MAY 2015
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


Dr. Brendan Kelly, Vice President, University Advancement, UWF student
Austin Turner, Dr. Ranga Rao Krothapalli, UWF student
Krystle Shelton and UWF President Dr. Judy Bense.

The University of West Florida in Pensacola recently celebrated a transformational gift of $100,000 to UWF’s Clinical Lab Sciences program by Dr. Ranga Rao Krothapalli, in memory of his wife, UWF Professor Emeritus, Swarna Krothapalli.

The Professor Emeritus Swarna Krothapalli Endowed Scholarship for Clinical Laboratory Sciences will honor and pay tribute to the distinguished faculty member who had a lifelong dedication to students and impacted the lives of thousands of students in Clinical Lab Sciences and Medical Technology.

“This scholarship endowment enables our family to express our enduring love for Swarna while providing long-lasting support to UWF’s Clinical Lab Sciences program,” Krothapalli said. “Swarna dedicated her entire academic career and derived much joy and pride from establishing an exemplary record of program quality, student success and professional service.”

Clinical Lab Sciences senior, Krystle Shelton, and junior, Austin Turner, were named the first recipients of the Professor Emeritus Swarna Krothapalli Endowed Scholarship for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Shelton, who holds a 4.0 GPA, is a member of the Medical Technology Student Association and is doing her clinical internship at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Turner, who holds a 4.0 GPA, is the president of the Medical Technology Student Association and will begin her clinical internship at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center in May.

“The endowed scholarships, to be awarded annually and in perpetuity in memory and honor of Swarna, will warm our hearts and serve the students and institution well,” Krothapalli said. “We wish all the best for the continued success of UWF’s Clinical Lab Sciences program and UWF.”

Since the beginning of her tenure in 1979, Swarna Krothapalli served in various positions including faculty associate, acting chairperson assistant professor and program director, associate professor and program director and Professor Emeritus. Under her leadership, the UWF Medical Technology Program and the Clinical Lab Sciences program grew and flourished. Prior to her tenure at UWF, she served in various organizations, including Andhra University in India, Tulane University School of Medicine, Baptist Hospital, West Florida Regional Medical Center and Sacred Heart Hospital.

Dr. Ranga Rao Krothapalli has served at the university for more than 35 years in various positions, including professor of biology, university research professor, dean, director of the Center for Environmental Diagnostic and Bio Remediation and Professor Emeritus. 



Neemtree“We have cared for him just like our children, so please make sure everything is well taken care,” they said. “We will,” I said, in a matter-of-fact way, until, Dr. Reddy added, “I am told this is the only living one outside of India!”

Now, that caught my attention. This is indeed a uniquely precious gift that will keep giving for generations to come. The gift to Sanatan Mandir, by Drs. Aruna and Krishna Reddy of Chicago, will get a permanent home on May 23 during the fifth anniversary celebrations of Sai Baba’s arrival at Sanatan Mandir in Tampa.

That this 15-16-foot tall and rather thin descendant of Shri Sai Baba’s neem tree in Shirdi has survived many harsh winters of Chicago for 22-23 years is a miracle. The journey began more than two decades ago when Dr. Reddy’s father and brother devotee of Shri Shirdi Sai visited him in Chicago and gave the seeds as a blessing from Sai Baba. Of the two germinating seedlings, one did not survive the harsh winters but the other was determined to live.

We are humbled and honored that Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave. in Tampa ( was chosen to the permanent home for this sacred tree. The fifth anniversary celebrations on May 23 will begin at 4:30 p.m. with bhajans followed by neem tree plantation at 6, aarti and mahaprasad.

Dr. Pawan Rattan is chair, board of trustees, of Sanatan Mandir. 

5th Annual TAMPA India International Film Festival Date, location confirmed

India International Film Festival (IIFF) is gearing up for its 5th season. After dealing with several theater cancellations and other logistical obstacles, India International Film Festival has confirmed the dates for its fifth season to be Aug. 28-30 at Carmike Cinemas Centro Ybor (formerly Muvico Centro Ybor) in Tampa. 

IIFF showcases independent films that deal with the Indian diaspora around the world. More than 130 films have been submitted to this year’s festival and the selection process is under way. Organizers welcome dedicated people with an appreciation for independent films and the Indian culture to join the team and help with planning the event. For sponsorship and volunteering opportunities, contact or or visit

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