Dr. Ebenezer Jeyakumar was my Professor at Government College of Technology (GCT), Coimbatore. He passed away on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. I met him even before joining GCT when I got introduced to him by a Director at DOTE (Director of Technical Education) in Tamil Nadu, India. I remember our first conversation when I met him along with my Dad. He was very kind and smiling. Dr. Ebenezer Jeyakumar recommended that I choose GCT. Then, I did not know that he was a Professor at GCT and did not keep in touch with him.
A professor who was a humble leader
Later on campus, I did find out that he was a Professor and I did not think he would remember me. However, he spotted me and ensured I did well. There were many Karthik’s in the class. In one of the classes, I vividly remember him asking a question and asked Karthik to answer. I did not know the answer and did not stand up. A smarter Karthik stood up. However, he called again with my full name (Karthik Chidambaram) and asked me to answer. I stumbled and was nervous. However, he helped me answer the question.
I remember another instance where there was a campus event and he recognized that I was playing an important role in coordinating with the guests. I was dressed up in a suit, sitting in the 3rd row. He called me to the first row and made me sit right next to him. It made my day and felt special.
A professor who treated his students like professionals
Post GCT I decided to do my Master’s in the States and needed to get recommendation letters from professors. Usually, it is a process in which you submit the letters and wait for a few weeks for the Professors to review. I was pressed for time as I had to mail the letters to the US before the application deadline. I traveled to Coimbatore to meet with Dr. Ebenezer and he treated me very well. He understood that I was pressed for time, did not make me wait, and got the entire process done in less than an hour. Again, he made me feel very special.
I also spoke to him while in the US and whenever I visited India. One of his biggest assets is his command over English. It was a treat to watch him speak in the class. More than anything, all the students used to attend his classes to better their language skills.
If he had not provided me the recommendation letter on time I may not have been able to apply to the Master’s program. It was a small thing for him, however a big one for me. He showed the same love and affection towards all his students. He did not boss around and treated students as professionals. He always treated all his students with respect, care, and made each one of them feel very special.
Professor, Thank you for everything. You have touched many lives and made a difference. We miss you.