Prof V C Kulandaiswamy obtained M.Tech., from I.I.T., Kharagpur and Ph.D., in Hydrology and Water Resources, from the University of Illinois, USA. Starting his career as a teacher and researcher, he was Assistant Professor, Professor and Dean of Post Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering (now Anna University), Madras: has made outstanding contributions in Hydrology. A general equation derived by him and a model based on it for Rainfall Runoff studies is known as `Kulandaiswamy Model’ and is quoted widely in Hydrologic literature. He was a Member of the UNESCO Planning Group (1978) for the preparation of the Second Six Year Plan (1981-86) of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and UNESCO Adviser/Expert (1979-81) in Hydraulics and Hydrology. He has authored over sixty research reports and papers in the field of Hydrology and Education. His long standing interest and love on Tamil, lead him to be part International Association of Tamil Research (IATR). He honored the Vice-President responsibility. He was the key motivator and was instrumental in bringing the 10th International conference – Seminar on Tamil Studies to USA.
Later, he moved to Educational Planning, Development and Administration; was successively Director of Technical Education; Vice-Chancellor, Madurai Kamaraj University (1978-79); Vice-Chancellor, Anna University, Madras for three successive terms (1981-90), and Vice-Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi (1990-94).
He has been a member/chairman of a number of academic bodies, working groups and expert committees at the national and international levels in Hydrology, Technical Education, General Education and Distance Education. Mention may be made of a few Member, University Grants Commission Member, Executive Committee, (UGC) for two terms – All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Member Joint Council for Vocational Education ; Vice-President of the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) for Asia ; President of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) ; President of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), London for a brief period; President of the Indian Society for Technical Education, New Delhi for two terms.
He had long been interested in modernizing Tamil to serve as a medium for Science and Technology. His consistent advocacy of Script Reform in Tamil for easy learning deserves particular mention; he was made the Chairman of a Committee constituted by the Government of Tamil Nadu for Script Reform.
He is a recipient of many distinctions and awards: Honorary D.Litt / D.Sc. from seven Universities i.e., D.Litt (Honoris Causa), University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka for his literary contributions, 1980; D.Sc. (Honoris Causa), Alagappa University, Karaikkudi, Tamil Nadu, 1997; D.Litt., (Honoris Causa), Pondicherry University, 1997; Ph.D., (Honoris Causa), Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, 1999; D.Litt. (Honoris Causa), Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, 2000; D.Litt. (Honoris Causa), Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, 2002; and D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad, 2002; Indira Gandhi National Integration Award (1988) and the Central Board of Irrigation and Power Diamond Jubilee Award (1991). The Institution of Engineers (India) conferred on him the recognition of one of the eminent “Engineering Personalities of India” (1991). The University Grants Commission (UGC) conferred on him Pranavananda Award for 1990 for Education.
Besides being an educationist and technologist, he is a writer of standing in Tamil and was the recipient of the national honor of Sahitya Academy Award for the year 1988. The Government of Tamil Nadu chose him for the prestigious Thiruvalluvar Award for 1998 which carries a citation, a medallion and a cash award in recognition of his contribution to Tamil literature.
The Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada honored him during its Decennium Celebration and `Pan Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning’ (1-5, March 1999) at Brunei by making him an `Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning’ in recognition of his outstanding contributions to distance education and open learning in India and in the Commonwealth countries.
He was conferred the national honor of PADMA SHRI (1992) by the President of India for his contributions to `Science and Education’ and PADMA BHUSHAN (2002) for his contributions to ‘Engineering and Science’. We deeply respect his legacy and thankful for his visionary leadership to conduct this 10th International Conference – Seminar on Tamil Studies.