By MONIKA SINGH
FAMILY, friends and former colleagues bid their final farewell to the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific Professor Rajesh Chandra on Monday November 20.
Professor Chandra passed away on November 16 after he lost his battle with cancer.
In its condolence message the USP management said the late Professor Chandra was the VC and President of the university from 2008 to 2018 and a USP alumnus.
He began his academic career with the university in 1976 as a Research Assistant and progressed over the ranks to be promoted to a Professorship in Geography in 1994.
Professor Chandra also made an indelible contribution to the universities management across a wide range of roles including Head of School of Social and Economic Development (1987-1988); Director, Planning and Development (1990-1992); Pro Vice-Chancellor – Academic (1990-1992); Head of Geography (1994-1996) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (1997-2005).
Professor Chandra served on numerous boards and associations and will be remembered for his tireless dedication to higher education across Fiji and the region.
The University delegation for the funeral service was led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jito Vanualailai.
The Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji and The University of Fiji extended their heartfelt condolences to Professor Chandra’s wife Dr Dharma Chandra and his grieving family.
The late Professor Chandra was held in high regard as he took the Vice-Chancellor position at a very critical time in the life of UniFiji by helping lay a strong foundation of Fiji’s first people’s university founded in 2005.
According to the Sabha the late Professor Chandra has left a strong professional legacy in local, regional and international academia.
Fiji National University acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba said the university was honoured to have been under the strategic guidance of the late Professor Chandra as Chancellor and Chair of the FNU Council in 2019.
Professor Nabobo-Baba said he strongly supported the need for the FNU to be transformed into a premier university through internationally accredited, relevant programs at both the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education levels.
Professor Chandra was cremated at the Dignified Crematory in Nakasi.