When it comes to the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue, Professor Mysore Dayananda (MSMSE '61, PhD '65) wrote the book.
For the school's 50th anniversary, he drafted a nearly 300-page volume chronicling the events that shaped MSE 's first five decades.
He had a unique vantage point from which to record the school's history, since he observed it firsthand. Dayananda arrived at the University as a graduate student in 1958, the year before the founding of the school. He chose Purdue because his advisor at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, recommended he work with Reinhardt Schuhmann Jr., an internationally recognized leader in the field of thermodynamics who helped to found the School of Materials Engineering.
Dayananda began his journey at Purdue with a trip around the world. He arrived in West Lafayette on his first visit to the United States after a monthlong voyage by boat from Bombay (now called Mumbai) to the United Kingdom, a flight from the UK to New York and a train ride from New York to Indiana.
In the years that followed, he completed his studies and became a faculty member at Purdue in 1966, contributing to the growth of the School of Materials Engineering.
He made new discoveries in the field of multicomponent diffusion, like the phenomenon of zero-flux planes and flux reversals, and developed new analytical procedures for the determination of interdiffusion coefficients over various concentration ranges with a single diffusion couple. He also served in leadership positions, including as the associate head of the school (2005-07).
More than 50 years ago, Dayananda chose to leave Bangalore and study at Purdue because of the opportunity to learn from professors like Schuhmann and Richard Grace. In turn, he has played a similar role for other graduate students, mentoring more than 50 students through their MS and PhD programs.
Last year, Dayananda learned about the Graduate Education Challenge Match, a program to establish endowments in support of graduate education. Because the University matches each gift 1:1, the challenge match provided an opportunity to double the impact of his contribution.
"Graduate students are the future in the making; their research can have global impact," Dayananda says. "I am indeed grateful to Purdue for the opportunity to participate in their graduate endowment program."
Dayananda's gift established the Dr. Mysore A. and Prema K. Dayananda Fellowship in Materials Engineering and builds upon his personal commitment to Purdue students.
As his former student Yongho Sohn put it, "He truly cares about the success of those around him, whether they are students, researchers, or teachers."
Sohn is now a professor at the University of Central Florida. When he reflects on his time as a graduate student at Purdue, one memory in particular stands out. During a summer session, he and Dayananda conducted research together until the professor suggested a new approach.
Sohn should take a break from the lab, head to the library and begin a literature review with readings from the 19th century.
At the time, Sohn didn't understand the purpose of the exercise. But he now credits the assignment as shaping his future research, including a successful proposal to the National Science Foundation for the NSF 's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty.
Sohn's story is just one of many from students who have benefited from Dayananda's mentorship and his expertise about the history of materials, from research over centuries to the decades since the founding of MSE.
Perhaps for the School of Materials Engineering's 100th anniversary, a new book will be drafted to record the next five decades of the school's history. Its pages will recount the achievements of graduate students in the years ahead, and woven through their stories will be the contributions of Professor Mysore Dayananda, who helped lay the foundation for their accomplishments.
To support this scholarship, please make check payable to the Purdue Foundation and designate to the "Dr. Mysore A. and Prema K. Dayananda Fellowship in MSE." Mail to the Purdue Foundation, 403 W. Wood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2007.