Kandula Sastry remembered at campus service
by Sarah R. Buchholz, Chronicle staff
ore than 150 people gathered for a service in memory of Physics professor Kandula Sastry in Memorial Hall on Nov. 25. He died Nov. 16 in Cooley Dickinson Hospital of an apparent heart attack. He was 66.
At the service, he was remembered for his generosity to students, his efforts to bring Indian culture to the Pioneer Valley, his work in experimental nuclear physics, radiation, and biophysics, and his 38 years of service to the University.
Originally from the Andhra region of India, he received a bachelor's and a master's degree from Andhra University and a Ph.D. from Indiana University.
A Red Sox fan who loved New England foliage and playing Santa Claus, he was a pioneer of the local Indian community, encouraging world-renowned Indian musicians to perform in the area - sometimes holding concerts in his home and paying for them himself - and acting as a gateway for other Indians, according to Polymer Science professor Murugappan Muthukumar. And he and his wife, Satya, held a number of Hindu celebrations in their home.
In addition to being popular with students, he was a fixture in the Faculty Senate, serving on its Academic Matters Council for more than 15 years and as the council's chair for more than five years.
Through the senate, he was active in the creation of Commonwealth College, and he was an early participant in outreach through community service learning. He also chaired the University's Radiation Use Committee.
He conducted research on the basic structure of matter at the Atomic Energy Commission's Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory in the 1970s. He was the author of dozens of scholarly articles, and he reviewed articles for a number of publications, including the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
He funded an award, originally for high-achieving undergraduates in Physics, that is being expanded to include graduate students and will be supported by an endowment.
Memorial gifts may be made to the UMass Foundation with "the Kandula Endowment Fund" in the memo line, and sent to the Physics Department, 1127 Lederle Graduate Research Center.