College Policy Debate Forums

DISCUSSION => Open Topic -- Any issue => Topic started by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 06:59:30 PM



Title: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 06:59:30 PM
I just heard the devastating news that Raja Gaddipati, a former MBA and Northwestern debater, passed away suddenly.  He was 36 years old and leaves a wife and two small children.  My heart goes out to all of my MBA and Northwestern friends that are hurting today.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:00:02 PM
From Alan Coverstone:

Raja Gaddipati was certainly one of the most talented and hard working people I was ever privileged to coach. In recent years, however, I have been even more proud to see him grow into the wonderful husband and father he became. Those are the legacies that matter, and Raja gave them his all. I am devastated, but my thoughts and prayers are with his family today and always. Thinking of Emma, Lila, and Sophia. Rest, well, my friend.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:00:36 PM
Daryl Burch

OH NO!!! my prayers are out to his family.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:00:53 PM
Jayne Craig-Smith

So sad! So young!!


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:01:31 PM
Stefan Bauschard

Devastating. I knew Raja mostly as a competitor, first in his time at MBA with Alan Coverstone and then as an outstanding debater at Northwestern. He was among the best I ever had the chance to judge and his energy and enthusiasm for what he did was incredible.

I never met his own family, but I've enjoyed seeing him and them on Facebook over the last five+ years. A really beautiful family.

I'm so sorry.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:02:06 PM
Jo Norris Palmore

 I am shocked. Raja was an outstanding student and a remarkable young man when I knew him at MBA. So, so sorry to learn of his passing. Prayers for his family and friends.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:02:30 PM
Nermin Ghali

I’m so sorry and so saddened by this news. I’ve always respected and looked up to Raja, and he was always nothing but kind and constructive in his dialogues with me over the course of his judging me during my debate career. He was a great man. RIP, my dear friend and colleague.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:02:53 PM
David Glass

terrible news; condolences!! what a loss...


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:03:21 PM
Kenda Cunningham

No words re: this terribly sad loss but all who are grieving are in my thoughts.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:03:41 PM
Yonatan Neril

Raja holds a warm place in my heart. I remember being at debate camps with him 20 years ago and sharing deep laughs together. May his memory be a blessing.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:05:24 PM
Dan Shalmon

The worst possible reason to suspend my Facebook hiatus: Raja Gaddipati passed away suddenly on Monday. As much as any coach, Raja shaped my approach to debate, and life generally. He was, quite simply, the hardest-working, most ruthlessly effective policy debate strategist I have ever met. I feared and respected him as a competitor and loved coaching with him more than I can put into words. Like Duck, he wrapped a kind heart and generous soul in a cloak of often hilariously mean-son-of-a-bitch-ness. More than anyone else I have known, he embodied the famous epitaph: "[there was] no better friend, and no worse enemy." **

By force of example, he made me better in every aspect of life. Over the last few years, I neglected our friendship and took for granted that he would always be there towering over me (both literally and figuratively). Because it's so easy to reconnect with debate folks after not seeing each other for years, I've done a poor job of staying engaged with you all... and I'm going to be dealing with that for a while. If I send you a maudlin message of reconnection, just blame Raj.

In the meantime, I'm helping Jeff Gaunt organize some debater-specific things for those attending the funeral this Monday in Chicago. A dinner and some times to hang out, drink and mourn are likely. I know that child care is an issue for my family, and I'll be trying to address that as well--comment or email me if you need help on that front as well (firstname.lastname @ gmail).

I'll post details in the comments below as I get them. If you want to help out the family, also say so in the comments or email-there's a process in place.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:05:59 PM
Dan Shalmon

Here's what we have so far:

Services will be held sometime Monday (January 8) in the Chicago area. When I have more details on time/place, I will put them up here.

On Sunday, there will be a visitation from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Donnellan Family Funeral Services, 10045 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie.

There is a process in place to sign up to provide food, child care or other help to the family. If you want to do so, email me at my gmail address (firstname.lastname).

We are working on putting together some social gatherings for the debate community members. When we have an evite or some other mechanism to RSVP, it'll be posted here.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:06:19 PM
Marie A Dzuris

Another person I connected with because of debate..too young..too soon. It just makes my heart hurt


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:06:36 PM
Victoria Suarez-Palomo

 Oh my gosh Dan, this is heartbreaking news. I am so sorry to hear. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you. My heart goes out to you, Raja’s family, and the broader debate fam.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:06:59 PM
Rahul Jaswa

Heartbreaking. The two of you were my first lab leaders at Northwestern during freshman year summer.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:07:16 PM
Michael Horowitz

Such sad news. . . .


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:07:36 PM
Dan Shalmon

Update: Funeral services will take place on Monday, January 8, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60661 with reception to follo


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2018, 07:07:56 PM
Randy Luskey

 "There was no better friend, and no worse enemy." Could never have said it better myself. Exactly how I felt about Raja in debate.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 04, 2018, 10:56:39 AM
Tina Broder

Very well said and couldn't agree more. Hard to believe it's been 2 decades since all those many hours spent at camp and tournaments with Raj. I'm shocked and saddened to hear that he is gone. What a powerful impact debate and the many friends I made through it still has on my life. Thank you.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 04, 2018, 10:58:36 AM

Dan Shalmon

Here is Raja's full obituary, including information on the visitation and services:

Raja S. Gaddipati, age 36, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on January 1, 2018. He was born on June 24, 1981 in Nashville, Tenn., to Sambasivarao and Parvathi (Gogineni). Raja married his sweetheart Emma Power, with whom he had two beautiful daughters, Lila Rose and Sophia Grace.

Raja attended high school at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, where he excelled in debate, leading the team to a national championship in 1999. He continued his debate career on scholarship at Northwestern University, helping the team win national titles in 2002 and 2003. He graduated from Northwestern in 2003, and earned his Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2006.

Raja’s professional career as an attorney blossomed at DLA Piper, an elite global law firm. He was quickly recognized for his legal acumen and skill which were bolstered by his unique blend of insight, confidence and judgment. He advanced to partnership at a young age. From there Raja went on to receive a number of professional accolades and recognitions for his exceptional lawyering. Raja represented Fortune 500 companies in important litigation matters across the country.

Within the Firm, Raja was recognized as a leader by his partners who appointed him chair of the Chicago Hiring Committee and as a representative on the Firm’s Policy Committee, among numerous other leadership positions. Raja also served as a valued mentor to many junior attorneys who benefited from his generous gift of time and patience. He was a fierce proponent of diversity and inclusion to the benefit of the legal community. Within the profession, Raja leaves behind a legacy as a brilliant advocate with a stellar reputation for unyielding integrity.

At home, Emma and Raja’s passion was their two daughters: every moment of their free time together was dedicated to nurturing Lila and Sophia. He was an avid coach and vocal supporter at their numerous activities. Raja never missed a ballet recital, soccer game, or parent-teacher conference.
Throughout his life’s journey, Raja’s kindness, compassion and generosity are what drew everyone to him.

Raja is survived by his beloved wife, Emma; daughters, Lila Rose and Sophia Grace; parents, Sambasivarao and Parvathi; grandfather, Chandrasekhar Rao; brother, Vamsi (Lauren); uncle, Nagaiah (Radhika); cousins, Sunina, Chandana, Giri, Latha (Prasad), Goutham, Rajesh (Pujitha), Ramya (Prakash), Vamsiraja (Haritha), Aakash, Aravind, and Yashwanth; brothers-in-law Brian (Jill) and Conor; sisters-in-law, Krystyna, Kathryn (George) and Jennifer (Daniel); nephews, Nolan, Noah, Oliver, and Liam; nieces, Michaela and Nora.

He is predeceased by grandparents, Gantamma, Raja Gopal Rao, Venkayamma and father-in-law, Brian.

Visitation will commence on Sunday, January 7, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 pm at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077. Funeral services will take place on Monday, January 8, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60661 with reception to follow.

For those looking to make a tax-deductible charitable contribution in Raja’s honor, please consider:
Urban Initiatives at urbaninitiatives.org and note “In Honor/Memory of Raja Gaddipati”


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 04, 2018, 12:24:12 PM
Randy Luskey

One of the very best indeed. Still having trouble processing all of this, but I'm glad to see that you are helping the family march forward. Sorry for your loss, Dan. I know how close you guys were.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 06, 2018, 12:24:45 PM
Kevin Hamrick:

It was with a touch of melancholy that we kicked off the 36th Billy Tate Southern Bell Forum this morning. Robbie Quinn gave a lovely eulogy for the late great Raja Gaddipati. Christian Sedelmyer and Dave Goldenberg performed some beautiful original tunes. We'll be paying tribute to Coach Tate and Raja all weekend here in Nashville and thinking of those gathering on the North Shore to celebrate Raja's life.


Title: Re: Raja Gaddipati
Post by: SherryHall on January 06, 2018, 12:46:24 PM
Dan Shalmon

For friends of Raja: apologies for the long post, but I need to summarize the logistics over the next few days and ways that everyone can donate, communicate their condolences and otherwise support the Gaddipati/Power family. There are new items not covered in previous posts. PLEASE: as a personal favor to me, and for his ladies' sake-I would ask everyone with good memories or strong feelings to contribute to the memory book described below. Also, if you think friends of his might not see this post, and could write something, PLEASE forward.

Even brief or seemingly-minor-but-memorable interactions like judging or a lab session reveal something about a person's character. Lila and Sophia deserve to know how awesome their dad was. From experience, we know that books of memories and kind words from friends can really help kids who lose their parents at a young age.

The information below is split into two headings. First are ways to engage with his family or donate in his name, and second are logistics for the weekend.

This includes a few new items I haven’t covered in previous posts. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions.

Ways to engage and help:

· A scholarship fund is being set up for Raja’s daughters, Lila and Sophia. If you already donated money through the Meal Train website, at this link https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/0n204z, that money will be put toward the scholarship fund. For others who would like to donate, you can use the link above, or I will provide information specifically on the fund when I know more.

· Donations may also be made in Raja’s memory to Urban Initiatives, here: http://www.urbaninitiatives.org/, with the note “In Honor/Memory of Raja Gaddipati”.

· We are coordinating a memory book – something with notes (typed or hand-written), pictures, etc. that will be bound over the next few months and given to Emma and the girls. There are a few ways to participate. At the visitation and funeral reception, there will be a memory box with paper, pens and markers, for people to draft personal notes, memories, etc. Also feel free to bring pictures if you have them. Alternatively, you can email notes, thoughts, pictures, etc. to gaddipatifriends@gmail.com or, if you want to send hard copies by mail them, contact me directly. I'll give you my address.You can message me on Facebook, or email me - firstname.lastname at gmail.

· Friends are also putting together a slideshow for this weekend. The deadline to submit is noon tomorrow, and submissions can be made here: https://www.tributeslides.com/up/191896019363.

This weekend:

· Visitation is 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 West Adams Street, Chicago, with a reception to follow.

· For folks who will be in town on Saturday, we will have an ad-hoc gathering in the late afternoon/evening at the Hardy House. Here’s a link if you will be in town and would like to attend: https://www.facebook.com/events/404081926694344/.

· Following the visitation at Sunday, we have a private room booked at il Porcelinno, 59 W. Hubbard Street, Chicago. The cost for dinner is $40/person plus gratuity, and there will be a cash bar. If you’re interested, here is a link so we can get an accurate headcount: https://www.facebook.com/events/1953742098279140/.

- We have access to child care during the visitation/funeral, so if you need help with this, please contact me or Jeff Gaunt.

That’s all for now. Thank you to Jeff Gaunt, Tristan Morales, and the many others who are helping with all of the logistics, arrangements, ideas and support for Emma and the girls.