Oct 8 2020

In memory of Peter Anastasi


It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of our friend and colleague Peter Anastasi. Peter was a member of the LSE security team for 16 years. He joined the LSE from Exxon Mobil, and became known to all as the ever-present and unfailingly helpful custodian of ‘the Towers’.

Peter had a varied career and brought great experience, and a wealth of human kindness to his work. Originally from Cyprus, Peter had worked in commerce and international shipping before taking up roles in security. He maintained a strong connection to his home country and was a dedicated Spurs fan, never  failing to remind colleagues of his team’s notable victories. Peter was an entertaining raconteur at social events, with a huge repertoire of stories and anecdotes, and a patient listener to the experiences of others.

Peter was known to all for his dedication, politeness and desire to help. Over the years of Peter’s service he developed strong relationships with many of those working in the Towers. He became the ‘go-to’ person on a range of issues that went well beyond security. Peter’s compassion and desire to help manifested in every part of his life. He was a firm friend and a staunch supporter of colleagues. He counselled and advised a cohort of fellow workers, providing professional advice, helping with personal issues and even dedicated his time to teaching colleagues English.  On the basis of Peter’s support  a generation of LSE security and reception staff were able to move on to greater things, both within the School and beyond.

Peter was a man of great warmth, unbounded humanity and profound gentility. He died while still in service to a School he loved, and leaves behind a loving wife, a daughter and two sons.

We will miss him deeply.

His family have requested that donations are made in lieu of flowers to The North London Hospice (Click to donate in memory of and enter his name).

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Oct 7 2020

In memory of Claudette Small


Smiling picture of friend and colleague, Claudette SmallIt is with great sadness to report the passing of our dear friend and colleague Claudette Small.

Claudette joined the Catering Department as Accounts Manager in July 1999, for a brief time went to work in the Finance Division and then returned to work in the Catering Department as the Catering and Finance Office Manager where she was welcomed with open arms.

Claudette was well known to many in Residences and Catering Division, the Finance Division and Security and Estates teams as well as across the wider school.

She had a hugely positive outlook and was a wonderful and spirited colleague. She’ll be fondly remembered for her wicked sense of humour, strong sense of loyalty and determination – she was always there for a chat on any subject.

Claudette enjoyed to travel with her friends at home and abroad and loved working with the girls at the church girls brigade, she was so proud of all her girls. When time allowed she was also a passionate drummer who enjoyed practicing and was learning all the time.

Claudette was an integral part of our catering family, dedicated, loyal and always there to listen to others problems and triumphs, we are privileged to have known her. She will be deeply missed by all she worked with at LSE.

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Sep 3 2020

Professor David Graeber

Professor David Graeber- LSE

Professor David Graeber

We are shocked and saddened to learn of David Graeber’s death. David was a hugely influential anthropologist, political activist and public intellectual. He was a person with so many facets that it is only by opening up this space to a community of remembrance that we can engage with his legacy.

His brilliant work ranged from studies of Madagascan funerary practices, magic, bureaucracy, financialisation to kings, puppets and pirates. Each conversation with him, and reading of his work, took us on a new path. Striking against learned ignorance everywhere he criticised the banal cruelty of debt, bullshit jobs and the devaluation of our humanity. We also remember him as full of humour and quizzical challenge, encouraging us to take risks and think differently. For us all, perhaps, he was what an anthropologist should be—a messenger of other possibilities.

Professor Laura Bear
Head of Department, LSE Anthropology


LSE Anthropology are holding an open space commemoration for David on Wednesday 16th September from 4:30-5:30 via Zoom.

Please sign up on Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/commemoration-david-graeber-tickets-120219751513 

Posted by: Posted on by LSE External Communications

Aug 3 2020

In memory of Lady Elizabeth Vallance


It is with great sadness that LSE learnt of the passing of Lady Elizabeth Vallance, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Elizabeth started her LSE career as a student (MSc Government, 1968). She contributed so much to the School as a longstanding member of Court, also serving on the Chair and Vice Chair Selection Committee, Health and Safety Assurance Committee and, most recently, the Governance Committee. Elizabeth was an admired and trusted advisor to many around the School.

She was also a highly respected leader throughout her career, including as a successful academic and subsequently head of the politics department at Queen Mary, University of London. This is in addition to chairing many non-profit health and educational organisation boards including the Institute of Education, St George’s NHS Trust,  the Centre for Mental Health and the National Autism project. Since 2017, Elizabeth was Chair of Trustees for YoungMinds, which campaigns for mental health support for children and young people

We will miss her dearly and extend our deepest condolences as a community to her family at this very difficult time.

Susan Liautaud
LSE Chair of Council

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications

Jul 28 2020

In memory of Nicos Kyriacou


Written by Laura Dawson, Director Data and Technology Services

Image of Nicos at LSE, holding a trophyThe Data and Technology Services Division and wider LSE community is shocked and saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Nicos Kyriacou. Nicos joined LSE in the Information Management and Technology Division (as it was called at the time) in 2012, as the Windows 7 Project Co-ordinator. As with so many people who join LSE, he started with a short-term contract but became a permanent employee very quickly due to not only his obvious talents and engaging style, but also because he loved working here.

There are so many things that made Nicos such a valued member of the team: his honest and empathetic approach to anyone in LSE who had a problem with technology, his humour and objectivity in dealing with ‘difficult’ customers and helping everyone get to the right answer, his support and leadership of our student helpers, his innate sense of fun, his ability to see the root cause of a problem and help everyone to fix it, and his booming voice and clear enunciation which came from his acting roots.

Early on in his career with LSE, Nicos took on a change role in the team, starting our journey in professionalising our services by improving our processes and increasing the capability of the teams. He then took on the management and leadership of the Service Desk, beginning the work to nurture the team to be the best it possibly could be and making the team feel valued and integral to both LSE and the Division.

His last role in DTS was to become one of our new Business Partners, a role that so suited his talents and one he sadly didn’t have the time to really get his teeth into. This showed how much of a full understanding of the Division he had and how he could benefit students and staff to make the most out of technology. It is gutting that we never got to see how much he would shine in this role.

Nicos was not only exceptionally good at his job, professional and engaging, he was also our social secretary. He organised our Christmas Parties and was instrumental in bringing other teams (Digital and the Business Improvement Unit) together to join in the fun, including games and tournaments, that kept the action going and had something for everyone in them. But what he will be most remembered for on the social side were the quizzes. Run with consummate efficiency and a rod of iron, they were stupendously difficult, must-attend events and his decisions were always final no matter how senior you were. Many late afternoons, as work was finishing, he and I would discuss how things could be better in the division and invariably our conversation turned to our mutual love of football, albeit diametrically opposite football teams. I hope he had joy in his beloved Liverpool winning the Premiership this year.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been overwhelmed by the warmth and depth of feelings from across the School, a few of which are below:

“Thank you, Nicos, for being your unique, sparkly, charasmatic self. We will always remember your fun-loving energy that made everyone in the room smile. Rest in Peace”

“Nicos was just fantastic. It’s very sad indeed.”

“I am very sorry to hear of the very sad news that Nicos passed away. I sat opposite him when we were in IMT, so I got to know him quite well, and I can indeed testify to his professionalism in customer service. It is a great loss to his family, DTS and LSE.”

“I’m so sorry to hear the bad news. Over the years we’ve worked together and it was a real pleasure to work with him.”

“Nicos was a wonderful colleague and great servant of LSE. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

“Nicos was an absolutely lovely man and he will be sorely missed.”

“Nicos was a great colleague, always cheerful and helpful and often amused by some LSE foible or other. Very hard to imagine he’s gone.”

He has left behind DTS in a far better place than it was before he started. We have so many reasons to mourn his loss. Nicos was a colleague, someone we all saw everyday at work, that we all laughed with, argued with and got stuff done with. In these strange times, I know that when we do return to the office and things return to normal, we will feel his loss all over again: documents with his name as the author, deeply buried pages on the website and images on our help guides. I don’t really want to delete them or change them, he is a part of our story and he made us a better team.

Nicos passed away on Wednesday 8 July 2020 and leaves behind a loving wife and two beautiful young boys. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

DTS will be holding an online memorial service on the 30 July at 2pm for anyone in LSE who cares to join us to remember Nicos – please get in contact to let us know if you’d like to join. We will also be hosting a quiz in his honour and memory in the middle of August – do let us know if you would like to enter a team.

Posted by: Posted on by Internal Communications

Jul 16 2020

In memory of Mr Ashok Desai

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The LSE community is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former Attorney General of India and distinguished LSE alumnus, Mr Ashok Desai.

Desai graduated from the LSE with a BSc in Economics in 1956. Prior to this, he studied at the prestigious Fergusson College in Pune and received the LLB degree from the Government Law College in Bombay. Shortly after graduation from the LSE, Desai was called to the English Bar in Lincoln’s Inn.

Desai went on to teach at both the Government Law College and the Bombay College of Journalism, and also worked as the legal correspondent for the Times of India. The Bombay high court designated Desai as a senior advocate in August 1977. He then served as Solicitor General of India from 1989-1990 before he was appointed Attorney General of India in July 1996. He remained in office until May 1998, through the governments of Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral.

Desai was also a member of the former LSE India Advisory Board which is chaired by Professor Lord Nick Stern, IG Patel Chair of Economics and Government at LSE, and NK Singh, politician and economist. NK Singh, a colleague and personal friend of Desai, commented ‘…he always had creative ideas on what could be done to enhance the academic reach of this prestigious institution in India. Fostering interchanges of students, faculty members and joint research projects were some of the ideas which he had put forward persuasively.’ Professor Lord Nick Stern added ‘Ashok was a very fine person and a wonderful friend of LSE. His scholarship, wisdom and fundamental integrity made a great contribution to LSE, India and the world.’

Outside of his law career, Desai had many eclectic interests. He had a passion for literature, history, politics and music; particularly Hindustani and Western Classical, and opera. Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Co-Director of the India Observatory at LSE, said ‘Desai and his wife Suvarna would often host get-togethers with senior alumni and friends at their home. The most recent being when they hosted LSE Director, Minouche Shafik, during her visit to New Delhi in September 2019. During these dinners he would regale his guests with fascinating stories from his vast experience’.

Desai is survived by his wife, Suvarna Desai.

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May 7 2020

Jennifer Pinney


We are saddened to learn of the recent death of longstanding former member of staff, Jennifer Pinney, who worked at the School for 25 years. Colleague and friend Celia Phillips shares her memories of Jennifer.

I first met the formidable Miss Pinney when she arrived at the School. She had come from Paris OECD to head up the administration of the then new, post-Robbins Report Higher Education Research Unit headed by Claus Moser, then Social Statistics Professor there, and Philip Redfern, shortly to become the Head of OPCS. I had just finished my degree and embarked on a doctorate in the educational Statistics area with Claus and officialdom was strange to me. I was terrified of her initially. Jenny however, quickly smoothed my way so I was included in all seminars and given rapid access to any information or contacts I might need. In the days when this was not normal for graduate students she even found me a desk to perch on! She remained supportive, and I owe any proofreading skills I have to her careful tutelage over what seemed endless drafts of my thesis!

Once I joined the Staff, we became friends. And I discovered that her rather formal work demeanour concealed a lively sociable and sympathetic person. I have happy memories of her joining the LSE choir of which she remained a loyal supporter, suppers with musical friends, and many happy nights socialising and playing bridge. Later, she became a family friend and our children remember her exciting visits….

After she left EUSSHE (as it became) she continued her career within the School and others will be more fitted than I to talk of her fundraising under Dahrendorf, her other work with alumni and her whole contribution to the LSE. But over the years, we kept in touch.

In the early 2000’s she persuaded me to follow her ten years on as President of the University of London Lunch Club, one of the LSE-connected things which she continued to support and enjoy until relatively recently. Although her last few years were dogged by illness, I have fairly recent memories of lunches at the club, Easter at Kensington, and numerous musical events….

Celia Phillips  

Posted by: Posted on by LSE External Communications

Apr 30 2020

Sherry Vaid, January 4, 1968 -April 15, 2020


Sherry_VaidIt is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of our colleague and dear friend Sherry Vaid.

Sherry joined the Finance Division as Chief Cashier in August 2010 after a varied career in both the private and public sector. Sherry was firm but fair, could be outspoken, but always professional and well respected within the Finance Division and across the wider School.

A larger than life personality, positive, fun, mischievous with an amazing smile. A social gathering was not complete without Sherry and whatever the occasion, it was sure to be a success when in her company.

Sherry had an ability to make people laugh, forge friendships and take the time to chat and listen, she also made the world’s best samosas and has left an indelible impact on those she met both professionally and on a personal level.

A huge Liverpool fan, Sherry was beaming and enjoying each moment of the team’s success in 2019/20.

The announcement of Sherry’s passing was a great shock for colleagues and for those of us who has the privilege to call her a friend.

Sherry’s family were always foremost in her mind and her number one priority, our hearts and prayers go out to Sherry’s husband Lovedeep, her two sons Saajan and Aman and her parents Parmjit and Jasbir. Her family have requested charitable donations are made to Breast Cancer/ NHS.

Posted by: Posted on by Imogen Withers

Mar 30 2020

Thandika Mkandawire

Thandika Mkandawire

Thandika Mkandawire

The Department of International Development mourns the loss of our colleague and friend, Thandika Mkandawire, who passed away on 27 March in Stockholm, attended by his wife and sons.

Thandika was a giant in the field of development economics. He brought a depth of knowledge and insight to the field; the Department – and all of LSE – will always be a better place for the decade he spent with us.

Thandika came to LSE after distinguished periods as Executive Secretary of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) (for more on Thandika’s life, including growing up in colonial southern Africa and experiences in the US, Ecuador, and Sweden, see this interview published in 2019 in Development and Change).

Thandika was a beacon of transformative research on African development, never shy to challenge the conventional wisdom. An inspirational thinker and great teacher, he was full of innovative perspectives. And, moreover, a lucid writer (he was a journalist before turning to academia), Thandika had a gift that allowed him to weigh in persuasively in key debates, and that gave his research a global reach.

Thandika’s depth of understanding was magnified throughout his career by active engagement with institutions of research and higher education, through which he sought to nurture informed thinking about Africa, not only through his own research, but by generating frameworks to nurture the work of fellow African scholars, African students and students of Africa. His impact on development economics and the social sciences is deep and will be long-lasting.

Much of Thandika’s research focused on the role of African states in promoting late development. He expressed a deep scepticism of easily-invoked claims of weak state capacity, but at the same time was keenly aware of the challenges facing states and state institutions in Africa and, more generally, throughout the “Global South.” Indeed, in the 1980s and 1990s, as the role of the state became a crucial topic of analysis in all of development studies, a view neatly described by development scholars as seeing the state as “problem and solution”, Thandika’s contributions were immense. He was a leading force in lifting a veil of patrimonialism that, regrettably, tended to dominate scholarship on the capacities and potentials of African states.

Thandika’s important contributions to development also include his extensive writing, teaching, and public engagement on the links between social development and industrial development. He was pivotal in placing social policy at the heart of development studies, not an after-thought or luxury to be enjoyed only at higher levels of income, but a critical dimension of development dynamics. His focus on the productive elements of social policy, for example, has inspired a generation of scholars who examine the interface between education and health policies and broader projects of industrial transformation.

Thandika always embraced a broad vision of development challenges, not just about what was happening in “Africa,” but through an informed comparative approach to countries within the vast African continent, and across regions. Indeed, the time he spent in Latin America continued to influence his thinking through the years, making him appreciate the different challenges facing countries tightly-linked to the USA relative to those he experienced first-hand in British-dominated colonial Africa.

In addition to his exceptional scholarship and teaching, Thandika was, simply, a wonderfully sweet person – caring, cool-headed, and funny. Having Thandika in our midst was a blessing for which we will be forever grateful. His absence will be a profound loss for all of us.

Our deepest sympathies are with Thandika’s family, and the thousands of people across the globe who are also mourning the loss of their colleague, friend, and teacher.

Ken Shadlen
Professor of Development Studies and Head of Department
Department of International Development

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications

Mar 27 2020

In memory of Richard Goeltz

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The LSE community is saddened by the loss of Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award Recipient Richard Goeltz who passed away on March 23, 2020.

Richard attended LSE as a General Course student in 1962-63 and received his BA with honours in Economics from Brown University in 1964. He earned his MBA from Columbia Business School in 1966.

Richard had a distinguished career in corporate finance, serving most recently as Vice Chair and Chief Financial Officer of American Express from 1996 until his retirement in 2000. From 1992 to 1996, he served as Group Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of NatWest Group, the parent of National Westminster Bank, PLC.  Prior thereto, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at The Seagram Company Ltd.  He joined Seagram in 1970 as a financial analyst, was promoted to Treasurer in 1973 and to vice President, Finance, in 1976.  Before joining Seagram, he spent four years at Exxon as a financial analyst in the Treasury Department. In retirement, Richard served on several corporate boards including Aviva plc, Delta Airlines, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and Warnaco. He was also a director of the European Equity, New Germany and Central Europe, Russia and Turkey Funds.

In addition to his corporate work, he was a trustee of the American Academy in Berlin, a director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra Trust, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Opera Orchestra of New York and member of American Friends of Covent Garden and the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School.

Richard believed that of all activities in retirement, his work with LSE was the most rewarding both intellectually and personally. He was a tireless supporter of the School who provided enormously generous and sage counsel. He was a long-time member of the Court of Governors and served for more than a decade on Council and many of its standing and ad hoc committees, including pre-Council Chairman’s meetings under Lord Grabiner and Peter Sutherland. He was a member of the Finance Committee and chaired the Business Modelling Group which was essential in strengthening the School’s financial planning process.

The fact that Richard and his wife Mary Ellen split their time between London and New York gave him a unique perspective on LSE, allowing him to be deeply involved with School governance while also serving as a key alumni supporter and advisor in North America. He was an inaugural member of the North American Advisory Board which has advised LSE’s Directors and raised funds for the School since its founding at the behest of Howard Davies in 2007, and served on the Board of the LSE Centennial Fund, now known as American Fund for LSE.  Richard and Mary Ellen warmly and generously hosted numerous events for LSE faculty, alumni and supporters at their homes on both sides of the Atlantic.

Richard was a significant, generous donor to LSE for many years and was listed on the Benefactors’ Board in 2013. He has supported numerous projects, including undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, the Library, the New Academic Building and the Annual Fund. The Richard Karl Goeltz Scholarship Fund and the Adeline and Karl Goeltz Scholarship Fund (named for his parents), support PhD students in the Department of Economics. When asked about his enthusiastic commitment to LSE, he said: “The School makes an investment in students that yields substantial returns for them and society. There is a supreme moral obligation for those who have benefited to help perpetuate a fine institution and enable successors to have the same opportunities and advantages. I hasten to add reciprocity does not mean only money. Time, talent, wisdom and work are equally valuable.”

For his enormous service and devotion to the School, Richard was made an Honorary Fellow in 2015. He also received the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award at the LSE Alumni Forum in New York in May of that same year.

Permeating all of Richard’s dealings with the School was his personal warmth, leading to friendships with many members of the wider School community on both sides of the Atlantic. In many cases his counsel to Chairs and Deputy Chairs of the Court and to successive Directors grew into friendship; and his friendships with academic colleagues, often through lunches whenever he was in London, were wide and deep. He wanted to talk about the School but was equally interested in discussing the research and policy work of individual academics. Those who were lucky enough to know him that way talk of a continuing dialogue punctuated by letters from Richard (mostly handwritten) accompanied by newspaper cuttings or book recommendations. The School has lost a great servant; many members of the School community also feel a deep personal loss.

Richard is survived by his wife of 31 years, Mary Ellen Johnson.

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications