SC Johnson College Professor Srinagesh Gavirneni dies at 56

Srinagesh Gavirneni, professor of operations, technology and information management, an expert in supply-chain information sharing and a beloved mentor to students and junior faculty, died unexpectedly in Ithaca. He was 56.

Gavirneni joined the faculty of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, in 2004. At Cornell, he made fundamental academic contributions to supply-chain information sharing, and he was highly regarded for his passion for practical impact, applying his research to problems in health care, agriculture and humanitarian logistics in developing countries.

Srinagesh Gavirneni

“I knew Professor Gavirneni as a caring friend, a jovial person and a sharp scholar in the operations management community and the Johnson School,” said Vishal Gaur, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean and Emerson Professor of Manufacturing Management in the Johnson School. 

“He was a selfless mentor to our doctoral students and junior faculty, and was known for his interdisciplinary research, for which he built connections across the university. We share the grief of his loss with his family and friends.”

Born and raised in India, Gavirneni completed his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1989, and received master’s degrees from Iowa State University and Carnegie Mellon University in 1993 and 1994, respectively. He completed his Ph.D. in manufacturing and operations systems at Carnegie Mellon University in 1997.

Before coming to Cornell, Gavirneni was an assistant professor in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a research scientist at Schlumberger in Austin, Texas. In addition to supply-chain management, his research and teaching at Cornell included inventory control, production scheduling, simulation and optimization. He taught the Semester in Strategic Operations immersion course, a critical component of the Cornell MBA curriculum, for which he built relationships with a number of local companies across industries.

Gavirneni was a finalist for the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Best Paper Award in 2016. In 2017, he received an award for the Best Theory-Driven Empirical Paper at the Decision Sciences Institute Annual Conference, and won the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research Industry Relevance Award that same year. And in 2018, he won the Outstanding Associate Editor Award from the Journal of Decision Sciences.

 “Dr. Gavirneni was an outstanding scholar, a prolific researcher and a dedicated teacher, and his impact on our college and the field was significant,” said Andrew Karolyi, the Charles Field Knight Dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “I am deeply grateful for the time Nagesh and I served on the faculty together and for our many compelling conversations. On behalf of the Johnson School and the SC Johnson College of Business, I extend my deepest condolences to Dr. Gavirneni’s family, colleagues, and many friends.”

Colleagues said Gavirneni deeply cared about the people around him, befriending everyone he met and remembering their life stories in detail. His office in Sage Hall was never locked, and all were welcome to stop by at any time.

Gavirneni is survived by his wife, Ramadevi; his children, Siddharth Gavirneni ’21 and Meghana Gavirneni ’23; his parents Surendranath and Rajyalakshmi Gavirneni; and his siblings, Srinivas Gavirneni and Sridevi Paleti.

Visitation will be held July 24 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at Perkins Funeral Home, 55 West Main Street, Dryden. Hindu funeral rites will follow the visitation from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Ann Rollo is executive director of communications at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

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Rebecca Valli