In Memoriam: Navjot Sodhi (1962-2011), “May his soul rest in peace!”

Navjot Sodhi Memorial Slides, 19 Jul 2011
Click to view and download his memorial slides

The department held a simple memorial for colleague, supervisor and friend Navjot Sodhi at Lecture Theatre 32 on Tue 19 Jul 2011. The memorial was attended by department staff, students, the provost and members of the community who knew him and who worked with him. The memorial was observed by his two children whose presence we were honoured to have with us that afternoon.

His long-time lunch buddy Prakash Kumar hosted the memorial and after Paul Matsudaira welcomed us all, representatives stepped forward to celebrate his quirkiness from the time of his recruitment (T J Lam), the development of his academic career (Richard Corlett), his regional field trip escapades (Tommy Tan) and his mentorship of research students (David Bickford).

Student awards in Navjot’s name
The department is working on the following:

  1. The “Navjot Sodhi Award” for top graduating undergraduate student in the faculty’s environmental biology program. The award and a $1000 prize will be bestowed to the best student in the environmental biology major every year during commencement. This award will honour the substantial contributions Navjot made to biology education in general as well as the training of young talents in conservation and environmental biology. Close to $40,000 has been raised from donations within the department thus far and the fundraising activity continues for some time in the hope of reaching a target of $75,000. This would make it an endowed prize to be awarded perpetually, otherwise, as an expendable account, it will be presented until the fund is exhausted, i.e. it will already exist until 2051.
  2. The “Navjot Sodhi Graduate Scholarship in Environmental Biology”will be awarded to the top two students entering into the graduate program in environmental biology. These scholarships will help ensure that his legacy in conservation biology and environmental sciences will be continued by new generations of researchers.

Independently, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) has established a Memorial Fund for Navjot Sodhi.

Prakash reflected on his life and ended the memoriam by giving his long-time friend a heartfelt farewell on behalf of us all:

“I take the liberty to try and capture the essence of Sodhi with the following words: Reliable and close friend, proud father, equally proud supervisor, outspoken colleague with an infectious sense of humor (which he tried to suppress), established an enviable international reputation in a relatively short career.

In short, someone we cannot forget at all. Please join me in remembering the great deeds of Navjot Sodhi once more. May his soul rest in peace!”

For thoughts of many others who knew him, see “Remembering Navjot Sodhi: lecturer, mentor, colleague and friend.”

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