Sadiq Shah, a former Cal Poly Pomona administrator with extensive expertise in research in academia, died March 21 after a brief illness.
Shah, associate vice president emeritus for research, innovation and economic development, worked at the university from 2016 until his retirement in 2021. In his role, he was tasked with growing the university’s reputation for research and helping to secure external funding among other duties.
He went on to serve as a special consultant in the California State University Chancellor’s Office from May 2022 until his death.
S. Terri Gomez, associate provost for student success, equity and innovation at Cal Poly Pomona praised Shah for his tireless dedication, broad range of knowledge, and kind and supportive nature.
“I had the privilege of working with him as part of the Academic Affairs leadership team. Under his leadership, the Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development significantly enhanced the research capacity at Cal Poly Pomona by encouraging interdisciplinary research and scholarly collaborations,” Gomez said. “He will be remembered as an extraordinary colleague who was always ready to partner and support our research initiatives. He was deeply committed to mentoring faculty and staff, and he brought a wealth of experience to this campus. During his time at CPP, we secured a number of major federal grants that benefited from his close collaboration.”
Cecilia Santiago-Gonzales, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives for student success, recalled her experience working with Shah on submitting an important grant a few years ago.
“I always appreciated his thoughtful feedback and guidance during the process, especially as we were new to writing federal grants,” she said. “While I didn’t interact with him extensively beyond that opportunity, it didn’t take much effort to notice that he cared deeply about making CPP a better place and got excited about the possibilities that new resources could provide to our faculty, staff and students.”
Jessica Wagoner, senior associate vice president of enrollment management and services, recalled how friendly and welcoming Shah was when she arrived on campus in 2018.
“He was such a kind and thoughtful man. I enjoyed how he always sent me a holiday card, even this last year,” she said. “When we were coming out of the pandemic, a group of us decided to have lunch together, and Sadiq was able to join us. It was so wonderful to see him. He was such aa wonderful colleague and partner. He will be greatly missed.”
In his most recent role as special consultant, Shah advised the Chancellor’s Office on technology transfer and pursuing state funding opportunities.
He also recently served two years as the chair of the Council of Chief Research Officers, an organization of representatives from all 23 CSU campuses in which the members share best practices.
Ganesh Raman, assistant vice chancellor for research, said he knew Shah well because they both worked in research and were members of the council.
“He had a very deep knowledge of domain expertise in area of developing research at academic institutions,” Ganesh said. “Sadiq was very well spoken, very gentle to work with, very respectful and willing to help other campuses.”
Before coming to Cal Poly Pomona, Shah was the vice provost for research and sponsored projects at the University of Texas, Pan American, in Edinburg. He simultaneously served as the interim vice president for research at the University of Texas, Brownsville, helping to facilitate the merger of the offices of research at the two campuses as the institutions became one and served on the transition team for the launch of the new university.
Prior to his work in the University of Texas system, he served as the associate vice president for research and economic development at Western Kentucky University. He also previously worked at CSU Channel Islands, serving as the associate vice president for research and sponsored programs, and at Western Illinois University as the director of its Entrepreneurship Center Network.
He also has worked in research and development for corporations, edited and co-edited books on chemistry and corrosion, authored dozens of journal articles and held multiple patents.
Shah earned a bachelor’s in chemistry and a master’s in inorganic chemistry from the University of Preshawar in Pakistan. He received a master’s in physical chemistry from Washington State University and a master’s in physical organic chemistry from the University of the Pacific. He earned his doctorate degree in physical-inorganic chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis.
He is survived by his wife, Faith Shah, and daughters Anya and Ariel.
The Chancellor’s Office will host a Zoom tribute to Shah on Thursday, April 6 from 5 to 5:30 p.m. PST.