Respected Academic, Lecturer And LINK Columnist Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli Passes Away


OBITUARY – Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli – BA(Hons)’49 & MA’51 (Punjab University), PhD’66 (UBC)
June 5, 1928 to February 13, 2019


Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli’s beloved presence will be greatly missed by his family and all that knew him.  A Celebration of Life and Bhog (prayers) will be held on March 8, 2019 at 10 am at Gurudwara Shaib York Centre, located at #103 – 7938 128 St., Surrey, BC.

SURREY – Respected Academic, writer, lecturer and LINK columnist Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli passed away peacefully in Surrey, British Columbia on February 13 at age 90. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Surjit, children, Moninder, Parmjit and Baljit, grandchildren, Anju, Jay, Sonya and Georgia, daughter-in-law, Anita, and many nieces and nephews.

Youngest of six children, Dr. Lalli was born into a farming family in the village Kotli, Punjab, India. His parents Dhanwant Kaur and Kartar Singh gave him an opportunity to go to school, and one of his happiest memories was to become the first person in his village to pass grade five. An avid student, Dr. Lalli received scholarships throughout his studies, and he obtained his B.A. Honours Mathematics (1949) at Punjab University, Ramgarhia College in Phagwara, and his M.A. Mathematics (1951) from Punjab University, D.A.V. College in Jullundur.  In 1962 he left India to obtain his Ph.D. Mathematics from University of British Columbia (1966).

During his distinguished 42-year teaching career, Dr. Lalli held academic positions in India and Canada. He was a Lecturer, Sikh National College, in Qadian (1951 to 1953), and Senior Lecturer, at Government Colleges in Bhatinda, Nabha, and Ludihana (1953 to 1962).  At UBC he held the position of Teaching Assistant (1962 to 1966), and at the University of Saskatchewan he quickly progressed from Assistant Professor (1966) to Associate Professor (1968), and then Professor (1974 to 1995).  He also served as the Department Head of Mathematics and Statistics (1977 to 1979).  He gave his time to many academic committees, including being the Chair of the University Promotions Appeal Committee.

Dr. Lalli was an outstanding research scholar who published over 150 journal articles in national and international refereed journals of mathematics. He received numerous grants from National Research Council (NRC) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to advance academic inquiry in the field of Mathematics.  He supervised one M.A. candidate and seven Ph.D. candidates. Dr. Lalli acted as referee for six mathematics journals and served as a reviewer for the American Mathematics Society.

Dr. Lalli collaborated with researchers from around the world.  He gave invited lectures at about forty universities and research institutes in many countries including, Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, China, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Japan, Scotland, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Taiwan, and United States.  He was also a visiting scholar in Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan.

Dr. Lalli moved to Surrey, British Columbia in 1996, where he devoted his retirement years to championing the cause of education and advancing the quality of life for seniors.  Dr. Lalli was elected to be a UBC Convocation Senator, where he served for 18 years (1999 to 2017).  He participated on Senate committees, including Academic Policy, Appeal Committee on Academic Standing, Curriculum, Elections, Library, and Nominations Committee.  Dr. Lalli loved attending convocation and congratulating new graduates.  In addition to UBC, Dr. Lalli served on many other boards and committee including, Coalition to Eliminate Abuse of Seniors (BC CEAS), City of Surrey Seniors Advisory and Accessibility Committee, Kwantlen Foundation Board, Kwantlen University’s South Asian Community Coalition against Youth Violence (SACCAYV), and Simon Fraser University’s Komagata Maru Advisory Board.

Dr. Lalli was a regular contributor to community newspapers, and often spoke on television and radio.  Parents and grandparents approached him to seek advice about their children and grandchildren.  A humble and soft-spoken man, Dr. Lalli always took the time to meet them and provide thoughtful guidance and encouragement.

Dr. Lalli wrote many successful grant applications for seniors’ societies.  These grants funded a computer lab for about a decade, wellness programs, which included providing workshops on nutrition and healthy aging, equipment and musical instruments, trips for seniors, and a health research study, “Wellness model for Indo-Canadian Seniors: a research report (2000).” He was recognized by several seniors’ societies for his contributions.  In 2011, Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli was awarded Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) by Kwantlen Polytechnic University for his community service.

Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli’s beloved presence will be greatly missed by his family and all that knew him.  A Celebration of Life and Bhog (prayers) will be held on March 8, 2019 at 10 am at Gurudwara Shaib York Centre, located at #103 – 7938 128 St., Surrey, BC.