Honoring a Legacy and Inspiring the Future
He shaped their lives through lessons in the classroom and laboratory, and they honored his lifetime of teaching by commissioning a portrait and giving to a scholarship in his name.
Former students Blair Andera ‘98, Damon Wilkerson and Steven Vela celebrated the work of Professor Emeritus Budalur S. Thyagarajan at an Oct. 20 event and unveiled a portrait in his honor.
UTSA President Ricardo Romo, Provost John Frederick, College of Sciences Dean George Perry, former Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Kenneth Ashworth, painter Susan Farris and many of Thyagarajan’s family and former students attended the celebration.
Thyagarajan made an impact on countless students during his career. He mentored undergraduates and graduates from England, Egypt, Greece, India, Japan and Korea, who now pursue professional careers in medicine, science, business and education. With the words of his grandmother as inspiration—“Life is to give, not to take”—Thyagarajan’s legacy continues through the Dr. Budalur S. Thyagarajan Endowed Scholarship Fund, which supports UTSA undergraduates pursuing chemistry, geology and physics degrees.
"President Ricardo Romo best summarized Dr. Thyagarajan's extraordinary accomplishments and his impact on students in a letter he sent to me, which read: 'Dr. Thyagarajan's legacy will continue at UTSA for generations through the endowed scholarships that he has established. It is inspiring to me that he has not only shared his knowledge with students, but he has also encouraged their dreams through funding for scholarships,'" said Andera.
To honor Thyagarajan's service and dedication to teaching, many of his former students and family members contributed to his endowed scholarship fund. The gifts will help support future generations of science students. Thyagarajan also established and supports the Mrs. Parvathammal Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his mother. The fund supports female undergraduate geology majors.
From 1974 to 2000, Thyagarajan served as founding director of the Division of Earth and Physical Sciences. While at UTSA, Thyagarajan recruited faculty and developed curricula in chemistry, geology and physics to complement the biological sciences program already in place. Simultaneously, he researched novel topics in sulfur chemistry. Additionally, he developed an efficient and cost-effective method to manufacture the explosive HMX, a high-energy propellant used exclusively by the military.