Former UC Berkeley engineering professor dies at 74

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Kal Sastry, a UC Berkeley materials science and engineering professor emeritus remembered for his unique life philosophies and his love for the Berkeley community, died Friday night. He was 74.

Known for his contributions to research in mining and mineral process engineering, particularly in iron ore processing, Sastry received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1970 before moving to Minnesota to further his research in mining. He became a campus professor in 1975 and retired in 2000.

Raised in India, Sastry graduated high school in his early teens and came to UC Berkeley to pursue his doctorate degree in his early 20s. According to campus materials science and engineering professor emeritus Douglas Fuerstenau — who was Sastry’s doctoral thesis supervisor — Sastry was a “worldwide expert” in his field.

“Sastry was a very creative person,” Fuerstenau said. “(He) came up with quite a few ideas in engineering and science (in) conglomerating fine particles.”

Sastry is remembered for his love of interacting with his students during his time as a professor — particularly his undergraduate pupils. His son, Suresh Sastry, said his father was always eager to prepare his students for their future endeavors.

“His philosophy was, don’t just do your job, don’t just get an education, (but) understand what’s happening when you do your job or when you’re in your classes,” Suresh Sastry said. “He conducted his academics day-to-day with his philosophies, and he lived by his philosophies.”

According to Kal Sastry’s granddaughter Anjuli Sastry, a former The Daily Californian assistant news editor, the late professor’s methodical and exuberant nature complemented his love for the campus community.

Anjuli Sastry — who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014 — said her first UC Berkeley memories were created with her grandfather. At Anjuli Sastry’s graduation, her grandfather put on his UC Berkeley doctorate graduation gown and watched from the stage as she completed her graduation walk.

After his retirement and until last fall, Kal Sastry continued to teach a campus freshman and sophomore seminar called “The Berkeley Experience,” which introduced new campus undergraduates to opportunities in both UC Berkeley and its surrounding area. Sastry would also encourage the students taking the seminar to write out plans for their future.

Kal Sastry’s love for life translated into a prominent love for travel. Anjuli Sastry remembered her grandfather’s penchant for buying the family matching T-shirts during their trips together.

“We used to say, the only places he hasn’t been to are the North Pole and South Pole,” said his daughter Jaya Sastry.

Kal Sastry is survived by his wife Vizia Sastry, his children Jaya Sastry and Suresh Sastry, his daughter-in-law Anitha Sastry and his grandchildren Anjuli Sastry and Aakash Sastry.

Contact Jessie Qian at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jessieq96.