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USC Honors 7 for Their Achievements

left to right: Leonard M. Adelman, Peter A. Jones, Edward E. Lawler III, Alexandra M. Levine, Michael A. Arbib, George A. Bekey, Richard A. Easterlin

The career achievements of seven faculty members have been recognized with the conferring of the title “distinguished” or “university” professor, bringing the total to 20 USC faculty members who have been so honored.

The four new distinguished professors are Leonard M. Adleman, Peter A. Jones, Edward E. Lawler III and Alexandra M. Levine.

The three university professors are Michael A. Arbib, George A. Bekey and Richard A. Easterlin.

Provost Lloyd Armstrong Jr. recently notified the seven of the honors, among the highest academic recognitions bestowed by the university. The title of “Distinguished Professor” is awarded to faculty members who have brought special renown to the university through their accomplishments. “University Professor” is conferred on faculty members whose multidisciplinary interests and major accomplishments in several disciplines qualify for an appointment that transcends any single field of study.

Armstrong will introduce the new appointees at the March 7 Academic Honors Convocation.


Adleman, holder of the Henry Salvatori Chair in Computer Science, has made pioneering discoveries in cryptography, the theory of prime numbers, computer viruses and the solution of mathematical problems using DNA molecules.

In his DNA research, Adleman solved a simple example of a well-known computational problem by encoding mathematical structures in molecules of DNA and carrying out computational steps in a test tube using standard techniques from molecular biology. Adleman has also made major contributions to cryptography, where his RSA Algorithm has been universally adopted as an encryption standard. He coined the term “computer virus.”

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Adleman has been at USC since 1980.


Jones, holder of the H. Leslie Hoffman and Elaine S. Hoffman Chair in Cancer Research, has directed the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1993. He is a leader in basic cancer research.

Jones and his research colleagues have shown that DNA methylation changes occur during aging and human carcinogenesis, leading to further investigations of drugs to treat cancers. With USC colleague Donald Skinner, he has made several original discoveries relating to the molecular genesis of bladder cancer.

Jones joined the USC faculty in 1977. He previously served as associate dean for academic and scientific affairs in the Keck School of Medicine and director for basic research and director of the Urological Cancer Laboratory at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Lawler, a professor of management and organization, is founder and director of the Center for Effective Organizations in the USC Marshall School of Business, one of the nation’s leading management research organizations.

The author of 28 books and more than 200 articles, Lawler is an expert on the creation of high-performing work organizations, through such elements as strategic pay, worker motivation and employee involvement. Work force magazine has named him one of the 25 top visionaries shaping today’s workplace, and Business Week has called him one of the six top gurus in the field of management.

Lawler came to USC in 1978. His most recent book is “Tomorrow’s Organization: Crafting Winning Capabilities in a Dynamic World” (Jossey-Bass, 1998).


Levine is chief of the Keck School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology and medical director of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. A fellow of the American College of Physicians, she is an expert in hematological cancers and the clinical diagnosis and treatment of HIV-associated lymphomas.

Levine has published more than 150 articles and 50 book chapters on her specialties. She began her AIDS research in 1981, focusing primarily on cancers related to AIDS, and more recently on HIV disease in women. She worked with Jonas Salk in the development and testing of a therapeutic AIDS vaccine.

President Clinton appointed her to the Presidential HIV/AIDS Advisory Council in 1995. Keck School graduating classes have selected her for three Outstanding Clinical Professor Awards and three appearances as commencement speaker. Levine won a Presidential Medallion in 1994, the highest award bestowed by USC.

She has previously served as executive associate dean of the Keck School.


Arbib, a professor of computer science and biological sciences, is also a professor in the departments of biomedical engineering, biological sciences, electrical engineering, and psychology. He is director of the five-year, $5 million USC Brain Project, which is creating a federation of computer databases to link different areas of brain research.

Arbib, who came to USC in 1970, created the School of Engineering’s Center for Neural Engineering. He has written or co-authored 20 books, edited the “Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks,” and published more than 200 papers on topics ranging from computer science to neuroscience, language and philosophy. Arbib has contributed significantly to automata theory, control theory, neural networks, theoretical computer science, computer languages, programming language semantics, cognitive science, robotics and cerebellar function.


Bekey, holder of the Gordon S. Marshall Chair in Engineering, has made important contributions to computer sciences, biomedical engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence.

He is also being honored for his leadership during his 37 years at USC in starting or developing several new departments. Soon after coming to USC, he organized the first School of Engineering computer laboratory. Bekey assembled the first biomedical engineering group, chaired the electrical engineering-systems department when it was new, formed the USC Biomedical Engineering Institute, led the computer science department and encouraged the Information Sciences Institute to affiliate with USC.

Bekey was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1989 for pioneering work in computer sciences contributing to biomedical engineering, man-machine systems and robotics. His current research interest is in control architectures for groups of robots and the study of gait control in legged robots.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.


Easterlin, a professor of economics, has made outstanding contributions to economics, history, sociology, demography and gerontology.

He is the founder of two prominent fields within economics – economic history and economic demography – and has been a leading force in expanding the traditional boundaries of economics into other disciplines.

Easterlin serves on the editorial boards of six journals and has written several influential books, most recently “Growth Triumphant: the 21st Century in Historical Perspective” (1996). His fields of expertise include social trends, the baby boom generation, the economic status of the young and the old, poverty rates for children, materialism among American youth and child-rearing attitudes.

A longtime fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he received the Irene B. Taeuber Award in 1993 from the Population Association of America for his contributions to the field.

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