On Teacher's Day, September 5, 2020, IIT Bombay announced their proposed plan to institute the 'Prof. S. C. Sahasrabudhe Award for Teaching Excellence' in honor of a professor who inspired many of us to reach for our very best. SCS, as he was known to most of us, passed away suddenly on December 28, 2019 in Pune, India.
Prof. Sahasrabudhe taught innumerable IIT-B students during his time at IIT-Bombay, from 1971-2003. He was also the Ph. D guide for those Ph. D students lucky enough to be advised by him, and a very generous mentor to all of us who sought his time and opinion as our careers grew. In addition to the role of a faculty member in the Electrical Engineering Department, Prof. Sahasrabudhe played many roles during his time at IIT: Chair of the EE Department, Deputy Director of IIT-B, and briefly as Acting Director. IIT-B recognized his contributions with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Everyone who has ever tried to meet him in his office is aware that SCS was not known for an ability to sit still! He served as the Chief Technological Officer (CTO) at Global Telesystems Ltd. for a few years after retirement from IIT. He then returned to academia as Director of the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DAIICT) in Gandhinagar, where he began many new projects, including the institution of an academic minor in computational science and an incubation center to encourage entrepreneurship. He never lost his special connections with the IITs: under his leadership, DAIICT mentored the new IIT at Vadodara, becoming the first private institute to mentor one set up by MHRD. He served on the Board of Governors for IIT-Mandi as well, and on the Finance Committee at IIT-Gandhinagar. Additionally, he served on the Executive/Governing Councils of Central University of Gujarat and Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
In spite of his many hats as an administrator, he continued interacting with students; students recall his ability to walk out of the Deputy Director's office, into a classroom, straight to the blackboard. He was also strongly committed to engineering education in India, and gave a considerable amount of time and energy to the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), advising institutions on how to achieve accreditation for their engineering programs.
For his students, though, the administrative roles feel trivial when compared to his personal impact on hundreds of us. His eyes always sparkled when it came to talking about technical material, and he always seemed to possess a bottomless source of energy and warmth. Intellectual discovery felt important when one was in his presence, and he never let you sit back and rest on your laurels. When it came to career advice, he expected that you would always do the right thing by your conscience, nothing less. So this entire package felt possible: it was possible to be really smart, really warm, and do the right thing. His successes were recognized by professional societies, he was Fellow of IEEE and IETE.
As India aspires to a more prominent leadership role in global technology, we need inspiring teachers such as SCS, who offer students the intellectual challenges they came looking for to the IITs. We write this to celebrate SCS' achievements and to thank all those who contributed to the Award. Your enthusiasm to contribute was heart-warming; we barely sent out a couple of emails each. Without your willingness to contribute, this award would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the staff, both in India and in the US, who did the work behind the scenes, and Dean (ACR) Prof. Suhas Joshi for putting it all together. We take this opportunity to ask all who remember SCS to take a few moments to contribute to the memoir in preparation by October 18, 2020. Please email your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org