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Shama Gamkhar Memorial

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Shama Gamkhar

Shama Gamkhar Graduate Fellowship:

As a fitting way to honor her legacy and memory, the LBJ School seeks to raise funds to establish an endowed graduate fellowship in Shama Gamkhar's name. To make a one-time gift online to this fellowship endowment visit


awful news

I'll miss you Shama. If I'd known you were so close, in Austin, I'd have reached out and reconnected. I have very fond memories of Delhi University, and when we both were in Bombay. All the parties! I'm so glad to have known you. Peace. Sunil Kapur

The most wonderful person I have met!

I don't think the tragic loss of such a wonderful person will ever sink in. I was a student at the ME department in 2008-2010 and was working with Dr. Eaton and Dr. Gamkhar on water problems in Pakistan. We had been in touch even after I had left and the last time I 'saw' Dr. Gamkhar was on skype. Always busy yet always making time for all her students. That is what Dr. Gamkhar was like. When I was confused about academic decisions or when I was feeling homesick she always knew what to say and was always willing to help. I have yet to meet a professor who had so much to do and yet made everyone feel so special, taking time out to talk and advise. She told me of her marriage on a con call and seemed so very happy. I am glad that she was happy near the end and seeing this memorial page I know that I am not the only one who is missing her! She will always remain in the hearts of the people she touched and helped by being there for them. I hope that you can see all this love Dr. Gamkhar. You truly deserve it!

I had Dr. Gamkhar for PFM

I had Dr. Gamkhar for PFM last year. She was very sweet and devoted to her students. It was a large class but it didn't take her long to learn the name of every one of us. She had a genuine interest in each of her students and was helpful and patient when I came to her office with questions and concerns. I miss seeing her in the hallways.

I will never forget about you!

Dear Shama, I will never forget about you. No matter in the classes of highway funding, or the brief talks we had in your offices, you were always a patient and caring person. I remeber you looked at me with true care, you understood how hard for a foreigner who was trying hard to learn to speak and behave like a native, you told me how important it is to cherish family in a person's life, you brought tea, cookies, and fun to our classes... We shared stories of each other, no matter happy or sad. To me, you are not only my professor, but also my friend.

Focused and Reassuring Professor

I was a student of Professor Gamkhar at LBJ in 1999-2001. She had an incredible ability to make a complex topic (public financial management) easy to understand and relevant for my professional development. Her calm, reassuring teaching style left such an impression on me, that to this day I still remember her gentle smile when I finally understood her explanations. I had terrible doubts about whether I would be able to succeed in her class, but she broke-down the lessons in a way that were easy to understand. I always looked forward to learning from her and happily completed all my homework so that I would not disappoint her. I am so greatful to her for all her lessons. I am consoled by the fact that she educated so many professionals in the field of public policy, which is a legacy that will live on for generations to come. My deepest and most heart-felt condolences to her family and loved ones. Joel Aldape Los Angeles, California


Professor Shama was a very welcoming professor who worked tirelessly to help her students in not only academic matters but also she was so social and very kind. She made me feel easy with my classes, because we had time to look at the LBJ course requirements every semester before registration period. Her fond memories will be with me forever. My heart is with her family.

Enriched Our Lives

My wife and I knew Shama for only nine years, but how glorious they were! As soon as she found out what my interests were, she invited me to be a guest lecturer for some of her classes at the LBJ School. I noticed how seriously she took her job of teaching and research and how deeply she cared about her students. Helping others was paramount for her and helping her students even more so. She was a voracious reader and would share so many interesting reading materials – books, scholarly articles from journals, and magazine and newspaper stories. She enriched our lives with her bright smile, hearty laughter, quick wit and deep intelligence, and left us with so many delightful memories. We will always remember her, and I will miss her e-mails recommending interesting articles.

A severe loss

Professor Gamkhar was a rigorous instructor with a tender touch. Her tax policy class was one of my favorites at the LBJ School. She led inquisitive classroom discussions, poking at superficial thinking and challenging any incurious arguments we might proffer. She was a strong writer. She was demanding, but not callous or uncaring. She knew my name. Following an old tradition of professorship, she hosted an end-of-semester dinner and discussion at her house for my class. I always felt honored when a professor would invite me into their home. About a year ago, I attended an admitted-student-recruiting lunch where prospective students would rotate among tables that had one professor and one alumnus. Happily, I was the alumnus paired with Professor Gamkhar. She immediately recognized me and demanded that I fill her in on the details of my post-LBJ career. During the lunch, I thought we made a good team, actively fielding the students' questions. Afterwards, she earnestly invited me to keep in touch. I deeply regret not investing more effort to do so. She had a great smile. I will miss it. I will miss her.

A Caring, Kind and Dedicated Advisor

Shama was my public finance professor and the first reader of my Professional Report (LBJ Class of 1999). She was one of the most genuine, kindest, caring and dedicated human beings I have ever met. I am shocked and saddened by this news. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. She embodied what every educator should represent - compassion, intellectual curiosity, a passion for learning, perseverance, and most importantly -- great humility. She will be sorely missed and I owe a personal debt to her; her presence, influence and role in my professional and academic development have much to do with my current success and accomplishments. As Mr. Suri expressed, she led by example and her presence was a blessing.

You are in my thoughts and prayers

To the family and friends of Professor Gamkhar - I send you my deepest condolences. I was in her PFM class and found Shama to be a kind and compassionate professor. She was a tough teacher and we knew as students that it was her priority for us to learn and truly understand its application. I also remember her kindness and patience. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with the LBJ community. Sincerely, Carrie Paxton-Lamke '01

She will be missed.


Remembering Shama

Shama was the first reader for my PR. She was so thoughtful and encouraging. Her feedback and positive attitude made all the difference in getting through what for so many of my classmates was a harrowing experience. Even after graduation, a meeting with her was sure to leave me feeling positive and hopeful. Her death is a great loss to those of us in the LBJ community. My thoughts are with her family and friends. May she rest in peace.

We share your tragic loss

We share you and your school's tragic loss of Shama Gamkhar as she was a visiting scholar this summer at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Dean Mary Beth Walker and the public management department chair, Greg Lewis, join me in this expression of sympathy. I was her host here. She was a dear friend. I had the pleasure of joining several of your faculty at Shama's wedding to Sid here in Atlanta in 2010. My wife and I enjoyed socializing with Sid and Shama and will miss them both.

I wanted to let you know a little of her time here this summer. Shama used her office here almost every day. She would take the MARTA bus and train system to our downtown location early and stay late. She was excited and working very hard on the arrangements for her upcoming applied policy course on Central America energy policy in your masters program. She got to know many of our faculty members in economics and public management and she was quick to sit down and talk to our doctoral students. She found common ground with environmental economists working with Wally Oates (her own mentor) and those of us in applied public finance. She shared ideas with our Fiscal Research Center faculty and staff. In fact, she and I were embarking on a major study of the impact of tax law changes on tax-exempt securities with colleagues at Kentucky and Washington. I was away at a conference last week but she was here and had many conversations with faculty as she was preparing to fly back to Austin on Monday. She had postponed her planned trip to India in late July to stay and work on the upcoming course and finish some research. She said on many occasions that this summer was a very productive time for her. The trip to the Florida resort must have been planned as a nice capstone to her summer here with Sid. Such a tragic end.

If you don't mind me saying, we feel we lost a shared colleague.

We will miss Shama.


Bart Hildreth


Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

A Helpful, Caring Advisor

I never had Professor Gamkhar as an instructor, but visited with her several times this past fall for guidance and assistance regarding the graduate program. She was extremely gracious with her time, and always willing to pick up the phone or dash out an email when she didn't know the answer to a question asked of her. She always smiled and asked how I was when we saw each other around campus; you can sort of tell when people asking this are genuine, or doing so out of a sense of obligation - and Professor Gamkhar was always genuine. She clearly just enjoyed helping people. I will remember her fondly, and would like to offer my deepest condolences to her family for their loss.

So sad to hear this news

This is terrible, terrible news. I am so sad about Dr. Gamkhar's passing, and also, as I read from the news stories, the passing of her husband. I audited her PFM class when the recession first hit, and it was so helpful to hear her perception of different finance policy issues as we were all going through that time. She was passionate about the topics related to public finance and very interested in connecting with all of us individually. I wish that this could be undone somehow. I am very sad that she died before her time.

You will always live in our hearts!

I met Professor Shama during my first week at LBJ and half my homesickness was gone. She was always very kind and helped her students in every possible way. Every semester I will have trouble getting registered for my favorite classes (I was really slow) and every time she helped me out. I will never forget her warm smile and the Desi food she offered at her home. Rest in peace Professor Shama! you will always live in our hearts.

A great loss for LBJ School

I came to the LBJ School the same year that Shama joined the faculty and had the privilege of taking the first PFM class that she taught. In our class assignments Shama used to write such detailed comments that at times the length of her comments were longer than the actual class assignment. Later, I had the chance to work with Shama to coordinate the PhD Colloquium for a semester. She was very detailed-oriented and an outstanding and extremely hard-working researcher and teacher. She was also a very friendly and kind-hearted person. May she rest in peace. This is indeed a great loss for the LBJ School community.

Devoted teacher and beloved friend

She was devoted teacher, beloved friend and coauthor,she will be missed deeply. May God rest her soul in peace.

Sorry for your loss

I work and live in Alma, Bacon County, Georgia where the plane crash occurred. We didn't know the professor or her husband but the accident has touched our small community. We send our prayers up for there families in their time of sorrow. From reading about the professor and Dr. Shah, the world has lost two fine and talented people.

Rest in Peace

I really enjoyed meeting you and discussing different research projects, we will all do our best to continue the wonderful you have been doing. My deepest condolences to your friends and family.

A Terrible Loss

On behalf of the Austin Area Alumni Association, I would like to express our condolences for Professor Gamkhar and her family. This is a tragic loss for the LBJ community as she was such an inspiration for public service and human kindness. I wish everyone strength in recovering from this, and I hope we can all keep her memory in our hearts as we move forward and pursue the things that would make her proud.

Shama --a wonderful friend

so many memories of good times together…I will always remember your lovely smile, your warmth, your long plait, your passion for basketball, and your mad stories, including “Buck up Kashmir” retold the last time we met! I will miss you. May you and Sid be happy wherever you are.

Sincere Focused Caring Student

Shama was a student of mine at Sydenham College Mumbai while doing her Masters.Always a Caring ,serious student and Prim & Proper.Our Hearty condolence to her family .So much of good and cheer you spread RIP


Shama was a lovely cheerful person. I have very fond memories of her from Delhi, Mumbai, and most recently of the Delhi Gymkhana where I met her at her wedding Reception. Feel this loss terribly. Ashmita

Remember Shama

Shama was a generous and caring individual and a great mentor to me. She was a role model whose loss will be deeply felt by the faculty and students. My deepest sympathy to her friends and family.

Shama my dear

So many memories of good times together…I will always remember your lovely smile, your warmth, your long plait, your passion for basketball, and your mad stories, including “Buck up Kashmir” retold the last time we met! May you and Sid be happy wherever you are.

Professor Shama Gamkhar

During my 5 years study at UT, Shama remains one of my favorite professors and when I learned this tragic news, her smile came back to my memory as vividly as if she was talking to me yesterday, even though it has been over 8 years. I met Shama when I first came to the U.S, barely understanding any spoken english. Shama was patient, knd and warm, both as a professor and as a personal friend. Her kindness was especially important to me who felt was a loner at class due to my language problem. She will always be remembered dearly.

Deeply sorry

I am deeply sorry for the loss of a great professor, approachable and caring person. My condolences are with her family.

Remembering Shama

Like many others, I am deeply saddened and still coming to terms with the loss of Shama. This tragedy weighs heavily on so many, and I have not fully accepted it. Part of me still feels that I'll be able to swing by her office to say hi when I am next on campus and she will be there, smiling as always, ready to welcome me with a cup of tea from her electric kettle (the HEB chai was a favorite), and a kind, mentoring spirit. I met Shama, Prof. Gamkhar, in the fall of 2010, my first class of my first semester at the LBJ School. She was teaching Public Financial Management (PFM), a course I soon found was required for good reason. The teachings of the course (finance, economics, accounting, and fiscal administration) underpin all areas of public policy – how do you analyze financial operations and manage public sector financial resources? She was a brilliant mind and an extraordinary teacher. She had a genuine passion for public affairs and her interest was in conveying knowledge to students for their future careers, not in promoting herself. She also had a great sense of humor, and appreciated a group project where my classmates and I taped clip-art pears over the apples on our Mac computers as we began our financial analysis presentation on Pearland, Texas. I was fortunate to return to the classroom with Shama in the fall of 2011, this time as her teaching assistant for PFM. It was a morning class, so she got cups and tea and the trusty electric kettle together (along with piles of handouts!) every morning to welcome students. I saw again, this time with a "behind the scenes" pass, the devotion she had to students, knowledge, and improving our communities. She was never too busy to answer a question (from me or the students), she cared deeply about helping everyone understand the material, and she took a genuine interest in the lives of others. She had so many things she wanted to share to support the future careers of students, and was always disappointed the classes and the course itself couldn't be just a little bit longer. She held students to a high standard, but did so in a warm, supportive manner, where all you had to do was ask and she would help you understand. I will treasure my memories of Shama forever. My thoughts are with her and her husband's family and all of the lives they touched. Reading the remembrances posted here, it is clear just how many lives are better for knowing her. For me, I will use what she taught me, not just about the benefits of bond financing or how to analyze a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), but about how to treat others and live a life of intellectual curiosity, humility, and service. She embodies the LBJ spirit, and it is an honor to have known her. I am grateful for all that she has done and the person she was; I will miss her greatly.

shama your laughter sings

Dearest Shama, your laughter still rings, still sings in my head. in my memories you are laughing, your eyes crinkling until they are just pinpricks of light and intelligence. You were one of us, one of the Gang on the Run who made Delhi Univ that much a more fun place to be. you went on to achieve so much, went on to be so well loved and admired as all these posts show. but the shama we knew, the lasting impression, the image that remains is your laughter. and thank you for my very first introduction to Kashmiri food. it was love at first sight. I love you dear friend. I always will.

Remembering Shama

Reading the news this morning felt completely unreal to me. It brought back a host of memories. My first meeting with Shama at the LBJ School, my first research project ever with her, taking the environmental economics class, Shama as one of the faculty members of my dissertation committee. Most of all I remember Shama as a kind and thoughtful person. She was in DC in May for a conference and had sent me an email to see if I was free to meet up for lunch or dinner. I wish I had met her then. I wish I had kept in touch more frequently.

Thankful but Saddened

Professor Gamkhar helped shaped my incredibly positive experience at the LBJ School. She was highly perceptive and intellectually curious, and despite her obviously busy schedule was always willing to discuss an assignment or light-heartedly chat about weekend plans. Her loss seems unfair - and far too soon. I am thankful for the impact she made on my life and my thoughts and best wishes go to her family and loved ones.

Brief Encounter

I am a student of the EER program at the Jackson school, so I have not taken any classes with Dr. Shama. But I had a long talk with her the UT Energy Symposium, where we talked about energy and our interests, and then India and Pakistan, we laughed about the common things we had, such as "desi time", extravagant weddings, the north and south divide in the two countries, and about our perspectives of the east and the west once we moved to the USA. Although it was just one encounter I felt like I had known her for a long time. The loss of a lady with such warmth and kindness is a big one, and she will be missed.

Classmate's demise

Shama and I studied together in Loreto Convent Lucknow India.I lost touch after we passed our Senior Cambridge exam.My heart reaches out to her family. I am saddened at the news. So often we wish to reconnect with people we knew as children or when we were in our teens, but the hurly burly of life we keep putting it off

Saddened by the loss

I am so sad to here of Dr. Gamkhar's passing. Though an LBJ student, I actually first met her at the chocolate counter at Whole Foods. She was always smiling and very approachable. She has been a positive, caring advisor for her students. My thoughts go out to her family and others touched by her loss. Thank you, Shama, for your contributions to the LBJ School.

A tragic loss

I never had the honor of taking Shama's class, but I was fortunate to get to know her through the many events LBJ offered to students and alum. She was such an engaging person and I always enjoyed talking to her and learning from her. Her passing is a tragic loss, especially to the LBJ Community. She will be missed dearly.

We first met at the LBJ School in the Fall of 1996......

Shama and I started our journey at the LBJ School together - Fall of 1996. She began her tenure as Assistant Professor while I began my PhD study at the LBJ School. While I was doing fine with the core courses during those early days, I was having a hard time figuring out my dissertation topic. Shama graciously took me under her wing as her research assistant during the summer of 1997/1998. She was the one that introduced me to the literature in public finance, fiscal federalism and block grants. She taught me the fundamental concepts of public finance theory developed by her mentor, Wallace Oates of University of Maryland. While I started as her research assistant that summer, I ended the school year being her co-author on a peer-reviewed journal article that examined the fiscal effects of federal substance abuse block grants on state expenditure. I eventually decided to focus on this very same topic for my doctoral dissertation. Shama was definitely a huge influence on my decision. She supported me the whole time - serving as the co-chair of my dissertation committee. During my PhD study at the LBJ School, I owed tremendous amount of gratitude to many, many professors and researchers who mentored and guided me along the way. Many of them are still teaching at the School - Pat Wong, Chris King, David Warner, Chandler Stolp, Victoria Rodriguez, Jamie Galbraith, et al. The teacher that has profoundly shaped my academic learning was undoubtedly Shama. For this, I will always be grateful to her for being so kind, generous and patient to me. On behalf of my wife and daughter, I would like send our deepest condolences to her family and the entire LBJ community.


Shama, those wonderful memories of you, from way back in Miranda House, will always bring a smile; you will always be amidst us and an inspiration in our lives. Thank you so much for your warmth and friendship. Those times, growing up together were truly one of the best, I remember your laugh, your smile, those interesting stories you shared, meeting you dad, mum and sister….and you, always looking so ravishing and humming a tune. May you and Sid be happy wherever you are. Saroj

In Memory of Prof Gamkhar

While I never took a class from Prof Gamkhar, I came to know her through her role as a graduate advisor and through daily life at LBJ. She was a constantly warm and welcoming presence through Sid Richardson Hall and will be deeply missed. Sending thoughts and prayers to her family, close friends, and the many LBJ School Students and Alumni for whom she served as a mentor.

We will miss you

Shama, You were friends with my parents for years before I met you, but I remember your kindness and how very interested you were in the things happening around you. The time, for example, you emailed me to ask about a college paper my parents had mentioned. We hadn't met yet, but you wanted to know all about what I was writing, how you could help, and whether we might one day collaborate on a paper about how environmental policy always seems to disfavor the poor. It was enough to make any college sophomore beam with pride. My friends who took your course at the LBJ School spoke so highly of you. We will all miss you terribly. Abha

My dear sweet Shama......

Shama was a dear friend from our days in Mumbai back in 1978-1978 while we attended Sydenham College. She was wonderful, outgoing, kind, enthusiastic and spirited person. Over the years we kept in touch as we both journeyed through our lives. Apart from her professional accomplishments, she maintained her personal relationships with a warm and caring spirit. I had the honor of meeting Sid and was delighted that she found that special person. My thoughts and prayers are with their families and with Shama and Sid as they journey forth. Much love to both of them.

A deep loss

Dear Shama, You gave me an opportunity to work with you, and also extended a friendship that helped me grow into my new life in a new country. Kishore and I feel privileged to have known your unique warmth, generous spirit, and kind and ever-uplifting smile. Our sincere condolences to your and Sid’s families and to your LBJ family.

Deepest sympathy on behalf of incoming MPAff and MGPS students

On behalf of the incoming student cohort, I want to send my deepest sympathy to Shama's family and friends and very particularly to her colleagues on the faculty at the LBJ School and her students and former students. Though I had only spoken to Shama briefly at an LBJ open house, it was clear to me then (and even more so now that I have read the many dear tributes to Shama on this page) that she was a much-loved colleague, teacher and mentor. Her death is a profound loss for all whose lives were touched by her. We grieve with you.

With fond memories and sadness

I was fortunate to serve as a student representative on the LBJ Admissions Committee in 1998. Shama was one of the faculty members serving on the committee. Her dedication to the task at hand and her willingness to listen to the opinions proffered by me and fellow student, Stella Flores, was notable and admirable. I still recall a day in which I was bemoaning the lack of environmental policy classes available at LBJ and Shama looked up from one of the prospective student files, surprised, "Limited classes? I've taught environmental economics in the past. I didn't realize there was a demand here." The following year, she began to offer this much-appreciated course. She was an excellent listener and never, once, did I feel any judgment or attitude of superiority. I will always remember her warm smile and soothing voice. The last time I saw Shama was at a performance of Indian classical music and dance at the Texas School for the Deaf. I am sorry I didn't keep up with her and am deeply saddened by this tragic news.

Life will never be the same again

Shama, your heart of gold, purity of character, true friendship and our shared intellectual curiosity, I will not be able to find in one person, even if I walked to the ends of the earth. Our 44 year journey together is forever embedded in my heart. I already miss you. Rest in peace my friend. I have to believe that you are in a better place so that I can accept this tragic end. I am sure I will not walk alone in the hills and meadows, jazz sessions and in promoting climate change, a subject so dear to both of us. Wish your family and loved ones to also face this trauma with equanimity and positive spirit. We are all extremely proud that you made the trek from Lucknow to LBJ and brought your own personal qualities to your profession in such an admirable way. Peace be with you, my friend.

How are you Anjana. Rashi

How are you Anjana. Rashi Bhargava and I reconnected after 43 years.

My friend Shama

I have known Shama for a while now. I have seen her once every 6 weeks for the last 15 years or more. She would tell me about teaching and writing and her mom, her sister, her brother. Then Cid came into her life and we would talk about her relationship with him, his parents, his children, his sister. She would always see the positive side of everything and had such a great big heart. She was always late for her appointments and would laugh and say she was on "Indian Time". She always brought me Bendis from India and was delighted that I love to wear them. Her appointment with me is scheduled for noon on Wednesday, August 7th. I will miss seeing her tomorrow and forever. We were friends. She was my client, I was her hairstylist. How I love you sweet sweet Shama! You will be missed! Your Friend, Sondra

With deep appreciation

Dear Shama, This is so devastating to hear you are no longer with us. Thank you for everything you taught me in your PFM and Public Finance classes. Thank you for your genuine care and thoughtful advice you gave me that made a difference in my life. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and the countless hours you spent with me and my wife, and for being such an awesome friend. I will miss our communication, your sense of humor and positive attitude, you life stories and charming smile. You will always and forever be in my heart.

So grateful to have been her student

Professor Gamkhar was one of my favorite teachers when I was at LBJ from 2003-2006. They were stressful years as worked full time, launched a nonprofit, and took classes at LBJ. Professor Gamkhar let me tailor my class projects to whatever I needed to get the nonprofit off the ground. She came to our very first fundraiser. I remember looking out into the small crowd, seeing her warm smile, and feeling a rush of gratitude. That's still how I feel when I think of her. Thank you, Shama, for everything.

Legacy that will live on

What a terrible loss. Her contagious spirit and energy will live on. We'll miss you Shama.