Jack Munushian was a scientist, educator and leader. He was born in Rochester, N.Y. Munushian received a B.S. in physics from the University of Rochester in 1948 and a Ph.D., also in physics, from theUniversity of California Berkeley in 1954.
In 1957 Munushian became a part-time lecturer at USC's (University of Southern California) school of engineering. Later while holding management positions at Hughes Aircraft Co. and Aerospace Corp. he kept his job of lecturer at USC. Munushian joined the USC faculty as a full professor in the fall of 1967 and was an emeritus professor at the time of his death.
He played a major role in the development of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Munushian had a vision for a new way to educate engineers by using television. He persuaded the Olin Foundation to help the USC Viterbi of Engineering establish the Instructional Television Network (ITV) in 1972 and used his ties with Hughes, Aerospace Corp. and other Southern California aerospace companies to make ITV successful. State of the art for its time, ITV beamed graduate lectures directly from USC to numerous specially equipped classrooms located at aerospace company offices and factories throughout Southern California. This arrangement enabled working engineers to continue their education without interrupting their careers, a concept that continues today in the USC Viterbi School's Distance Education Network (DEN).
In 1988, when the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers awarded its highly coveted Major Educational Innovation Award to Munushian for his ITV achievement, the USC Viterbi School had recorded more than 50,000 ITV enrollments.
"To an extent few people realize, we at the Viterbi School live in a house that Jack built," said USC Viterbi School Dean Yannis Yortsos. "Our eminence in computer science and distance education grows directly out of his hard work and foresight."
Munushian organized USC's Department of Computer Science, now one of the USC Viterbi School's largest and strongest departments, and served as its first chair from 1972 to 1976. He also found a home for the unit in the Henry Salvatori Computer Science Center.
Jack Munushian was a resident of the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.
- USC Education Pioneer Jack Munushian Dies at 81. California Courier Online