Professor retires after 33 years


Photo Taken by University Marketing and Communications

Katelyn Winberg, Reporter

After 33 years of teaching at South Dakota State University, Padu Krishnan decided it was time for retirement. 

“There’s something else out there for me,” Krishnan said of his decision. 

Krishnan was born in Butterworth, Malaysia, but studied botany at the University of Madras, India, where he graduated in 1977. After that, he got his master’s in food and nutrition, and he got his doctorate in cereal science at North Dakota State University. 

“This is the land that people come to,” Krishnan said. “I came to build my career path.” 

After receiving his doctorate in 1989, Krishnan sent out 60 applications, but only got two responses. One was from South Dakota State University. 

Krishnan began working at SDSU as an instructor and worked his way up to become a professor, and at one time he was acting head of the Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Hospitality. 

“This was my first and last job,” Krishnan said. 

Krishnan did many things for the university, but none more noticeable than the renovations of three different labs, including an impressive food science lab on the fourth floor of Wagner Hall, where students still come to cook and learn the art of food preparation. 

While he spent much of his time at SDSU, Krishnan also found work in other places, like developing new kinds of foods for General Mills. Krishnan specifically helped make breakfast foods that were healthier and cheaper for consumers. 

One of Krishnan’s most exciting experiences was when he was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for creating snickerdoodles made with “dried distiller’s grain,” or DDG. This DDG was made of corn that had been leftovers in ethanol production and was packed full of protein and fiber. 

Krishnan hoped this use of DDG would potentially help create food that was healthier than traditional recipes. The Wall Street Journal feature gave Krishnan exposure to people who would help fund his research into this topic. 

Possibly his most fun job was when he conducted a project for the Cheesecake Factory. He measured the eating quality of cheesecakes for the Cheesecake Factory by punching a hole in them. The factory would let him keep the cheesecakes he used after the testing was over. 

“I would give the leftover cheesecakes to students,” Krishnan laughed. “I was very popular!” 

Yet, it seemed that all of this paled in comparison to his real pride and joy: teaching students. Woven into all of his words was a deep love for interacting with students and helping them reach their fullest potential. 

Krishnan taught many classes, including Food Processing, Food Chemistry and Analyst Food Preservation. These classes would sometimes have upwards of 200 students in them, so he unfortunately was not able to get to know every single student he taught. Despite this, he would still have strangers come up to him and thank him for teaching a class that they were in. 

“I’ve graduated many students,” he said. “I’m very proud.” 

Although his time at SDSU as a professor has ended, Krishnan is not quite ready to slow down. Despite moving to Florida, he still plans on keeping in contact with SDSU faculty, students and alumni. He is also considering becoming a consultant for a company or working on new projects. 

“Bite your tongue, I’m not retiring!” Krishnan said.