Suzanne Nora Johnson ’79, senior director of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a USC Trustee since 1998, spoke to students at Popovich Hall April 4 in the first installment of the USC Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series.

Nora Johnson’s talk, titled “Throwing the Ball Long: Strategic Achievement vs. Tactical Success,” was about short-term (tactical) vs. long-term (strategic) decision making and action.

Nora Johnson gave examples to illustrate when one approach or the other seemed most appropriate but emphasized that individuals as well as societies must think strategically in order to accomplish their big-picture goals.

Later that evening, the USC Alumni Association presented Nora Johnson with an Alumni Merit Award for her many accomplishments and service to USC.

Analyze This

Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, was honored April 1 by the Society of Petroleum Engineers with the 2008 Western North America Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award.

The award is a regional recognition intended to highlight “individuals whose contributions stand out among their peers,” according to the society’s Web site. The honor also makes Yortsos eligible for the society-wide award in the same category in the coming year.

Yortsos received the honor for significant contributions to literature in the development of analytical solutions for the description and modeling of transport processes in porous media.

Healthy and Happy

USC has won the 2008 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award from the California Psychological Association for outstanding efforts to foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance.

John Gaspari, executive director of the USC Center for Work and Family Life, accepted the honor April 3 in Anaheim at the association’s annual convention.

In addition to a written application, a site visit and review was conducted at each nominated company. USC won in the educational institution category.

Nominations were solicited through contacts with chambers of commerce, public and community radio stations, assembly and Senate district offices as well as statewide associations.

Applicants were evaluated on their efforts in employee involvement, health and safety, employee growth and development, work-life balance and employee recognition.

WiSE Choices

Four Trojans have been named recipients of the Women in Science and Engineering Merit Fellowship for Current Doctoral Students for 2008-09.

Laura Barge (Department of Earth Sciences, USC College), Hsu-Lei Lee (Department of Electrical Engineering, USC Viterbi School of Engineering), Larryn Peterson (Department of Chemistry, USC College) and Jo-Anne Ting, Department of Computer Science, USC Viterbi) are the recipients.

The fellowship is offered to current Ph.D. students at USC who demonstrate exceptional work in their field. The goal of the program is to encourage outstanding doctoral students to pursue careers in science and engineering, thereby increasing the representation of women in these fields.

Each one-year fellowship carries a stipend of $5,000 to augment a 50 percent support package from the student’s home department or the university. Candidates are nominated by their faculty adviser and endorsed by their department chair.

Using Good Judgment

A book co-written by University Professor Warren Bennis has been honored with a silver medal in the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards.

Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, was co-written by Noel M. Tichy of the University of Michigan.

Bennis and Tichy have spent decades studying and teaching leadership and advising top chief executive officers such as Jack Welch and Howard Schultz.

In Judgment, their first collaboration, the authors offer up a framework for managers and other leaders who make tough calls when the stakes are high and the right path is far from obvious.

The book, published in November by Penguin/Portfolio, was highlighted that month on, which posted an excerpt. In addition, the book was on the top 25 list for February on the Web site

Rancho Honcho

Jorge Orozco, adjunct instructor of clinical physical therapy and board of councilors member of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the USC School of Dentistry, has been appointed chief executive officer of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey.

Orozco had been serving as interim CEO since 2007.

Rancho is one of four hospitals run by Los Angeles County and has been a leader in rehabilitation medicine for more than half a century.

Orozco began a 19-year career at Rancho as a physical therapist in 1989 and was promoted to chief of rehabilitation therapy in 2001. In 2005, he was named chief operating officer with responsibility for oversight of all facility operations.

He has been a faculty and a board of councilors member at USC physical therapy since 2002.