McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Vasu Chanchlani remembered as pillar of Indo-Canadian community

Published: September 19, 2014
Vasu Chanchlani
Vasu Chanchlani

A memorial will be held Sunday for Vasu Chanchlani, the well-respected businessman whose gift established the Chanchlani Research Centre at McMaster University. He died Sept. 7 at age 62.

Born in India, Chanchlani came to Canada in 1979 and led a series of highly successful business endeavours in the technology sector as co-founder of the Sigma Group of Companies.

Described by many as a "great Canadian" and "pillar of the community," the Mississauga resident was admired for his contributions to strengthening the relationship between Canada and India, and for his transition to philanthropy during the past decade.

He and his wife, Dr. Jaya Chanchlani, founded the Chanchlani Foundation, a charity dedicated to promoting research. Their donations to universities included $1 million to establish the Chanchlani Research Centre at McMaster in 2012.

The centre, led by Dr. Sonia Anand, is dedicated to understanding the genetic and environmental causes of chronic diseases among diverse cultural groups, women and the socially disadvantaged while providing innovative training to the next generation of health researchers.

The couple also endowed $500,000 at McMaster for the annual Chanchlani Global Health Research Award which funds an annual prize for research on heart disease and diabetes.

"Vasu Chanchlani was among the best of men, as he wanted to have ongoing impact through supporting research that would have substantial impact on people's health. He has that legacy, but he has left us much too soon," said Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president of McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences.

Anand, a professor of medicine, added: "Vasu's commitment to improving the health and well-being of all people was remarkable."

Chanchlani also gave funds to several other universities, and he was a founding member of the Canada India Foundation, a national, non-profit organization that fosters support for stronger bilateral relations between Canada and India.

Chanchlani is survived by his wife Jaya and children Sonia, Tina and Neil.

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