Long-time industrial engineering professors Chandra and Ravindran to retire

Pamela Krewson Wertz
March 01, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – M. Jeya Chandra and A. “Ravi” Ravindran — two of the most beloved and respected professors in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering — will retire from Penn State following the spring 2017 semester.

Chandra, who joined the Marcus department faculty in 1980, served as the chair of the University’s operations research integrated graduate degree program. He also served as the graduate program officer for many years before stepping down in 2014.

He has more than 60 publications to his name and authored a textbook published by CRC Press in 2001 titled "Statistical Quality Control."

Chandra has also supervised more than 80 graduate theses and 15 honors theses.

He has been presented with numerous teaching and service awards during his career including: the Marcus Department Outstanding Faculty Award (1983, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2000), Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (PSEAS) Awards (Outstanding Teaching, 1986; Outstanding Advising, 1988; Premier Teaching, 1989; Distinguished Service, 2010), Penn State’s George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching (1994), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Outstanding Faculty Award from the Mid-Atlantic Region (1995) and the Penn State Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Society’s Faculty Appreciation Award (2011 and 2016).

He has been integral in the Marcus Department’s efforts to expand study abroad opportunities to industrial engineering students.

Prior to his arrival at Penn State, Chandra was an instructor at Syracuse University where he taught courses on probability, statistics and the design of experiments.

He is a member of the Institute of Management Sciences (INFORMS), the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) and the American Society for Quality Control, and has held numerous leadership roles at industry conferences and with industry publications throughout his career.

Chandra holds a doctor of philosophy degree in industrial engineering and operations research from Syracuse University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Madras University in India and his master’s in industrial engineering from Penn State.

Following his retirement, Chandra plans on serving as a consultant and teaching short courses in industry. He also plans to develop online operations research courses.

“When I retire, I will miss seeing my dear colleagues — both faculty and staff,” said Chandra. “I am so thankful for the wonderful opportunity of working with such excellent people all these years. I will also miss teaching our students, whom I consider our customers.”

The Marcus Department has established a fund in Chandra’s name in recognition of his tremendous contributions and commitment to not only his students, but to the department as a whole. For more information or to donate, visit the Marcus Department website.

Ravindran came to Penn State in 1997 following a 15-year career at the University of Oklahoma to take over as the head of the Marcus Department, a position he held until 2001.

One of his first initiatives at Penn State was to lead a University-wide effort to establish the Enterprise Integration Consortium — an initiative that continues to thrive today — in order to partner with industry and provide innovative educational opportunities for students.

Prior to joining Penn State, he served as a professor and the director of the Wireless Electromagnetic Compatibility Center at Oklahoma, and associate provost for academic affairs (1988-1995) and the director of the School of Industrial Engineering (1982-1988).

Ravindran began his academic career at the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University where he spent 13 years working his way up the ranks from assistant professor to full professor. He also served as assistant head of the school from 1981 to 1982.

He has taught operations research courses at the undergraduate level and courses in multi-criteria decision-making and supply-chain engineering at the graduate level.

“I have always loved teaching and that interaction with the students is what I will miss most when I retire,” said Ravindran. “I am really proud to have been a member of the industrial and manufacturing engineering faculty. It is a group that places a great emphasis on educating and mentoring students. Penn State is a great academic institution and I am proud to have been a member of its faculty during the last leg of academic career.”

Throughout his career, Ravindran has received numerous honors and awards, including the Fulbright Scholar Award, the Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award from the IISE, the Franz Edelman Finalist Award for Management Science Achievement from the Institute of Management Sciences, and an IISE Fellow award. He also received numerous outstanding teaching awards.

In 2013, he received the then-named Institute of Industrial Engineers/Joint Publishers Book-of-the-Year Award and the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Outstanding Teaching Award.

Ravindran has seven books and 80 refereed journal articles on operations research and the supply chain to his name. He has also supervised more than 30 doctoral dissertations throughout his career.

He is a member of IISE, INFORMS, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Operational Research Society of India and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Ravindran received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2015, a group of Ravindran’s former graduate students held an international symposium in India in his honor.

Upon his retirement, Ravindran is planning to complete the manuscript for a book he is coauthoring, titled "Service Systems Engineering and Management." He will then work on the second edition of his book, titled "Supply Chain Engineering."

“If I get an opportunity, I would love to return to the classroom and teach a class occasionally,” he added.

A fund in Ravindran's name has been established by the Marcus Department to honor his extraordinary service and dedication to his students, industry partners, and the study of operations research throughout his career. For more information, visit the Marcus Department website.

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Last Updated October 17, 2019