Umamaheswara Cherukuri

June 1935 – October 2011

76 years, 4 months

Umamaheswara Rao Cherukuri, professor emeritus of California State University, Stanislaus, passed away on October 11, 2011, at the age of 76 after he courageously fought a four- year battle with cancer.
His can-do approach to life led him from a small village in India to a new life in America. Dr. Cherukuri’s journey always included striving for excellence in education whether as a seven-year old who rode his bike sixteen miles every day to attend a better school or as a scholar who served the students and the Central Valley community for more than four decades.

The first to earn a college degree in his family, Dr. Cherukuri was a Fulbright Scholar with five advanced honors degrees. He began teaching finance at CSU Stanislaus in 1970 as a founding member of the School of Business. He later served as dean of the College of Business Administration, taught more than 7,000 students, and was honored as Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2003 before retiring in 2006. He always had time to mentor others and help his colleagues. His commitment to education involved not just the classroom but the whole lives of those he taught.

Dr. Cherukuri had several passions beyond the classroom walls. As the son of a farming family in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Cherukuri had a lifelong love of gardening and the outdoors. He also enjoyed working on cars and playing bridge.

Dr. Cherukuri was the first American in his family. His sense of duty to others resulted in an awareness of the importance of cultural understanding. He worked with the Modesto Sister Cities International Program and the Indian Cultural Society for more than two decades. He helped many others settle into their lives as new Americans. The success of others was his greatest joy.

The patriarch of a loving family, he is survived by his mother, Allevalu Mangamma of India, his wife of 56 years, Sobha Cherukuri, his daughters, Padmaja Vejendla and Sailaja Rajappan, his son, Srinivas Cherukuri, their spouses, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. We will miss our professor, our friend, our Babu, our Daddy, our Tata.

Even in his last days, one of his nurses shared that Dr. Cherukuri continued teaching. This time the lesson was in compassion.

Dr. U. Rao Cherukuri Memorial
CSU Stanislaus College of Business Professor 1970-2006
Saturday, Ocotber 22, 2011, 11:00am
Snider Hall (off Crowell Road with free parking in Lot 3 which is also off Crowell Road)

Followed by a traditional South Indian lunch in the Event Center. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072 Pittsfield, MA 01202.


  1. I was very fortunate to be a student of Dr. Cherukuri’s at CSU Stanislaus. He inspired me to major in Finance, which ended up being a great decision that led to a very fulfilling career. I was very honored to be chosen by him as Finance Student of the
    Year in 1986. I will always remember him as one of the best teachers in my entire educational experience. He was kind, funny and always available to give you any help you needed. I am now a teacher myself and hope to inspire my students as he did me.

  2. I am sad to hear that we have lost one of the most intelligent and nicest men I have ever known. I will miss my old teacher and mentor. Turlock, CA

  3. I send to Sobba and all of the family my most sincere and positive thoughts of sympathy at the passing of dear Rao. I valued his intellect, his friendliness, and his warm sense of humor. RJ Moriconi I send to Sobba and all of the family my most sincere
    and positive thoughts of sympathy at the passing of dear Rao. I valued his intellect, his friendliness, and his warm sense of humor. 2011 Modesto, CA

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