NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The University of Washington (UW)’s vice provost of innovation and the first Indian American to hold that position has died.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said that Vikram Jandhyala, 47, committed suicide and the manner of death was “asphyxia by drowning.”
UW President Ana Mari Cauce told the Northwest Asian Weekly, “Vikram was a unique mix of charismatic, dynamic, compassionate, and spiritual. He was both cool and geeky, and his belief in entrepreneurship for the common good inspired us all.”
The son of two physics professors, Cauce called Jandhyala “a scholar in every sense of the word. He took pride in teaching and mentoring students, as well as in his award-winning research in fields ranging from design thinking to computational and data science.”
In 2014, the Northwest Asian Weekly honored Jandhyala at its Diversity at the Top dinner. He has also received many honors including the Inventor Award from NASA in 2008 and Outstanding Research Advisor Award from the Department of Electrical Engineering at UW in 2004.
Jandhyala is survived by two sons, ages 5 and 7, according to a GoFundMe page seeking financial support to cover basic living costs for his children.
His wife, Suja Vaidyanathan, writes on that page that she and Jandhyala remained married, but had lived separate lives for a few years.
“Vikram was a complex person and our relationship was equally complex,” Vaidyanathan wrote. “The pressures of two high-stress careers, raising young children, and some incompatibilities took a toll on our marriage. We could have worked through one or two of these pressures but our relationship couldn’t take all three.”
Vaidyanathan said that the years they lived separately “were actually some of the best times we had together” and that the kids adored their father.
“Vikram introduced the kids to robotics, Rubik’s cubes, cricket, and cooking. They loved going to his house and especially loved the maker space he created, the plants growing under the UV lights, and his cat.”
Cauce said, “Whether it was exploring the sights and tastes of our region with his sons or the time he put into studying new fields and in fostering new connections, he was always seeking to learn something new. It was Vikram’s curiosity that I’ll remember — and miss — the most.”
Details on a celebration of his life will be forthcoming.
See related article on Publisher’s Blog: Overcoming depression.