Letter by Dr. Ravi E. Dattatreya, Ph.D. ‘78

Dr Ravi E. Dattatreya

Dear Alums and Friends,

Like it were yesterday, I still remember so clearly the absolute certainty with which I decided to pursue IEOR at Berkeley for my graduate studies. Analytical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to develop solutions to complex challenges —  as soon as I learned what IEOR was, I knew that it would propel me forward in life. I received my doctorate from UC Berkeley's Department of Industrial Engineering & Operations Research in 1978, yet even now, a solid foundation in mathematics and computer science can open doors to nearly any path. 

However, it almost did not happen for me. It was purely due to donor generosity that I was able to attend graduate school. 

Thanks to the fellowship I received as a student,  I could fully immerse myself in my academics.  This included the teachings of Professor Sheldon Ross, a prolific and renowned figure celebrated for his contributions to queuing theory. Sitting in Professor Ross's classroom was an experience unlike any other. His courses fully captivated me, and I found myself returning to audit them not just once, but several times over. I was determined to take advantage of all his insights and wisdom. His special ability to cultivate intuition in his students left me in awe, and I eagerly absorbed every bit of it.

The academic excellence that Berkeley is known for inspired me to set ambitious goals as a student. Upon entering Berkeley IEOR in 1975, I aimed for a perfect 4.0 GPA and set out to simultaneously tackle Queuing Theory and its prerequisite, Stochastic Processes. Unsurprisingly, I received dismal grades and was lost for the first half of the year. When I went to my Queuing theory professor to drop the class - I had a sudden change of heart. 

I approached my professor with a question: if I managed to excel in my final exam, could he award me an A in the class? He said yes. With renewed determination, I dedicated myself to mastering the fundamentals and indeed excelled in the final exam. Beyond my course materials, I learned that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. I graduated with a 4.0 and obtained my PhD in record time. I also learned to love Queuing Theory and centered my thesis on the subject.

The cherished memories I hold and the rewarding career I've embraced, are owed to UC Berkeley and the donor generosity that provided me with an affordable education. 

On the ten-year anniversary of Big Give, I invite my fellow alumni and friends to join me in supporting the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. Together, let's invest in this place of opportunity and academic excellence, where faculty stand at the forefront of their fields and students are empowered to drive positive change. 


Fiat Lux and Go Bears!



Dr. Ravi E. Dattatreya Ph.D. ‘78

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