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Former management chair passes away

March 02, 2011

Dr. Uma Sekaran ("Chinni") passed away on Saturday, February 12, 2011 at her home in San Jose at the age of eighty four. The fourth of Mr. and Mrs. Pennathur Natesa Iyer's five children born in Madras (now called Chennai), India, she was married to Asthagiri ("George") Sekaran for 65 years until his demise in 2008.

Chinni spent the first half of her life in India and her adult years mostly in Bombay (now Mumbai) where she rose to the position of Exchange Control Officer at the Reserve Bank of India. After immigrating to the US in 1971, she earned an MBA from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D in Business Administration from UCLA in a very short time, showing remarkable grit and determination. Dr. Sekaran was a professor at Southern Illinois University and served as chairperson of her department and, upon her retirement, was named Professor Emerita of Management. She authored or co-authored six books, two manuals, 12 book chapters and over 40 articles in top journals, including "Research Methods in Business" and "Organizational Behavior - Text and Cases." Her book on Research Methods, currently in its sixth edition, has been translated into Indonesian and Chinese and continues to have a wide audience in the US, Asia and Europe.

Chinni had a generous heart and nurtured various nieces and nephews in her home at different times. She was a role model to many, especially young girls who learned about goal-orientation, commitment, hard work and achievement from her. After her retirement, her home in San Jose became the social hub for her family and friends from all over the United States and India.

Chinni is survived by her son Ramesh and his wife Usha, grandson Kiren, granddaughter Anisha, and many dearly loved relatives including Sudha Pennathur, who was her de facto daughter, and Sudha's husband Edward Messerly. Sridhar was also like a son to Chinni and his mother Saroj was a sister and dearest friend. Her nephew Babu (Ganapathy) and her niece Ramu (Meenakshi) were dear to her from the time they lived with her in Bombay and she built a close friendship with her niece Rukmani once she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Her loving extended family is too large to detail, and includes PRS, Raji, Payyu, Nalini, Chandra, Sumita, Satish, Sandhya, Veena, Geeta, Anita, Usha Kris, Soumya, Aravind, Maitreya, Sushiela, Balaji, Arun, Priya, their children, spouses and grandchildren. We are grateful to Siony who provided excellent care and companionship for Chinni in the last few years. Chinni had deep impact on the lives of many family members and friends of all ages, and her uncomplaining and caring spirit will be greatly missed.