Former president of India, Oakland lecturer dies suddenly

Dr. Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India and an Oakland University visitor, died on July 27, 2015.

Kalam was five minutes into a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong when he collapsed. After being rushed to the hospital, Kalam confirmed dead from a sudden cardiac arrest an hour after collapsing.

In 2009, Kalam visited Oakland University to receive an honorary degree and give lectures in education and engineering science.

At the time of earning his honorary degree at OU, it was one of 32 he gathered over his career. His global perspective for an up-and-coming community aided his reward.

“His visit to Oakland University provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the campus and the regional communities to experience the views and intellect of a respected world leader,” Virinder Moudgil, former provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, told Oakland University in a previous interview.

Kalam met with small groups after receiving his honorary degree, where students were able to hear insight from an international leader.

On September 17, 2009, Kalam was a visitor on campus, joining the Varner Vitality lecture series. He spoke to students and faculty in a sold out presentation at the O’rena.

That same day, student members of the Aerial System Club and Oakland Robotics Association demonstrated their unmanned aerial and unmanned ground vehicles to Kalam.

“We are fortunate that Dr. Kalam has generously given his time so our students, faculty and staff can interact with him, in addition to listening to his message in the scheduled public lecture,” Moudgil said in a previous Oakland University interview.

Known as the “people’s president,” Kalam was an engineer, politician and professor. He was also given the nickname of the “missile man of India” from his development of ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology.

He served as India’s president from 2002 to 2007 and was named “India’s Best President” by a CNN-IBN poll in 2007.

His OU honorary degree is one of many awards, which include the Bharat Ratna, which India’s government gives as its highest civilian honour.

The Oakland Post will continue to update more information on Kalam’s connection to OU once more information and sources become available.