During the final class lecture of his 46-year career, Subbarao Wunnava didn’t let up. The engineering professor kept his students on their toes as he drew a sprawling set of diagrams on a whiteboard, turned to them and pointed at a formula.

“Is this answer correct?” he asked.

Some students chirped yes, others no.

“What are you doing?” he asked, a humurous quality shining through his tone. “Flipping coins?”

Wunnava liked to joke, and during his final lecture at the College of Engineering and Computing, he was in full form. Yet, the tone of his voice could change in an instant.

“As engineers, you will be public servants,” said the Professor Emeritus, emphasizing the dire consequences that could result from a lousy design — and engineers’ responsibility to safeguard the public with their work.

Wunnava walked out of the classroom for the last time in April. To the students he taught over nearly five decades, he was no ordinary professor, nor did he participate in the ordinary rise of an academic institution. When he came to FIU, the university consisted of three buildings. Today, FIU is one of the largest public universities in the U.S. with more than 50 professors in the department of electrical and computer engineering alone. The department that Wunnava helped build has risen the ranks among the nation’s best programs. FIU is No. 42 for electrical and electronic engineering (Global University) in U.S. News and World Report and No. 38 for electrical and electronic engineering according to QS World University Top 50 rankings.

Read more at FIU News.