Anand Baiju remembered for incredible selflessness, work ethic

Civil engineering student worked two part-time jobs, always made time for family and friends

Anand Baiju remembered for incredible selflessness, work ethic

Anand Baiju, a second-year Civil Engineering student at the University of Toronto, drowned at U of T’s land surveying camp in Minden, Ontario on September 4. He was 18 years old.

Baiju is remembered by those who knew him for his unwavering dedication to his family.

In the first year of his studies, Baiju balanced a full-time course load with part-time jobs as a security guard and a fast-food worker. He worked these jobs to fund his education, since his family was “not that financially sound to support his institution,” said Manoj Gopinath, Baiju’s uncle. Baiju also sent money back to his parents.

Kaifkhan Kalyani, a close friend of Baiju since fifth grade, said that Baiju “had the whole family on his shoulders.”

Baiju often said to his parents, “‘Don’t worry, I will take care of the family once I graduate from Engineering,’” recalled Gopinath. “He always told his dad, ‘You won’t have to go to work. I will take care of the family.’ He was a very responsible kid… He had a great love for his family.”

Baiju also cared greatly for his little sister, who recently turned 12 years old. Gopinath recalled how Baiju would regularly buy gifts for her with his earnings.

“The last one I remember was that he bought a doll for her… he thinks of her; he buys something in a very loving and caring [way],” said Gopinath.

To plan out his time between studying, working, and spending time with his family, Baiju met several times with Jennifer Fabro, the First-year Advisor for Civil Engineering.

“We talked a lot about balance,” said Fabro, “and we chatted about motivation — I know that family was really important to him, and he was really keen to be the first engineer in his family. That was really important to him.”

Despite his busy schedule, Fabro recalled that Baiju had “a positive attitude” and that “his smile could light up a room.”

“He was just a really lovely person,” said Fabro. “I know a lot of people were touched by him, so it’s a really sad situation.”

But “there was so much more to him than just the academic side,” said Kalyani. “He’d just help everybody… He was really a cool guy. He was very down-to-earth, you could really talk to him about anything.”

“You know how some people just try to be alone and get their marks, and not try to help other people?” continued Kalyani. “He wasn’t like that. He made sure everybody tried to get their stuff done.”

“He influenced me to work harder and get into the top universities. And he did that stuff for everyone… ask anybody in our school. He would always be willing to lend a hand and share what he knows in terms of chemistry, physics, calculus, or math. He did that for everybody, not even just me — he was helping people he didn’t even know.”

Kalyani said that Baiju influenced a lot of people at their high school to take academics seriously and work on their grades.

Just two days prior to his passing, Baiju shared his plans for his future with his friend. “He wanted to get a civil engineering degree, and then he wanted to get his MBA from Rotman,” explained Kalyani. “He wanted to build up a construction company.”

“He was very passionate about his future, he had very hard career goals set in place. He knew exactly what he wanted to do,” continued Kalyani. “Unfortunately, he didn’t get to pursue his dreams.”

U of T remembers Emma Leckey

Woodsworth student was involved in advocacy, social justice movements on campus

U of T remembers Emma Leckey

Woodsworth College student Emma Leckey, the victim of a hit-and-run on the UTSG campus on March 15, has passed away.

Leckey was a student in U of T’s Ethics, Society, and Law program. Her passing was mourned in an email from Professor John Duncan, the director of the program. “All of us in the major are unfathomably saddened by the passing of Emma, who was an excellent student and cherished member of our institutional family,” wrote Duncan. “Words fail me.”

“Emma will always be a valued member of our student community. She will be fondly remembered for her advocacy projects, dedication to furthering social justice around campus, and her work with the Canadian Cancer Society,” wrote the U of T Ethics, Society, and Law Students’ Association.

“Emma worked tirelessly and was always there for us if we ever needed a shoulder to lean on,” said Steven Worboys, her close friend. “Emma didn’t need to have her name attached to anything for it to matter to her. She truly believed in making the world a better place for many communities, in particular those that had their voices rarely heard. We have lost a beacon of light and many years of positive change that lay ahead.”

Through the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), Leckey was also involved with Relay for Life U of T, which is a fundraising event for the CCS. As a co-chair of the event for two years, she helped raise $40,000. According to Leckey’s co-chair and close friend, Julian Lamanna, “Emma was one of the most loving, caring, giving, and kind people I have ever met. I will forever be grateful for her being a part of my life.”

Lamanna said that Leckey was a “talented, motivated, and incredible soul, gone too soon.”

Leckey was struck by a vehicle while crossing the intersection of Huron Street and College Street. According to police, the driver, who has since been charged, may have been intoxicated.

According to Woodsworth College Principal Joe Desloges, Leckey was taken to the hospital after being helped by an onlooker. There, doctors made extraordinary efforts to keep her alive despite severe injuries.

“Her parents now find themselves in a position to act on behalf of their daughter and have made the decision to allow Emma to pass,” reads Desloges’ statement, posted on Facebook on March 20 by the Woodsworth College Students’ Association (WCSA).

Both Lamanna and Worboys wanted to highlight the dangers of drunk driving, saying that her family wants to prevent something like this from ever happening again. “No matter what rationale you can come up with to validate this, someone’s life is not worth it.”

The WCSA Board of Directors wrote in a statement that it “would like to take this moment to honour our great friend and colleague Emma for her devotion to the Woodsworth community. Emma will forever be part of the wolf pack, and always remain in our hearts. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”

According to Desloges, there will likely be a memorial service held at U of T to honour her memory, though the date has not yet been determined.

U of T’s Health & Wellness Centre has been made aware of the impact Leckey’s passing may have on students. Students may indicate to the front desk at Health & Wellness that they are from the “Woodsworth community” if they wish to seek additional support.

“Emma was the kind of person who inspired you to be a better person. To push as hard as possible to achieve your goals,” said Lamanna. “And to always smile, even during the toughest of times.”