• JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 920


Professor H K Kesavan


Professor, Engineer, Institution-Builder and Philosopher

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur


H.K. Kesavan, a professor of electrical engineering and systems theory who influenced engineering education in three countries passed away on November 26, 2014 in Waterloo, Ontario. He was 88. Professor Kesavan was born on June 14, 1926 in Bangalore, India. He received his undergraduate degrees in science and engineering from the Central College and the Government Engineering College (now called University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering) in Bangalore. He received his M.S. degree from the University of Illinois in 1956 and his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1959, both in Electrical Engineering. He was an instructor at Michigan State from 1956-1959, and assistant professor in 1959-1960. He ultimately settled in Canada, building a career in electrical engineering and doing early work to establish the field of systems design while promoting engineering education around the world.

Professor Kesavan returned to India in 1964 to take up a position in the newly established Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. He was the first chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department, the head of the nationally known Computer Centre at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur from 1964-1968, and was also its first Dean of Research and Development. The hectic activity of the initial years of the Computer Centre at Kanpur under his leadership helped ensure the pervasive influence of computers within Indian academia, and within the country at large. In 1968, he returned back to Canada to become the first chairman of the Systems Design Department at the University of Waterloo. He also influenced the design of engineering education programs in several countries and was instrumental towards the formation of Tata Research Development and Design Centre (TRDDC) at Pune in 1981 in India.

Prof. Kesavan authored an influential book on systems theory and a book on the maximum entropy principle in information theory. His penchant for writing continued throughout his life, and in his later years he published two books on the broad subject of science and spirituality, viewed from the perspective of the Hindu and Vedic traditions that he practiced throughout his life.

Prof. Kesavan was the Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Prof. Kesavan is survived by his wife of 59 years, Rajalakshmi, by his three daughters Rohini Srihari of Williamsville, NY, Anita Srinivasan of Mississauga, ON, and Kalpana Sarathy of Manhattan Beach, CA, by six grandchildren, by three younger brothers and a sister, and by many nieces and nephews.

The Institute expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Professor H K Kesavan on his demise.


Birds at IIT Kanpur
Information for School Children
IITK Radio
Counseling Service