Welcoming Two Gauravs, One Again and One Anew

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Dr. Virendra S. Mathur and wife Nalini flank their son, Dr. Gaurav Mathur (right) and his partner Dr. Gaurav Arora at a reception held in their honor at Sweetwater Country Club on Sunday, November 15.
Photo: Bijay Dixit

By Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR LAND: It was a memorable occasion for the people who came to meet Gaurav Mathur again at the luncheon at Sweetwater Country Club this past Sunday, November 15, on a sunny Fall day that lifted everyone’s spirits. Many remembered him the affable young man who grew up in their midst; with many of the uncles and aunties recalling stories of his time in Houston and several of the younger set who were his playmates embracing the new milestones in his life. Except now, he was the Dean of Graduate Program and Continuing Education at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.

His parents, Nalini and Dr. Virendra S. Mathur were overcome with emotion as they introduced their son and his partner, Dr. Gaurav Arora to their long list of guests and friends and welcomed Arora into their family. Dr. Mathur beamed with pride as he read from the long list of academic and work achievements of his son, despite his hearing and speech impairment, over the years from the time he was in high school to university and till now. He was equally proud of Dr, Arora’s achievements as he read them off. The two Gauravs met eight years ago in Washington DC, where they both live.

Gaurav Mathur, 43, was born in Houston and excelled in schooling from a very early age inspite of his hearing handicap. He moved to a regular school after 3rd grade and then jumped a grade to go to Middle and High School at The Kinkaid School where he topped his class and was the only deaf student among his peers. He went onto Princeton (where he wrote his own curriculum as they did not have one in Linguistics), graduating with Honors and completed his Masters and PhD in Linguistics at M.I.T. in Boston, with a full scholarship. He was the first and only deaf student who received his PhD in Linguistics at MIT.

Mathur worked through research departments and when he became a Faculty member, he had become a national and international authority in his field, joining Ohio State University and later moving to Gallaudet University seven years ago where he received tenure in four years and became acting Dean two years ago and this summer became Dean in his current position.

Gaurav Arora, 37, was born and raised in Mumbai, but as he lost his father at the tender age of 18, he was forced to mature early and help take care of his mother and raise his younger brother. He finished a BSc in Chemistry Honors from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and went on to get a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Mumbai. He came to the US to obtain a Masters in Bioinformatics at Georgia State University and then completed a PhD in Molecular Evolution at the Georgia Institute of Technology. After graduation, he worked at Georgetown University focusing on Genomics and is currently on a tenure-track Faculty of Biology at Gallaudet University’s Department of Science, Technology and Mathematics. He has been published in several peer journals and is a scholar with the American Society of Microbiology.