Eberhart Rechtin, a USC Viterbi School professor emeritus who had academic appointments in three departments and who also received an honorary degree from USC, was a giant in the Aerospace industry and a creative force in the academic realm. Through his leadership the USC Viterbi School established an innovative graduate program in Systems Architecting and Engineering that has emerged as a national model for collaborative engineering education and distance learning.
Professor Rechtin played a key role in the development of U.S. space technology and had a storied career in government and industry even before joining USC. He headed a 1960s JPL group that included several future Viterbi School faculty. Prof. Rechtin and several other team members were elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
In 1987 he joined the USC faculty and created the Systems Architecting and Engineering Program. The program provides graduate engineers and engineering managers with the advanced knowledge and skills necessary for the conception and implementation of complex systems. The program emphasizes the processes by which complex systems are conceived, planned, designed, built, tested and certified.
Systems engineering is changing the very nature of industrial and systems engineering, and Prof. Rechtin’s initiative placed the Epstein Department at the field’s leading edge. In addition to writing much of the literature defining systems architecting, Eberhardt Rechtin was a superb teacher who never failed to inspire students and colleagues. Today, the SAE Program is one of the Epstein ISE Department’s largest degree programs.