viterbi in 1993. He is a member of the USC Viterbi Department of Computer Science Advisory Board.

Dr. Mittal is married to Dr. Sujata Banerjee, a distinguished technologist and director of the Networking Systems Research group at Hewlett Packard Lab, who earned a PhD in electrical engineering from USC Viterbi in 1993 as well. Dr. Banerjee is a member of the USC Viterbi Department of Electrical Engineering and Corporate Advisory Boards.

About the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Engineering Studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift in 2004 from alumnus Dr. Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm that is now key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications. Consistently ranked among the top graduate programs in the world, the school enrolls more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students, taught by 180 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 73 endowed chairs and professorships.



Published on May 3rd, 2017

Last updated on May 3rd, 2017

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