45 years after starting his career at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Yogi Kakad is retiring, and is thankful for the valuable advice he got all those years ago that encouraged him to take a position at UNC Charlotte.
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When he came to Charlotte in 1976, Dr. Kakad was an assistant professor in the department known as Engineering Analysis and Design. Over the years, the department became Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Kakad rose to the level of full professor. Currently the longest-serving faculty member in The Williams States Lee College of Engineering, Dr. Kakad is now finishing the final year of his three-year phased retirement.
In his early years at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Kakad was involved in the development of much of the electrical engineering curriculum. Many of the early classes he developed are still being taught today.
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Dr. Kakad was also instrumental in starting UNC Charlotte’s graduate programs. “When I started here, the first Dean of the college, Dr. Barnett said ‘Son, we expect you to help develop the graduate programs here.’ And so, I was the first person in the engineering college to teach a graduate class. I also mentored the very first master’s thesis student at the University in 1980, as part of the Master’s of Science in Engineering program.”
Following the start of the Master’s program, Dr. Kakad was heavily involved in the committees that developed the first Ph.D. programs, which were in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Applied Mathematics.
In support of the graduate programs, Dr. Kakad began helping the University build its research programs.
A key to the growing research on campus was the creation of the research centers, initially including the North Carolina Microelectronics Center and Center for Precision Metrology, and then in later years, the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center.
Working with UNC Charlotte’s students for the past 45 years has been an honor, Dr. Kakad said. He is especially proud of the accomplishments of his graduate students, and values the many wonderful experiences he had with them over the years.
“The best advice I ever got was from my professor who encouraged me to come to UNC Charlotte. He was right. It has been very rewarding. I got to be part of very exciting times.”