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Whether "Greatness" is measured with a scale calibrated in terms of the possession of power, a distinguished record of public service, nobility of character or the esteem of one's fellowmen, there is no doubt that Ln. Dr. (Ms.) K. S. Lakshmi truly qualifies as worthy of the epithet. She undoubtedly ranks as one of the truly outstanding personalities in the arenas of social service and education. She is an idealist but not merely one. Her life’s mission has been to convert her lofty ideals and noble ideas into reality and thereby light up the lives of thousands that were otherwise steeped in darkness and despair.





Her Background

            Born on 26 August, 1940 in a traditional South Indian family steeped in devotion to God and the Guru, K. S. Lakshmi imbibed the noble qualities of service to humanity, truthfulness, devotion to God and respect for the rich and varied cultural, spiritual and moral heritage of India, from a very young age.

Her father Prof. Sri. K. R. Sundararajan, was a man of foresight and brilliance. It was his strength of will, warmth of heart, courage of mind and infinite capacity for hard work that enabled him to envision and start the great temple of education, now hailed as the KRS Campus. K. S. Lakshmi has inherited all these qualities from her father and worked along with him in both serving the underprivileged in society as well as in nurturing the campus from its inception.


An Educationalist par Excellence

Notwithstanding all these multifarious achievements of hers, the very vital force of her life has been Meenakshi College for Women. The college is extremely dear to her heart and she has devoted all her time and energy for its well-being. From the inception of the college in 1975 till date she has not spared a single effort to nurture the college and take it to great heights.

A college which was started in a small building with 100 students and with limited funds, stands today with 12 Undergraduate courses, 10 Postgraduate courses, 3 M.Phil courses and 2 Ph.D. programmes, with 3000 students on its rolls, 28 batches of proud and grateful alumni, 150 faculty members and 50 supporting staff, and with a huge reputation for high standards of academic excellence. The Institution currently functions in a four-storied building. It has over 90 class rooms, 10 laboratories, a beautiful state-of-the-art computer center, smart classrooms, two fully air-conditioned seminar rooms fitted with audio-visual equipment and multimedia projectors, a huge air-conditioned auditorium with a capacity of 3000 with modern acoustics, another 500-seater fully air-conditioned auditorium, an air-conditioned library with over 40,000 books and journals (national and international) and a reference section and with round-the-clock high-speed internet connectivity for the entire campus.

Needless to say, the process of achieving this gargantuan growth was by no means a matter of smooth-sailing for her. Her watchwords are NO DONATION and NO CAPITATION FEE, for she continues to hold aloft the noble vision with which the college was founded. A person of high thinking and principles as she is, she has brought in funds to the college ONLY through hard work and good planning. Thrift, planned expenditure, prudent budgets, and optimal use of the college infrastructure, has contributed to the rise of funds in the past three decades, from a few thousands to lakhs. She has spent every rupee carefully only with a focus on the growth of infrastructure and academic needs of the college.

The bulk of the expenditure every year has always been channelized towards the purchase of books and laboratory equipment to help the students and faculty in their academic pursuits.

She has paid personal attention to minute details of management in general and finances in particular, as a result of which the institution has such a high standing in society.

Apart from administrative machinery she has always paid equal attention to academic endeavours, and personally looks into the academic performance of students and its betterment. It is because of her commitment and focus that the college has invariably bagged all the top ranks under the University of Madras right from the College’s inception. Generous prizes for proficiency every year, personal attention to the students’ views and needs and above all the award of gold medals for the three

It is undoubtedly a feather in her cap that her students have won prestigious awards like the Young Scientist Award and the B.C. Roy Award. Her students have distinguished themselves on the world stage through their contributions to the fine arts, science, technology, research and sports. Scores of them now occupy very high positions in various walks of life both in India and in the international arena, top rank holders in the University examinations, all bear testimony to her dedication to the welfare of the student community. International and National Conferences have been conducted under her leadership by the college, to much appreciation of all concerned.

Her encouragement of sports is infectious, and resulted in her building up superb sports infrastructure in the KRS campus. The cricket pitch and ground in the campus as well as the four tennis courts she has set up, are sought after by Chennaites in general, apart from the students on campus.

In 2007, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with members (senior academic experts) drawn from different parts of India, adjudged Meenakshi College for Women as ranking among the top educational institutions in India. NAAC granting the college the much coveted A+ grade through the new accreditation process. It is to be mentioned that this was the first shot at accreditation. The credit for this landmark achievement goes to Dr. K. S. Lakshmi.

Dr. K. S. Lakshmi was wholly responsible for establishing two prestigious institutions in the same KRS Campus, viz. Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College and Meenakshi Sundararajan School of Management which have quickly established themselves on the technical education map of the country by bagging many University ranks and laurels in a very short span of time. In fact, the Engineering  College is ranked among the top 5 Engineering Colleges in the state of Tamil Nadu, right from its fourth year of inception!

Thus Dr. K. S. Lakshmi has, by her sincerity, dedication, keen perception, attention to detail, excellent planning and neat execution of plans, made the KRS Campus the campus of choice, be it in the Arts, the Sciences, Commerce, Engineering or Management Studies. 

She has wide travel experience. She has visited several countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, United Arab Emirates, Oman, South Korea, Kenya, Sri Lanka and NepalShe has visited several top-ranking Universities of these countries to study their educational systems.r Management Studies.


Researcher of High Calibre

In spite of the enormous responsibilities of social service and education, K. S. Lakshmi has always made it a point to devote time and energy for her research pursuits. She has taken up the initiative and leadership of several prestigious research projects, some of which are:

1.      BRNS- DAE project on background radiation along the East Coast of Tamil Nadu

2.      BRNS-DAE project: The study of Radon/Thoron Measurement in dwellings in Chennai

3.      NPC Project: Study of natural background environmental radiation in and around   Kudangulam, a site for Nuclear Power Plant

4.      Madras Institute of Developmental Studies -  Project on Environmental Studies.

5.      BRNS-DAE Project on background radiation along the East Coast of Tamil Nadu after the tsunami.

An intensive research study was carried out with the support of DAE, BRNS, IGCAR and NPC on Study of Background Radiation along the East Coast of Tamil Nadu for her Doctoral work.

The objectives of her research study are also to bring about some societal improvement, or to benefit society in some way. For example, a study of background radiation levels before and after the tsunami, was what she has been involved in, with the aim of evaluating the radiation dose levels received by the population. He study established baseline data on environmental background radiation levels along the entire East Coast of Tamil Nadu (more than 1000 km).

The overall aim of the work was to give valuable information about the environmental impact of radiation, and to educate the public about radiation and background radiation in particular. In fact, the study has advanced a compelling argument in favour of atomic power plants as an alternative source of energy. The study conclusively sets at rest, nagging speculation in the public mind about the adverse environmental impact of Atomic Power Plants, for the conclusion it draws is that the background radiation found in the natural environment is comparatively higher than radiation around atomic power plants.

In general, on the basis of the findings of this study, K. S. Lakshmi established that the east coast region of Tamil Nadu would serve as an ideal site for carrying out epidemiological studies and obtain an insight into effects of radiation exposure prevailing in the region.

Further, K. S. Lakshmi has attended and presented papers in International Conferences on Physics and Radiation Physics held in Japan, Italy, BARC (Mumbai), Amritsar, Rajasthan, Coimbatore, IGCAR (Kalpakkam)

Her publications in International refereed journals have been widely cited in other research work.

A Champion of the Underprivileged

A striking facet of the personality of Dr. K. S. Lakshmi – nay the core of her very being - is her generosity. She has worked and continues to work for the upliftment of the less privileged, in various capacities.

True to the spirit of Lionism, and following the high ideals of her father, she started the Lions Club of KRS and Leo Club of KRS in the year 1996 after her father's passing. Earlier she joined Lionism in 1977. She also started two more Leo Clubs in the same Campus namely Leo Club of MSEC and Leo Club of Chennai Meenakshi. She extended the first Campus Lions Club, viz. Lions Club of Chennai Meenakshi in the KRS Campus. She has held several prestigious positions such as Charter President, Lions Club of Madras KRS, District Chairperson in various portfolios, Zone Chairperson and Region Chairperson, and rose to the top job in the Lions International District 324 A1, serving as District Governor during the Lionistic year 2008-2009.

Lion Lakshmi has spared no effort to take up intensive and extensive projects to help the downtrodden of society. In her tenure as Lions District Governor, her main areas of focus were:

  • Health for All – a large number of medical camps were conducted to benefit a huge populace.
  • Education for All – She worked on overdrive to educate parents and children to reduce school dropouts, to provide incentives for school children to attend school and to build infrastructure in schools.
  • Clean and Green Environment - Extensive planting of saplings of fruit or flower bearing trees was carried out in large parts of Chennai city, and pollution awareness drives conducted.
  • For Life and After – Innumerable health awareness and disease detection camps were organized; decent burial for unclaimed bodies was also
  •  done.

        Apart from the yeoman service she has provided to mankind during even her one-
year stint as Lions District Governor, there are many projects that she has personally spearheaded and continues to work for with a missionary zeal. 

                Above all she is the Chairman of the KRS Charities and Secretary of Shri KRS Educational Trust.


An Upholder of Tradition, Culture and Values

She has  constructed a beautiful temple for Sringeri Sri Sharadamba, the Goddess of Learning, inside the college campusWith a heart full of love and dedication, she took up the onerous task of renovating the temple now and has paid personal attention to every minute detail concerned with this great task. The consecration of this temple was performed by the Shankaracharya of Sringeri, Jagadguru Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamigal in June 2012. In appreciation of her unstinted devotion to the Supreme, the  Jagadguru Himself awarded Dr. Lakshmi the title, "Sharada Bhakta Mani".

Hundreds of devotees in and around Chennai, in addition to those inside the KRS Campus are greatly benefited by the blessings of Goddess Sri Sharadamba. The temple also houses bewitching shrines of Lord Ganesha and Lord Venkatachalapathy. 


                She has established the Meenakshi Sundararajan Fine Arts Academy in the KRS Campus through which a fortnight-long Fine Arts Festival is organized every DecemberApart from st
udents, the fine arts lovers of Chennai throng the campus in December to partake of the feast for the soul offered by leading artists who perform at the festival every year.
                It was her love of our traditional art forms and her desire to promote these art forms among the youth and the public in general, that prompted her to start off this Academy. This is more than patent from the fact that she throws the doors of the college campus open to all during the concerts, without charging any entry fee whatsoever.
                Dr. Lakshmi has never left any stone unturned when it comes to upholding and promoting culture and values among her students and peers. Her encouragement for student artists is legendary, to say the least, and her students and alumni will more than vouch for this. Many are the students who have passed through the portals of her college and who have made it to the international stage in the performing arts. They invariably include Dr. Lakshmi in their ‘thank you’ speeches.

Awards and Distinctions

                She has earned many coveted awards and distinctions from various prestigious organizations in all of these fields. As such, she shines as a bright star in the firmament of stalwarts, rising to the top in any and every field she is involved in. Some of these recognitions of her outstanding contribution are:
  • Jewel of India Award – Outstanding Achievement in the field of Higher Education - 2002
  • Top 100 Scientists 2013in recognition of astute, analytical knowledge in Physics, Nuclear Radiation Physics and Environment Protection – International Biographical Center, Cambridge, England
  • Indira Gandhi Sadbhavana Award – Outstanding Achievement and Distinguished Services to the Nation – National Integration Council – 2003
  • Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement and Distinguished Service to the Nation – Global Economic Council - 2002
  • National Udyog Excellence Award – International Institute of Education and Management - 2002
  • Seva Ratna Award - Centenarian Trust – 1999
  • Fellow of the Madras Science Foundation - 1999
  • Bharat Cultural Integration Committee Award - Service as Principal and overall in the field of Education - 1993
  • Quest for the Best - Commendation award - 1996
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Significant and Outstanding Accomplishment and Service rendered to the Nation - United Writers' Association – 1999
  • Architect of Service Award for excellent contribution to Lionism – Lions Clubs International - 2000-01
  • Apaara Saraswathi Award in the field of education - Lioness Council 324A1 -1991
  • Outstanding Zone Chairman – Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of stellar performance and significant contribution to the cause of Lionism – 2000
  • Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of stellar performance and significant contribution to membership growth through friendship in Lionism – 2000
  • New Horizons Award – for selfless service to people with diabetes, their families and society in establishing a diabetes education program.
  • For the Sake of Honour Award - Rotary Club of North West
  • Lioness Council Award - recognition of the outstanding services rendered to the community.
  • Leo Council Award - continuous support and encouragement for the Leos – 2001 to 2003.
  • Indian Red Cross Society Award – for maximum blood donations organized (in terms of number of units) every year.
  • Best Teacher Award - Lions Clubs International - District 324A1-1996-97
  • Best Teacher Award - in appreciation of yeoman service to the student community, teaching community and to the society - Bharat Vikas Parishad – 2002
  • Best Service Award - Lions District 324A1
  • Certificate of Honour - Mylapore Academy – for maximum percentage of results (continuously for over 15 years)
  • Melvin Jones Worthy Person Award – Lions Clubs Multiple District 324A1 – 2004
  • Certificate of Appreciation for Contribution to Voluntary Blood Donation - The Land Steiner Memorial Research Foundation – 2004
  • Silver Jubilee Award for Excellence – Invaluable Contribution in the field of Higher Education – Brahmins Association, Tamil Nadu – 2005
  • Exnora Excellence Award – Choolaimedu Exnora Innovators Club – 2006
  • Lions International President’s Certificate of Appreciation – DC Treasurer’s Forum – 2006
  • RC Multiple Council Award
  • Anbu Paalam – Achievers Award for Service Rendered in the Field of Education

Her Persona

            She is a well-known personality in the academic and social circles. People know her multifaceted personality.

To her peers she is a disciplined individual, experienced and knowledgeable, and a responsible citizen of the country. Her approach gives them the confidence to discuss with her any subject from Physics to political issues to the latest blockbuster movie.

To her colleagues she is a friend. She is absolutely unassuming, never conscious of her position or power when she discusses their problems. Everyone in the KRS Campus knows they can confide in her and be assured of a way out of their problem. Indeed she is a strict disciplinarian. She cannot tolerate any sloppy work from anyone, be they a senior faculty member or the watchmen at the gates. She motivates people to be conscientious workers, allots work in consonance with their capacity and plays a major role in moulding them to be better performers. Her appreciation of quality work is shown not by words but by a smile with a glint in her eyes, which, to her co-workers, is worth millions! Her simplicity, compassion and care for individual needs endear her to many.

To her students she is a mother - laughing, chatting and participating in all their endeavours. She has never hesitated to spend time, energy and resources for those who take active part in the growth of the college. She is a connoisseur of art and has a soft corner for talented young artists among the students. However she is extremely strict when it comes to discipline and studies. She will never compromise on irregularity, indiscpline, and malpractice.

To the community she is a colossus in the field of education, propagating ethics and values along with education to youngsters without sacrificing in the least, the cardinal values of discipline and honesty. Her motto in life is to co-operate with even opposing forces – she believes in analyzing issues and building up a consensus, not blaming or condemning individuals or their viewpoints. She wins by winning the confidence of the majority. She is a very popular figure among parents and students for maintaining discipline mixed with immense love and concern for the well-being of students.

Her Continuing Mission

This journey of 42 years continues with many more miles to go, many more goals to realize, several plans to execute. She is not contented with the colossal volume and quality of service she has rendered to humanity in multi-faceted ways, but has higher, loftier visions of more work to benefit many more.

In the past 32 years she had to face several obstacles, but nothing has deterred her. All difficulties only made her stronger and more determined. She has taken them as learning experiences and has moved forward in life. With the divine blessings of the presiding deity of the campus temple, Sri Sharadamba, her life’s mission continues as she works day and night towards realizing those lofty visions.