Former Faculty Member Supports Students While Providing for Son

Photo of Asha and Anand Panwalker
Asha BS ’79 and Anand Panwalker

Anand Panwalker was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to Indian parents. He grew up in Kenya and returned there to practice medicine after earning a medical degree in India. In 1971, race-based violence led Anand to flee with his wife, Asha BS ’79, and their three-year-old son. They landed in Chicago where he took an uninspiring job at a hospital. Frustrated after two months there, he considered returning to Kenya when a fellow intern suggested he apply for an internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Medicine. That advice changed his life.

“I have seen how medicine is practiced in India and Africa,” says Anand. “When I came to UIC, I suddenly realized I don’t know enough, and there are people here who can teach me.” He flourished at UIC under the care of three mentors (Drs. Morton Bogdonoff, Clifford Pilz, and George Jackson) who helped him find his specialty in infectious disease and instilled in him the joy of caring for sick patients. “That’s really what I love,” he says.

As he worked his way from intern to faculty member, Asha earned her degree in nutrition and pursued a career she’d begun in India. Anand says, “She enjoyed UIC tremendously. She made great friends and graduated with high honors. And so, she and I both have a debt to the University of Illinois at Chicago.”

When Asha passed away last November, Anand searched for a way to honor their time at UIC while creating an income for their adult son. His answer came in the form of a deferred-payment charitable gift annuity that will pay his son lifetime fixed payments. The gift creates the Anand and Asha Panwalker Fund to provide need-based scholarships to UIC College of Medicine students while also benefiting a lectureship named after Dr. Pilz.

At age 76, Anand is still working, though he no longer sees patients. He says he hopes the scholarship will help students like himself. “I know what poverty can do to educational goals,” he says. “Throughout our lives we have tried to support young people who are in similar situations.”


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