Introducing Thanassis Rikakis as Dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy

Message to USC Iovine and Young Academy Faculty, Staff, and Students

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

On behalf of President Folt, I am pleased to announce that we will welcome Dr. Thanassis Rikakis as dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, effective August 23, 2021.

Dr. Rikakis will join us from Virginia Tech, where he is professor of Bioengineering, professor of Performing Arts, and co-leads the Virginia Tech Carilion Smart Rehabilitation Lab and the Interactive Neurorehabilitation Lab. He is the founding director of the Calhoun Discovery Program (CDP) and director of the Calhoun Center for Higher Education Innovation – both of which exemplify his visionary leadership and dedication to developing new education paradigms to prepare students to be creators and leaders in the ever-shifting world of the 21st century.

Prior to establishing the CDP, Dr. Rikakis served as Virginia Tech’s Executive Vice President and Provost and has held leadership positions at Carnegie Mellon University, where he founded the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) network; Columbia University; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece); and Arizona State University where he was the founding director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. His leadership in establishing new educational programs builds upon his research interests which include systems design, engineering, and the arts with a special focus on interactive neurorehabilitation, adaptive learning, experiential media, and cyber-human intelligence. His groundbreaking work has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and National Endowment for the Arts, and a range of industry partners. His publications span the fields of computing, engineering, health, education, design, and the arts. Additionally, Dr. Rikakis has composed 30 original music compositions that have been performed internationally.

Dr. Rikakis joins us as the second leader of IYA which represents a new model in higher education and serves as a home base for passionate, creative, cross-disciplinary students. In arts and design, business, engineering, technology, and communication, IYA faculty, staff, and students are leaders in visualizing and achieving solutions collaboratively, and in deep engagement with communities.

We extend our gratitude to the IYA Dean Search Committee, co-chaired by Willow Bay, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Executive Vice Provost Elizabeth Graddy; we also thank Dean Bay for her service as IYA interim dean. Our search benefitted from the advice of an advisory group of friends of IYA and from the guidance of IYA co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young.

Please join President Folt and me in welcoming Dr. Rikakis, his wife, Dr. Aisling Kelliher, and their children to the Trojan Family. We look forward to working with him to support IYA’s continued evolution as a global leader at the intersection of creative industries.

cc: Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President