Kudos for Kumar

K.S.P. Kumar arrived in the United States in 1959 with only $300

and a penchant for electrical engineering. This fall, he'll retire

after a distinguished University career spanning four decades and

nine leadership posts, including his current job as IT's associate

dean for academic affairs.

Known to most people by his initials or the nickname "Pat"- Kadaba

(his ancestral village in India) Srinivasa (his father's middle

name) Prasanna (his real first name, which means "serene") Kumar

has also served the University as director of the Control Science

and Dynamical Systems Center, acting head of the departments of

electrical engineering and computer science, director of UNITE Instructional

Television, director of the graduate program in electrical engineering

and computer science at the University of Minnesota Rochester, and

as IT's associate dean for external relations.

Born in Tumkur, India, in 1935, Kumar earned advanced degrees in

India before coming to America in 1959 to study electrical engineering

at Purdue University, where he earned a master's degree in 1961

and a doctoral degree in 1964.

Later that year he joined the University of Minnesota's electrical

engineering faculty as an assistant professor, earning promotions

to associate professor in 1967 and to professor in 1971. An accomplished

scholar, he has studied adaptive control, system identification,

Kalman filtering, robotics, and control of transportation systems.

He has supervised to completion 18 doctoral students and more than

50 master's students. He has more than 70 publications in journals

and conferences.

Kumar has been a tremendous asset to the college, both as a faculty

member and a leader, says IT dean H. Ted Davis. "I've always slept

well knowing that Pat is managing academic affairs in the dean's

office. In his hands, things are always done before the deadlines,

and they're always done right."

Of all his accomplishments, Kumar says his current position as

associate dean for academic affairs has provided the greatest rewards.

"My job has been to serve faculty and students and take care of

their needs," he says. "I take that very seriously." In this role

he has overseen the promotion and tenure process as well as faculty

development and recognition programs.

But successfully guiding IT through three rounds of accreditation

by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

is Kumar's crowning achievement.

Colleagues say the unflappable Kumar tackled ABET accreditation

with the same enthusiasm and positive attitude that defined his

entire career. Those precepts will be part of his legacy, says Davis,

who calls Kumar a "user-friendly" dean.

"My approach to any job is to do the best I can with the resources

I have and to have fun doing it," says Kumar. "If you don't have

enthusiasm for a job, it's not worth doing."