In Memory of Bhagyashree Kundalkar, Ph.D.
by Timothy J. Steigenga, Ph.D. | Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020
Bhagyashree (Shree) Kundalkar, Ph.D. passed away peacefully Saturday, January 25, surrounded by her family and grandchildren in her home. Dr. Shree was very appreciative of the outpouring of support and well-wishes she received from her colleagues, students, and former students over the past month. We are forever indebted to her for her tireless efforts on behalf of the college and her relentless positive demeanor, deep kindness, and willingness to take on new challenges.
Shree served as the director of Academic Support Services for Chemistry and Physics at the Wilkes Honors College where she taught General Chemistry labs for more than fifteen years. Shree received her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Pune, India and served as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. Prior to coming to FAU, Shree conducted research and worked in industry in water treatment and the development of polymers. Shree began her career at the Wilkes Honors College in 2004 as a chemistry lab coordinator and was promoted to assistant director in 2006 and then to director in 2011.
In recognition of her dedication, skills, and credentials, Shree was offered affiliate faculty member status by the faculty assembly in 2015. In 2018 she was nominated for the Gabor Exemplary Employee Award and in 2019 she was awarded the Presidential Leadership Award, one of the highest honors Florida Atlantic University has to offer faculty and staff. Shree’s tireless efforts developing the new physics lab on campus played a major role in this honor. Shree was always the first to volunteer for admissions and recruiting events and she played a key role in placing numerous students into internships and jobs after graduation.
For all of us who worked with Shree, learned from her in labs, or simply knew her as a colleague and friend, she was a constant source of positivity. Shree’s smile was infectious, her upbeat demeanor a respite in times of stress. She cared deeply about her students and colleagues and that care was obvious in her day-to-day interactions. As one of her students wrote to her: “I am grateful for my professors like you, who have helped me not only to find the tenacity required to reach my academic and career goals, but who also have left a lasting impression of compassion toward others.”
Shree’s family established a scholarship in her honor for students at the Wilkes Honors College of FAU. This scholarship celebrates Shree’s generosity, dedication, and enthusiasm as a faculty and staff member at the Wilkes Honors College and will benefit students for years to come. Please join me in thanking her family for this amazing act of generosity and for the gift that Shree has been to all of us as a colleague, professor, staff member, and friend. Information on the scholarship and a giving page. In lieu of sending cards or flowers, Shree’s family has requested that donations be made to the scholarship to honor Shree’s legacy as an outstanding educator, compassionate teacher, and professional staff and faculty member at the Wilkes Honors College.
We will be holding a celebration of Shree’s life on campus Friday, January 31 at 4:00 p.m. in SR 149 (in the back of the Burrow) followed by a brief reception. Please join us to honor Shree and share this time with her family.