National, December 08, 2022 – Yannis C. Yortsos, Dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) recently completed a three-day trade and academic mission to India – his first since before the pandemic in 2019. Dean Yortsos led officials from the highly-ranked private engineering school to restore the annual tradition to meet in-person with the school’s India Advisory Board, a combination of renowned Indian business leaders, as well as connect with prestigious alumni and prospective students. In addition, the school held its annual joint lecture series with Indian accelerator Axilor Ventures to cultivate innovation among startups and future entrepreneurs.
With more than 13,000 international students currently enrolled, USC ranks as one of the very top universities in the United States in attracting international students. In particular, students from India number 2,590 (20% of international total) and have grown a remarkable 31.5% since the Fall 2019 pre-pandemic figure. Most notably, the Viterbi School of Engineering comprises almost 2,000 Indian nationals, the greatest concentration of Indian students on the university’s diverse campus.
The delegation from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering included Dean Yortsos, Vice Dean for Global Academic Initiatives, Dr. Cauligi “Raghu” Raghavendra, and Senior Associate Dean for Admission & Student Engagement, Kelly Goulis.
About his return to India, Dean Yortsos said, “I am thrilled to come back to collaborate in person with our Indian friends and colleagues in innovation. We look forward to continuing our alliance with leading scholars, engineering educators and researchers to take on the world’s biggest challenges, which are bigger than one country, one university or one person. As we have all learned in recent years, issues related to health and sustainability know no borders, and we must face them together.”
Solving the world’s grand challenges has been a passion for Dean Yortsos, who co-developed the Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) to re-imagine 21st century engineers. In May 2022, Dean Yortsos received the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize, the nation’s most celebrated award for engineering education, for his role in co-creating the program.
Another major achievement recently announced by Dean Yortsos while visiting Mumbai and Bengaluru was the $35 million gift to name the Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering, one of the largest such naming gifts for an individual biomedical engineering department in U.S. history. The gift will allow the department to spearhead advancements across the integration of engineering and medicine, and feature bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs that will appeal to Indian students. This announcement from November 2022 follows the school’s groundbreaking of the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Building, which is planned to open in 2024.
These milestones and more to come were shared by Dean Yortsos to the USC Viterbi School of Engineering India Advisory Board, whose members read like a who’s who of Indian powerbrokers, including:
- Srinath Batni (Chair), Director and Co-founder, Axilor Ventures Pvt. Ltd.
- Srinivas Chinamilli, Co-founder and CEO, Tessolve
- Ashok Das, Founder and CEO, Sun Moksha
- Ananth Krishnan, Executive Vice President and CTO, Tata Consultancy Services
- Priyanka Mittal, Director, KRBL
- NR Narayana Murthy, Founder, Catamaran Ventures, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Infosys
- Ranjit Nair, CEO, Germin8 Solutions
- N. Narendra, Founder and Managing Director, Vinyas Innovative Technologies
- Shriram Nene, CV Surgeon, Healthtech Innovator, Founder and Investor
- Nitin Sharma, Co-founder and General Partner, Antler India, Global Web3 Lead, Antler
- Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon
- Kumar Sivarajan, CTO, Tejas Networks
- Sandeep Tandon, Chairman, Tandon Group of Industries
- Gautam Y. Trivedi, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Nepean Capital LLP
- Rajan Vasa, Managing Partner, Gujarat, KPMG India
Beyond meeting with the USC Viterbi India Advisory Board and USC alumni and families, known as the “Trojan Family,” USC Viterbi co-hosted with Axilor Ventures its annual lecture series. The event is a showcase and open dialogue in which scholars, innovators and entrepreneurs from India and the United States gather to share new advances in science, technology and engineering, and push ideas forward. Dr. Ananth Krishnan, Executive Vice President and CTO, TCS, spoke on the topic of “Building Greater Futures with Innovation and Collective Knowledge,” while Kalyan Sivasailam, Co-founder and CEO, 5C Network, discussed AI in healthcare.
Dr. P. Vijay Kumar, Honorary Professor, ECE Department, IISc, USC Viterbi alumnus and emeritus professor at USC Viterbi School of Engineering, discussed his involvement in designing the spreading code for NaviC’s L1 Signal. The final lecture of the evening was focused on the Indian start-up scene from Nitin Sharma, Co-founder and General Partner, Antler, and an alumnus of the USC Viterbi School.
“The complex problems that surround us require not just entrepreneurship but also innovation that is inter-disciplinary,” said Ganapathy Venugopal, Co-founder and CEO, Axilor Ventures. “The USC-Axilor lecture series is an attempt to bring together innovators and a diverse audience to spark conversations on topics that demand such solutions.”