"OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!" From engineering rockets that break records to solving global crises and launching start-ups, the Class of 2019 is going places

They have endured countless tests, impossible homework, mind-twisting assignments, all in vanishingly small time intervals. They have successfully completed the most rigorous, demanding (and rewarding program) in undergraduate education at one of the nation’s best schools of engineering. But perhaps what makes this graduating class unique, besides being one of the most diverse and most accomplished in the history of engineering education at USC, is their upward and global direction. This class is going places.

Clothed with a contagious enthusiasm to make the world a better place, they "boldly go where no man has gone before" and in doing so they follow in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon; Andrew Viterbi, whose Viterbi Algorithm enables cell phone communication; Wanda Austin, former president of the Aerospace Corporation and the first female and first African-American president of USC; Apple co-founder Mike Markkula and former chief NASA administrator and astronaut, Charles Bolden.

"It feels good to close the textbooks, put down the soldering irons and look back to what we've accomplished. Thank you, my friends, for making this seem way too short."


Valedictorian, '19 Biomedical Engineering

"As parents, as educators and as mentors, we see graduation from college as the last step in launching our students into the 'real world.' Our feelings this year are even stronger, because this graduating class is the best so far! The best educated, the most representative in our history. 34 percent of the graduates here today are women! They represent the changing face of engineering for the better: What we do, who we are and what we look like."


"As you step into the court to play your great match, remember your success comes from your ability to come back from failure. think beyond yourself. I get up every morning and ask 'am i doing something to improve people's lives?"


Vice President, Product Development, Google

Congratulations to students who have earned special awards and honors

USC Renaissance Scholars Award: Jonathan Sussman, '19 Biomedical Engineering and Performance (Flute)

USC Discovery Scholar Prize: Ryland Mortlock, '19 Chemical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering) and Samantha McVety, '19 Environmental Engineering

USC Trustee Award: Rafael Maarek, '19 Biomedical Engineering

NAE Grand Challenge Scholars: 46 seniors have been recognized as NAE Grand Challenges Scholars

Archimedes Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship: Ritt Givens, '19 Biomedical Engineering

The Albert Dorman Future Leader Award: Joshua Neutel, '19 Chemical Engineering

Viterbi Award For Outstanding Achievement in Leadership: Emelia Park, '19 Civil Engineering

Viterbi Award for Outstanding Student Organization: Society of Women Engineers

Viterbi Community Impact Award for Outstanding Service: Ritt Givens, '19 Biomedical Engineering

Neighborhood Service Award: Albert Kong, '19 Mechanical Engineering

Women in Engineering Award: Natalie Khalil, '19 Biomedical Engineering

The Center for Engineering Diversity Service Award: Vanessa Pangbourne, '19 Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology)

Viterbi Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Transfer Student: Sara Stevens, '19 Industrial & Systems Engineering

Viterbi Award for Outstanding Research: Ryland Mortlock, '19 Chemical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering)

Gary Norris Promise Award: Maximilian Bui, '19 Mechanical Engineering

Forty-six students graduating as Grand Challenge Scholars

Grand Challenge Scholars drive their educational experiences towards discovering, exploring, and potentially solving one of the NAE Grand Challenges and earn recognition at graduation from USC and the National Academy of Engineering. In 2009, the NAE moved to endorse this definition of a new engineering education supplement to any engineering program that adds global awareness and social skills with a focus on the Grand Challenges to broaden the reach of undergraduate study in engineering to the global community.

Upon applying as a graduating senior, a student must reflect focus across all of these five dimensions:

  1. Talent Competency: mentored research/creative experience on a Grand Challenge-like topic
  2. Multidisciplinary Competency: understanding multidisciplinarity of engineering systems solutions developed through personal engagement
  3. Viable Business/Entrepreneurship Competency: understanding, preferably developed though experience, of the necessity of a viable business model for solution implementation
  4. Multicultural Competency: understanding different cultures, preferably through multicultural experiences, to ensure cultural acceptance of proposed engineering solutions
  5. Social Consciousness Competency: understanding that the engineering solutions should primarily serve people and society reflecting social consciousness

Fight on, graduates! We leave you with these thoughts from Dr. Seuss:

Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
You'll be on your way up! You'll be seeing great sights! You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never foget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!

(From "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss)


Victor Vic

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