Remembering Ned Mohan

Obituary: Ned (Narendra) Mohan (1967/B.Tech/EE)

Ned (Narendra) Mohan, 77, passed away on Sunday morning, February 11, at his home in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. He was preceded in death by his father, Madan Mohan Lal; mother, Champa Vati Devi, and brother, Shyam Agrawal. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary; their children, Michael and Tara; his sister Krishna (Krishan) Gupta; sister-in-law Sushma Agrawal, as well as cousins, nieces, nephews, and many members of the Paulsen family. 

Narendra was born in India in 1946 and was raised in the central province of Madhya Pradesh. As an undergraduate, he studied at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He then attended the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and upon completing his MS, pursued his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating in 1973.

After completing a post-doc in 1975, he joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota where he remained until his passing with his work focused on Power Electronics and Systems and Sustainability. Among his many awards and recognitions, he became an IEEE Fellow in 1996, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2014, and was named a Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota in 2019. Passionate about education, he wrote six textbooks translated into a total of nine major languages. He established CUSP (Consortium of Universities for Sustainable Power, https://cusp.umn.edu/) to create a global community of teaching/learning scholars whose mission is to provide a first-rate education in the field of Electric Energy Systems with an emphasis on sustainability with over 400 faculty from 235 U.S. universities having joined the consortium. He worked tirelessly and was driven to make a difference in his field and in the world. As perhaps his proudest professional accomplishment, he graduated 53 PhD students who carry on his legacy.

In 1970, while a graduate student in Madison, WI, Narendra met Mary, the love of his life, through a computer date as part of a research study by the Sociology department. They married in 1973 and moved to the Twin Cities, MN where they raised two children, with whom he shared a mutually adoring relationship. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1982. 

Among his favorite activities were going out to breakfast with his family, walking with his grad students to have lunch at Seward Co-op, Indian cooking, watching his kids play tennis, repeating the same bad jokes, discussing politics and religion, and working at all hours.

As a Hindu, he enjoyed giving tours of the Hindu Mandir in Maple Grove, MN and speaking about Hinduism at interfaith events. He created a free online resource for teaching about the principles of Hinduism: https://hinduismresource.com/.

As a Krishna devotee, these words from Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita was among his favorites: “While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead. Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.”

If you would like to make donations in Narendra’s honor, please make them to the Hindu Society of Minnesota: Education Center Garden (https://hindu-society-of-minnesota-kiosk.myshopify.com/products/education-center-garden).

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