Guelph goes organic - The Ontarion

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Guelph goes organic - The Ontarion

170.5 ◆ february 7th, 2013news 5Passing of professor affects students and facultyProfessor O.P.Dwivedi’s legacy liveson through the manylives he touchedKaralena McLean&Tom BlowerThe University of Guelph communityis mourning the loss ofone of its finest in Dr. OnkarPrasad (O.P.) Dwivedi. Dwivediwas known for his endless academicachievements as well ashis strong passion for life.Dwivedi was born near Bindkiin the state of Uttar Pradesh inIndia. He first came to Canada in1963 as an undergraduate student,eventually earning his doctoratein political science from Queen’sUniversity. Dwivedi then joinedthe University of Guelph in 1967where he taught environmentalpolicy, law, and public administration.Upon much success, heserved as chair of the Departmentof Political Science from1979 to 1990.Dwivedi retired in 2002;however, he continued toinstruct undergraduate and graduateclasses and mentor youngfaculty in an effort to ensure thecomfort, enjoyment and confidenceof new professors to theUniversity of Guelph. Dwivediwas a leading scholar whocontributed much to the fieldof political science, publishingmore than 30 books and over 115scholarly articles.In remembering Dwivedi,Nanita Mohan, a former studentand sessional lecturer atthe University of Guelph said,“Professor Dwivedi was suchan accomplished man that hisaccomplishments alone couldfill volumes.” During his life,Dwivedi served as president ofthe Canadian Political ScienceAssociation (CPSA), president ofthe Canadian Asian Studies Association,and vice-president ofSchools and Institutes of Administration.Dwivedi also acted asan advisor for major organizationssuch as: UNESCO, the WorldBank, UNO, WHO and CIDA.With these and many otheraccomplishments, Canada conferredupon him the honorarydegree of Doctor of Law (LL.D).Furthermore in 2008, the Universityof Waterloo honouredDwivedi with a Doctor of EnvironmentalStudies (D.E.S).In 2005, Dwivedi was also arecipient of the Order of Canada,the highest civilian orderone can receive in Canada, aswell as being a recipient of theQueen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.Additionally, Dwivedi was alsoa fellow of the Royal Society ofCanada.Dwivedi was known for muchmore than just his academicwork and accomplishments.What made Dwivedi so popularwas his dedication and genuineconcern for the well-being of notonly his students, but also manyof his peers. Associate ProfessorJordi Díez explains, “He made asignificant contribution in manyways, but one that truly has leftits mark has been his desire tomentor and support youngercolleagues.”Rajeni Chagar, a former studentof Dwivedi and now alecturer at the University, alsoremembers him as a great mentorwho, “took me under hiswing, encouraging me to dofield research in my Masters andnot to be scared to ask the hardquestions.”She continued, “He gave methe confidence to pursue a PhDand focus on issues that we spentcountless hours discussing overtea.” Dwivedi was also famous inthe department because of hisunbridled optimism. As Mohanexplained, “He exuded so muchpositive energy that it was reallydifficult to think he ever had abad day, even when he was notwell.” To this end, Gerie McCauleyremembers that the professor“never complained and stayedpositive until the very end.”Dwivedi also lived a life of philanthropy.After a trip to NorthIndia, he found that many peoplehad cataracts and were indire need of surgery. When hereturned home from his trip,Dwivedi and his family decidedto sell their summer home inWiarton and take their savingsto India to help build a hospital.In 2008, the Sushila Devi EyeHospital was established. Thehospital has doctors and fivetechnicians, along with a walkinclinic. In 2009, more than8,500 people were seen at thehospital for eye examinationsand tests, and 715 had cataractoperations. It provides free servicesfor patients and providesDr. Onkar Prasad (O.P.) Dwivedi’s philanthropic efforts are just oneaspect of his legacy.“…when Idie, I will takenothing withme, so why nothelp those whoare destituteand need to beempowered?”– Onkar PrasadDwivedipreference to women and girlsfrom rural areas who may havedifficulty getting treatment elsewhere.In his interview with AtGuelph, Dwivedi mentioned thatthe goal was to “do more than1,000 operations a year.”Dwivedi and his wife simply“stopped going on vacations” inorder to invest the money dedicatedto fun and relaxationtowards their many philanthropicendeavours. Additionally,using his life savings, Dwivedifunded the development of a juniorhigh school in rural India,which is named after one of hismentors at Queen’s University,John Meisel.Despite Dwivedi’s manyachievements, he never forgotwhere he came from, acknowledginghis humble beginnings.courtesy“I came from a poor family.When I arrived to Canada I had$10 dollars in my pocket. Andwhen I die, I will take nothingwith me, so why not help thosewho are destitute and need to beempowered?”Dwivedi was also knownaround campus for offering freeyoga classes every Friday in theUniversity Centre. In 2010, duringan interview with At Guelph,Dwivedi explained that fouryears prior to beginning hisclasses, his cardiologist had informedhim that the blood flowto his heart was blocked in fourplaces. Because surgery was notan option, Dwivedi turned topran yoga, and in an amazingturn of events, two years later,his cardiologist found that all ofthe blockages were gone.Upon experiencing the positiveeffects of pran yoga, hedecided to become a certifiedyoga instructor as a means toextend his passion for yoga tohis students and the rest of thestudent population at the Universityof Guelph; one of themany ways he reached out tothe University community.Dwivedi was a true role modeland spiritual leader who touchedmany lives and will be terriblymissed by University of Guelphand the broader community.The fact that he made such anindelible impression on his studentsand the community alikeis undoubtedly evident of hiswonderful, warm-hearted persona.In the words he so-oftenleft with students and peers whowere seeking peace, “om, shanti,om.”

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