IN MEMORIAM: Professor Vaidyanadhan V. Krishnan


V.V. Krishnan

Professor Emeritus of Engineering Vaidyanadhan V. Krishnan (known as Krish) passed away on Nov. 17 in India. An excellent tennis player in his younger years, Krishnan remained relatively healthy and active before his final days. While visiting his sister in India, he had a fall and suffered an injury to the spine. He was unable to overcome complications resulting from his spinal surgery. His beloved wife, Judy, was with him. The University has lost a wonderful mentor, a magnificent teacher, and a fantastic colleague. His love for his profession and the people around him was simply exceptional. Krishnan will be remembered fondly, and his friendly presence will be missed by many people.

Krishnan earned his BTech and MTech degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UC Berkeley, all in mechanical engineering. He was appointed to a faculty position at SF State in 1970 and served the University for 42 years until his retirement in 2012. His teaching areas were in systems, computer modeling and simulation, process instrumentation, and control. His research interests were mainly in modeling and statistical analysis of biological systems. He established the Process Control and Instrumentation Lab, the first SF State engineering laboratory funded entirely by industries. For Krishnan, teaching was a lifelong passion and helping students to achieve more than their own expectations was a lifelong mission. He appreciated the diversity of the student body at SF State and often went out of his way to help disadvantaged students. His visit to Kathmandu University in Nepal in the spring of 2011 as a Fulbright Scholar was another example of his devotion to helping deprived individuals. Even after his full retirement, he continued to volunteer as an advisor to undergraduate students. Always kind, patient and supportive, he was well loved by his students and colleagues.

Besides teaching and conducting research, Krishnan served as a director of the School of Engineering as well as in the Academic Senate and many University-, college-, and school-level committees. He was a key member guiding the School of Engineering through several transformations and maintaining its continuous national accreditation throughout his entire tenure. Usually upbeat and cheerful, Krishnan was people oriented and had many friends on campus and beyond. He always had time for “coffee” when colleagues needed some professional or personal advice, guidance or simply to vent/chat.

Krishnan had a unique mind. For entertainment and relaxation he would do multi-digit long division and multiplication in his head while taking a bath. He rarely went to movies but he would digest movie reviews so that he could carry out knowledgeable conversations about most movies. An on-campus commemoration of Krishnan’s life will be planned once his wife, Judy Ann Stamps, professor emerita of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, returns to the Bay Area.