Stellar Group of Scholars and World-class Faculty Honored

Provost Michael Quick and Dr. Sean Curran

USC has a singularly stellar group of scholars and world-class faculty with an endless pursuit for excellence and each year it is with great pride that I am able to congratulate the honorees of our university’s Annual Academic Honors Convocation.

This select group of students and faculty are at the forefront of teaching, learning, and cultivating cutting-edge research and discovery that is impressive and deserves our recognition. And while we as an academic community can become accustomed to these notable and outstanding academic achievements, it is something that we should take pause to truly celebrate. Please join me in paying tribute to the deserving recipients of this year’s 38th Annual Academic Honors Convocation.

To begin with, I’d like to extend my sincerest congratulations to Sean Curran who received the Provost’s Mentoring Award.  It is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Curran who has been conducting important research on aging.  Each of Dr. Curran’s PhD’s have gone on to postdoctoral work and every individual who has completed training within his postdoctoral research group has subsequently secured an independent research appointment.

Our impressive undergraduate and graduate students were honored as well, including Joycelyn Kay Yip, the president of the Graduate Student Government and recipient of the Rockwell Dennis Hunt Award.  This scholastic honor is given to USC graduate students whose undergraduate degree is also from USC. It has been my honor to get to know her and to work with her on many important initiatives.

In addition, the Emma Josephine Bradley Board Award, recognizing graduating senior women who have attained the highest grade point average and contributed the most extracurricular service to the university, was handed out to four extraordinary students: Alexandra Gershman, Taylor Whittemore, Lamisa Hasan, and Madeline Zheng.

Also, with great pride, I’d like to mention the USC Provost Award given to the graduating senior transfer student who has attained the highest grade point average of all students for the period of his or her course of study.  One of my key initiatives has been to promote access and opportunity to higher education for all deserving students, which, of course, includes our transfer students.  During my time as Provost, we have been enrolling more transfer students than any other elite private college.  Therefore, handing out this award is particularly meaningful because it is proof positive that our active outreach and large financial aid pool is attracting the best and brightest transfer students.

The year’s highest honor, the Presidential Medallion was awarded to USC Board of Trustees member Jane Harman, former congresswoman from California, and current president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and was also awarded to Rossier School of Education and Viterbi School of Engineering Professor John Brooks Slaughter, former head of the National Science Foundation, and distinguished scholar with more than 25 honorary degrees and awards including the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Award. Both have been strong advocates for our university and believe strongly in our mission.

I would also like to extend my sincerest gratitude to our 2019 Distinguished Professors: Kelvin J. A. Davies, USC James E. Birren Chair of Gerontology, Dean of Research, and Director of the Andrus Gerontology Research Institute who has been awarded some 15 honorary doctoral degrees and professorships from European, American, and Asian Universities; Maja J. Mataric, USC computer scientist and roboticist, and the Chan Soon-Shiong Chaired Professor of computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics and Vice Dean for Research, who was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; and Manual Pastor, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, and  recipient of the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year and Champion for Equity awards.

In addition, I would like to congratulate our 2019 University Professor Andrew P. McMahon, W.M. Keck Provost Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Biological Sciences, Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center, who has been elected fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization and the Royal Society.

Below you will find a list of other honorees.  It is a just another reminder of how USC continues to be a dynamic and influential intellectual community.  Thank you for your everyday excellence on behalf of our university.

Other honorees included:

Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Richard A. Easterlin
  • Guilbert C. Hentschke
  • Marcel E. Nimni
  • Joel Schechter

Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award

  • Emily Hodgson Anderson
  • Enrique Martinez Celaya
  • Adrianna J. Kezar
  • Steven J. Ross

USC Provost’s Award

  • Lauren Fatoorechi
  • Lucas Gelfen
  • Siwei He
  • Campbell Mattrix
  • Jackson Reinhardt
  • Viktoriya Shumakova
  • Sara Stevens
  • Joseph W. Teplicky

USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Elissa Grossman
  • Oussama Safadi

USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship

  • Shrikanth Narayanan
  • Berislav Zlokovic

USC Associates Award for Artistic Expression

  • Andrew Norman
  • Jennifer West

–Michael W. Quick, April 11, 2019