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Payal Sakhare, Graduate Student in the Gabelli School of Business, Dies at 28

Payal Sakhare, a graduate student in the Gabelli School of Business who was devoted to service, sustainability, and making a better world for others, died on Nov. 6 after a battle with cancer. She was 28.

Sakhare, originally from Khopoli, India, had enrolled in the Master of Science in Global Finance program in fall 2021 and was on track to graduate in 2023. She had dreamed of living and studying in New York, said her sister, Nikita Craven, who lives in the U.K. She described her sister as thoughtful, insightful, and reflective, a loving person who made others feel better by her very presence.

“She was just an amazing human being,” Nikita Craven said. “Everywhere she went, people just loved her. She was very kind and cared about people a lot.”

Sakhare earned a bachelor’s degree in 2015 from Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce in Pune, India. In 2018, she earned a master’s degree from the Welingkar Institute of Management in Mumbai, India, where she received an Achiever’s Award for outstanding performance and contribution to the institution. When choosing a graduate school, she decided on Fordham in part because of its small classes and the more personal attention they afford, Craven said.

Since 2016, she had held jobs and internships in the shipping, management services, and energy sectors, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was a business associate Hindustan Petroleum Corporation; a tax solution consultant with Karvy Data Management Services in Mumbai; and a summer intern with Seasky, a shipping company in Mumbai.

From January to June of this year, she served as a research and development specialist with Peterson Projects and Solutions in Malaysia, working to advance its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities.

Over the past few years, she volunteered with Lions Club International, supporting projects in India that advanced health care and environmental protection and met children’s needs. Since February 2021, she had served as a junior board member with Net Impact, an international nonprofit working to build a more just and sustainable world.

Sakhare loved traveling and experiencing new cultures, and stayed with a family in Russia a few years ago as part of an exchange program, Nikita Craven said. Sakhare was creative and artistic and wrote poems and articles that she published online, she noted. She said that over the past few years, since her first bout with cancer—breast cancer—in 2018, her sister had started to turn away from her business-related career ambitions and spoke of living on an ashram and pursuing a life of spirituality and service.

One of Sakhare’s friends and a fellow Fordham student, Sarah Hilary Dias, said she “was a bright soul, always laughing and eager to help everyone,” and “a strong believer” in sustainability. Another friend, Juhi Paranjape, described her as fun loving, bright, caring, and adventurous, “always up for exploring new places, cuisine, activities.”

“One of the qualities I admired the most about her was her ability to face any problem that came along with a smile,” said Paranjape, also one of Sakhare’s fellow Fordham students.

Sakhare died at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. “Even in the hospital, the doctors said, ‘You are one of the best patients I ever met,’” Nikita Craven said.

Asked about the possibility of making gifts in her sister’s memory, she said her sister might have suggested giving to a cancer-related charity. “I think … she would like that, if it helps somebody else in need,” Craven said.

Payal Sakhare’s other survivors include her father, Uday Sakhare; her mother, Poonam Sakhare; and her brother-in-law, Jack Craven. A funeral and cremation immediately followed her passing, and there have been 13 days of observance in keeping with Hindu tradition, Craven said.

“I am sure she is going to be missed by everyone,” Nikita Craven said. “It’s our loss, but it’s her gain, in a way, too. She’s not in pain anymore. That’s what matters.”

Payal Sakhare’s family published a book in her memory that includes her poetry and photographs from her life.


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