The Case Western Reserve University community is mourning the loss of staff member Anand Kadambi (CWR ’06), who died unexpectedly last week. He was 38.
A kind and gentle soul since childhood, he often thought of others before himself and was always willing to offer a helping hand.
When Anand was 6, his family got a note from his teacher that his class won a pizza party for contributing the most money for a school fundraiser. Of the total contribution, most of it was from one person.
“Anand contributed $60—all the cash he had [received] from his birthday,” said Jaikrishnan (Jai) Kadambi, his father and Case Western Reserve University emeritus professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “I saw that and I asked him, ‘[Why] did you contribute all of your cash gifts—you could have bought something?’”
His son’s response? “Dad, [their] needs were much more than my needs, so I gave it away.”
Anand joined the university in 2019 first as a grant specialist and most recently worked as assistant manager of funded projects for Case School of Engineering’s departments of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and civil and environmental engineering.
He received his bachelor’s degree with concentrations in psychology, sociology and economics from CWRU in 2006. He went on to receive two master’s degrees, one in public administration from the University of North Florida in 2009, and another in urban studies from Cleveland State University in 2014.
After working for Cleveland-area startup Splashlink for three years, Anand found his way to Case Western Reserve, where his father had served for more than three decades as a professor and associate chair of his department.
At the university, Anand was responsible for pre- and post-award grants management, helping faculty prepare and submit grant applications. His efforts were critical to sustaining and growing the department’s research momentum—and supporting faculty career development.
Within two years, Anand was promoted to assistant manager. Robert Gao, the Cady Staley Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, said Anand took great pride in his work.
“He was always actively engaged when assisting faculty submitting proposals, and he shared their happiness when their proposals got funded,” said Gao. “It was his supportive, helpful and engaging attitude that made him a much liked and respected colleague in the department.”
Gao said Anand’s sudden passing “has left a hole in the hearts of many of his colleagues” and “he will be dearly missed.”
Anand also had a way of lightening the mood, according to his supervisor, Angelika Szakacs, academic team leader and business manager.
“When I would walk into the office and it was a high stress time for all of us, he would see me walk in and just say, [with a straight face], ‘I still like working here,’” she said. “Anand was a joy to work with—he was funny and collegial and a great team member.”
After learning of Anand’s death, many of his colleagues reached out to his family. Jai said those who interacted with his son “have great regard and great respect for him.”
They told Jai how many hearts his son touched, and how he was kind, professional and present.
“He was such a good son and a most decent young man,” one person wrote.
They also mentioned how he often demonstrated wisdom and patience, seen when Anand trained Thomas McNamara, a grant specialist in the office as of last year.
“We often discussed our lives outside of the office,” McNamara said. “He held his family very close to his heart. He loved and respected each member and was always empathetic to their needs, opinions and experiences.”
Anand is survived by his parents, Jai and Sudha Kadambi; sister, Priya; brother-in-law, Nirjhar; nephews, Arjun and Sachin; niece, Sumeera; and extensive circle of family and friends. Funeral services occurred May 29 at Busch Funeral Home in Parma.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests a donation to The Nature Conservancy, as Anand was passionate about sustainability and nature conservancy.
Students who would like support during this time are encouraged to contact counseling services at 216.368.5872. This line is staffed by a counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Faculty and staff can access counseling at any time by calling IMPACT Solutions at 1.800.227.6007; they can learn more about their programs at myimpactsolution.com.