Written by: Jenna Hobin

“Our father had a heightened sense of public duty and responsibility to serve others,” says the family of the late Herb Saravanamuttoo. They continue, “Carleton provided our dad with the opportunity to connect with thousands of students and colleagues across many generations, and to fulfill that sense of public duty.”

As a philanthropist, retired professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Design (FED) and former Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Herb’s passion for higher education continues to permeate through the Carleton community.  In addition to his 50-year teaching career, Herb continued to mentor and guide students well beyond his retirement.

Herb Saravanamuttoo

His conviction to support students led to the establishment of the Professor H.I.H. Saravanamuttoo Scholarship in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering—an annual award for outstanding undergraduate students proceeding from third to fourth-year who have demonstrated leadership in student societies.

More recently, Herb extended his generosity to establish the H.I.H. Saravanamuttoo Catalyst Fund in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, providing immediate funding to support students in areas that would create the greatest impact. From attending conferences to expanding research opportunities, his support will make experiential learning opportunities more financially accessible to students while enriching their experience in undergraduate studies.

It is through contributions like Herb’s that the Faculty of Engineering and Design is able to maintain its reputation as one of Canada’s leading institutions for engineering. His generosity ensures FED can respond to emerging priorities, and to provide enhanced learning opportunities to ensure students can remain as top contenders in a competitive industry.

Ron Miller, Chair of the Department for Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, expressed his appreciation for Herb’s longtime support and pioneering research contributions. “The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is grateful for Herb’s many years of dedicated service to the department and to the global aerospace engineering community, as well as for his generosity supporting future generations of engineers who share his passion for engineering research.”

In recognition of Herb’s legacy, the atrium of Carleton’s new Engineering Design Centre on Library Road will be named the Saravanamuttoo Family Atrium. As a collaborative centre that provides hands-on learning opportunities for students, this naming is reflective of Herb’s lifelong commitment to support future generations of engineers at Carleton. It also reflects the Saravanamuttoo family’s deep ties to Carleton.

Helen and Herb Saravanamuttoo with their three sons

With his wife, all three sons and all three daughters-in-law as proud alumni, the Saravanamuttoo family have deeply-forged connections to Carleton. Herb’s family referred to Carleton as his ‘second home’, and they are both honoured and grateful for the naming of the Saravanamuttoo Family Atrium.

This will be the second named space to honour Herb’s dedication to teaching and research, with the first being the H.I.H. Saravanamuttoo Gas Turbine Laboratory which opened in 2011. As a renowned researcher on gas turbines, this lab enables cutting-edge experiments at Carleton, while encouraging students to pursue graduate-level research related to gas turbine engines.

“It is our honour to recognize the legacy of Herb and his family with the Saravanamuttoo Family Atrium in the Engineering Design Centre,” says Larry Kostiuk, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Design. “Herb has inspired our community through his commitment to advancing opportunities for students in higher education, and to engineering research. We are grateful to Herb and the Saravanamuttoo family for their long-standing and multi-disciplinary relationship with Carleton, and look forward to continuing our relationship with his family as integral members of the Carleton community.”

The Saravanamuttoo family in front of the Engineering Design Centre

“Carleton has been a very important part of our lives for the entire family,” shares Herb’s family. “Our father created a very strong bond between the family and the university, and the naming of the atrium will help secure that bond for generations to come. We have always been proud of the Faculty of Engineering and Design, and to hear about how Dad’s teaching had an impact on so many students who have become successful and influential engineers in their own right.”