The most influential Illini during ‘Ram’ Ramanathan’s grad school years as a Ph.D. student on campus?
It’s a three-way tie for first, says the 2020-21 recipient of the UI School of Social Work’s community achievement award.
In no particular order …
— Then-Assistant Dean Jan Hartman. “When I was assigned to teach a course on Introduction to Social Welfare, I was excited with the opportunity, yet was nervous,” Ramanathan recalls. “So, I was conversing with Jan and she said: ‘Honey, you are bright, you know the material, take a deep breath as you start class, everything will go well. Come back and tell me how it went.’
“I went to her office after class, and she had a wide smile and said ‘I know it went well’ and gave me a piece of chocolate. She was a phenomenal social worker, administrator and superb human being.”
— Professor Bal Balgopal. “In the winter of 1982, Professor Balgopal was teaching a doctoral seminar on theories of intervention. A classmate of mine said, ‘I read somewhere …’ and stated what he had read.
“Professor Balgopal looked at him and said, ‘Wash your mouth with soap water before you speak next time in my class. What do you mean you read somewhere, you need to be able to cite the source.’ This impression of seriousness of scholarship is with me even today.”
— Professor Mike Patchner. “Professor Patchner was on my doctoral committee; he served as methodology content expert. In the spring of 1987, I was doing data analysis and my statistical program was not running right.
“So, I called Mike on a Friday evening around 6:30 p.m. and said, ‘Mike, my program is not running.’ He asked, ‘Ram, where are you?’ and I replied in my office. Mike says, ‘I need to take care of something for my son Christopher, and I will meet you in Lincoln Hall at 9 p.m. ‘
“I was amazed with Mike’s commitment to my education. I still remember what Mike did for me over 33 years ago and draw inspiration to be of help to my students.”