Published: 31st December 2020
He was everyone's anna: MCC mourns passing of Botany professor and HOD Abraham Immanuel Ebenezer
Abraham joined MCC as an undergraduate student of the Botany Department in 1980 and went on to complete his MSc from the same campus in 1985
The Madras Christian College campus woke up to sad news this morning about the passing of their professor, Abraham Immanuel Ebenezer, the Head of the Botany department. Abraham had been a part of the MCC family since he was an undergraduate student and had been a faculty on campus for 30 years. He passed away on the evening of December 30 of a cardiac arrest.
Abraham joined MCC as an undergraduate student of the Botany Department in 1980 and went on to complete his MSc from the same campus in 1985. After getting his MPhil degree, Abraham joined MCC as a faculty member in 1990. He has been teaching Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Plant Tissue Culture as well as Biotechnology for both graduate and post-graduate students at the college. MCC Principal P Wilson said that he had last spoken to the professor’s wife about when he would be coming back to work, “We had decided that he would join on January 4 and that he could apply for leave after. We knew he was ill but he had been recovering, so this came as a huge shock to all of us. It was very sudden and the whole community is in shock,” he said.
Wilson recalled that when he took over as Principal earlier this year, Abraham personally came to visit him and wish him all the best. “He was the Secretary of the Academic Council and a part of the Governing Body. He would take down minutes of the meeting and was very involved in the functioning of the college. Even in the last meeting, he joined us through video conferencing even though he wasn’t keeping too well. He had no ego and in the two decades that I knew him, I’ve never seen him lose his temper even in the most challenging situations,” the Principal said.
Abraham is known to have maintained the best tissue culture laboratory in the department. He also served as a Staff Advisor to the College Union Society and served as a member of various administrative committees in the college. He was also a curator on campus - a curator is appointed by the administration to take care of the flora and fauna on campus and Abraham was the best man for the job, says the man who knew him since he was his student. The former professor, had seen Abraham as a student and saw him become an academician and a well-loved professor. “He had a great interest in rice plants and was invited to a lot of conferences and even the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines invited him. He did some great work in the area. He was appointed curator at the campus because he was so good with his work and we all know how green the campus is,” he tells us.
Abraham was also the farm director, the professor said. MCC’s farm was also developed immensely under his care, he added. “He got his plants from his own students who were in different regions of the state,” he said. But what he was most proud about was the fact that Abraham treated his own students like his friends and colleagues. “He was very kind to everyone. He also paid attention to their personal and family needs. He was everyone’s ‘anna’. He knew all his students by name. The college has lost its most valuable members. He was a very endearing person,” he added.
Wilson said that Abraham has a great relationship with all the alumni, “He was Eby to all of them. He was always entertaining them and was always ready to extend help to anyone in need.” Wilson says his WhatsApp is flooded with people who are in shock and grieving, “Everyone knew him and everyone loved him.”