Skip to Content

### Celebrating Exceptional Scholars at USC’s Academic Honors Convocation

USC’s exceptional scholars, including both faculty members and students, took center stage at the university’s Academic Honors Convocation held on Tuesday night. This annual event serves to underscore USC’s identity as a vibrant community of scholars.

President Carol Folt, addressing the audience at the Town and Gown ballroom on the University Park Campus, expressed her admiration for the students and faculty members who are not only pursuing personal enlightenment but also striving to make a positive impact on humanity.

Describing the attendees as “multihyphenates,” she proceeded to highlight the remarkable achievements of three distinguished scholars being recognized that evening. These included an undergraduate student engaged in aiding refugees in Mexico and the Middle East, a PhD candidate dedicated to combatting online misinformation, and a Grammy-nominated faculty member nurturing aspiring musicians.

During the ceremony, Professor of the USC School of Cinematic Arts was honored with the USC Associates Award for Artistic Expression. Townsend, a versatile figure in the realms of directing, writing, producing, and acting, joyfully accepted the accolade with a dance to the stage, much to the amusement of the audience.

The convocation was attended by a diverse audience comprising faculty, students, families, and guests, with some honorees participating remotely. Notable among them was Giancarlo Ceja, the recipient of the Luce Scholarship, currently conducting research in Australia on the impact of the climate crisis on marginalized communities.

Another remote attendee, Lisa Tchitchkan, one of USC’s 2024 salutatorians and a Phi Beta Kappa honoree, was acknowledged for her contributions to [ppp0]a volunteer organization that facilitates medical translation services for patients facing language barriers in healthcare.

In contrast, James D. McColl III, USC’s other 2024 salutatorian, was present at the event. Known for his advocacy work benefiting USC and the Los Angeles community, McColl has established two nonprofit organizations supporting local arts programs and assisting formerly incarcerated individuals in securing employment.

The recognition extended to USC’s 2024 valedictorian, Asna Tabassum, who has demonstrated a deep commitment to biomedical engineering and resistance to genocide studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, immigration, and literacy in shaping healthcare services, alongside active community engagement.

Additionally, the Provost’s Mentoring Award was bestowed upon , the director of the newly established USC School of Advanced Computing. Praised for his inclusive mentorship approach, Sukhatme has played a pivotal role in fostering diversity within the USC Viterbi School of Engineering faculty.

The event also featured the presentation of faculty lifetime achievement awards to esteemed retired professors, acknowledging their significant contributions to USC and beyond.

President Folt concluded the ceremony with a sense of immense pride in the accomplished students and faculty members, expressing confidence in their ability to drive positive change through their scholarly pursuits.