Central Leather Research Institute has the distinction of sending two of its directors to be appointed as Vice-Chancellors of Universities; Dr. Nayudamma to the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Dr. Santappa to the Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh and also to the Madras University.
It is no easy job to be the Director of CLRI. One should not only have administrative efficiency but also the ability to create confidence among the tanners and make them receptive to newer processes, products etc. Dr. Santappa’s list of academic achievements is a lengthy one.
His father had a tannery in Anantapur (A.P.) and also exported E.I. leathers in olden days. It would be easy to list in a few lines; the positions he has not held. He moved with the tanners freely and organised many programmes to invite them to CLRI and take advantage of the facilities available. He had the privilege of receiving late Smt. Indira Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of CLRI and also later Shri. Jagjivan Ram, then minister for Industries.
He maintained cordial public relations and conducted workshops, seminars and tanner’s get-together meetings without making them boring, lengthy, speech-making events. He has also a sense of humour and often enlivens delegates with witty remarks.
After a uniformly brilliant academic career from Madras (1944) and Banaras Hindu Universities (1946) for graduate and post graduate work Dr. Santappa went to U.K., as a Government of India scholar and had the distinction of taking two Ph.D degrees. One in organic chemistry from London University (1949) and the other in Physical Chemistry from the University of Manchester (1951). He was conferred the D.Sc., degree (h.c) of Andhra University in 1980 & D. Litt (h.c.) of Gulbarga University in 1992.
Research: His scientific contributions cover vast fields such as Science and Technology of polymers and plastics, physical organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry and science and technology of leather. He has to his credit more than 350 original scientific publications and 57 research scholars earned their Ph.D., degrees under his guidance. Dr. Santappa has contributed immensely to the environment protection activities. He was a member of the Task Force Committee constituted by the Chemical Club.