Edited By: Damini Solanki
Last Updated: March 25, 2023, 11:13 IST
Dr Kuppahalli, who graduated in engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 1966, spent several years working in the US
He dedicated himself to the task at 75 years of age, refusing any special treatment for his seniority
Bengaluru professor Prabhakar Kuppahalli has been an academic all his life. For four decades, he taught students, wrote research papers, and published his work in reputed Science journals. So far, he had done all this without the prefix “Dr” attached to his name. Now, at 79, this Bengaluru resident and longtime professor has achieved a decades-old dream– earning a PhD in material science. He dedicated himself to the task at 75 years of age, refusing any special treatment for his seniority. Within a couple of years, he had acquired the crowning jewel of his career.
Dr Kuppahalli, who graduated in engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 1966, spent several years working in the US. Here, he earned his Masters from the University of Pittsburg. Having spent fifteen years abroad, he returned to India. Earning a PhD “was a long-cherished dream. Though I had planned it when I was younger and working in the US, it did not come about because of unavoidable circumstances. When I turned 75, I decided to give it a go,” The Times of India quoted him as saying.
The decision to pursue this challenging degree came in 2017. Dr Kuppahalli joined the PhD programme at Bengaluru’s Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, an institute where he was (and is) a visiting professor. Throughout his studies, the professor refused to let his age hinder his progress.
He also declined any special concessions. “I can recall that during the coursework exam, which is a three-hour assessment, considering his age, the department had provided him with a comfortable chair. But Prabhakar refused any preferential treatment and used the normal chair, just like the other candidates,” said Manjunatha Pattabi, head of the university’s materials science department.
At the 41st annual convocation of Mangalore University, Dr Kuppahalli proudly received his PhD in material science. He credits his success to his guide, mechanical engineering professor R Keshavmurthy, who encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Keshavmurthy spoke highly of Dr Kuppahalli’s research skills, noting that although he was a visiting faculty member without a PhD, nobody could beat him in research.
His story serves as a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to chase one’s dreams, no matter how long the odds may seem.
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