Clemson IE student’s parents presented with degree

May 29, 2015


Sivakami Palanimuthu and Anantha Chandra Bose Shanmughavel – parents of Sunanth Anand

Sivakami Palanimuthu

Graduation day is an emotional day for the families of all graduates.  For most, it’s a day to honor student achievements as our graduates begin the next chapter of their lives.  For Sivakami Palanimuthu and Anantha Chandra Bose Shanmughavel, the parents of industrial engineering alumnus Sunanth Anand, this year’s graduation ceremony was a difficult and poignant experience.

Less than two months earlier, on March 20th, Sunanth was killed in an automobile accident near Minneapolis, Minnesota, while interning as an industrial engineer for a local company.  Because of his academic achievements at Clemson, Sunanth was posthumously honored with a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering this May.

Sunanth’s parents were invited by the College of Engineering and Science and the Department of Industrial Engineering to receive his degree in person.  Not only did they travel from India to attend these ceremonies and see the campus in person, but they also had the opportunity to visit with the Clemson Indian Students Association (CISA) and see first-hand the inclusive culture at Clemson that gained so much from Sunanth while he was here.  Dean Anand Gramopadhye presented the parents with Sunanth’s official Clemson University diploma, while Professors Rajendra Singh (the CISA advisor) and Cole Smith (the IE department chair) offered condolences and remembrances of Sunanth’s time at Clemson.

Sunanth’s untimely death was part of a very difficult spring for the IE family, as the department saw two industrial engineering students killed in unrelated motor vehicle accidents in less than a one-month span. On April 5th, Clemson economics graduate and industrial engineering Ph.D. student, Da Deng, was killed in a motorcycle accident near Ashville, North Carolina.

Puneeth Kalavagunta

Puneeth Kalavagunta

Venkatramanan Chanchapalli Madhavan

Venkatramanan Chanchapalli Madhavan

During the 2015 Honors and Awards Week, the Department of Industrial Engineering awarded the Sunanth Anand Memorial Award to two IE master’s students.  Mr. Venkatramanan Chanchapalli Madhavan and Mr. Puneeth Kalavagunta were both selected to receive this award for their academic excellence, positive spirit, resilience, and leadership characteristics.

Because of the tragic losses this past spring, Clemson’s IE department has decided to permanently establish awards that embody the spirit of what Sunanth and Da brought to Clemson.  The Clemson Industrial Engineering Student Memorial Award is being created with a gift of $1,000 in memory of Industrial Engineering students who passed away while working on their degrees at Clemson University. The purpose of the fund is to honor undergraduate and graduate Industrial Engineering students who have exhibited excellence in academic performance, positive spirit, resilience, and leadership.  The Industrial Engineering Student Development Award is a $1,000 grant to an IE doctoral student, which will be used by the recipient to foster advanced professional development and community-building programs, such as workshops on resume-building, presentation skills, job searches, and mentoring.  Both Sunanth and Da will be memorialized in the description of these awards, and their legacies will be celebrated by the elite students who receive these newly established honors.