Passing of Zaur Berkaliev, professor of Mathematics and Statistics

To: Campus community
From: Public Affairs and Publications

It is with great sadness that we announce that Zaur Berkaliev, professor of mathematics and statistics, passed away Monday, June 3, at age 53. His death was the result of a previously undetected health condition.

Berkaliev joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in 2011. Before coming to CSU, Chico, he taught mathematics education at the Illinois Institute of Technology and served as a lecturer at Fresno State. Berkaliev also taught mathematics at Karaganda State University in the former Soviet Union from 1985 to 1998. He held a doctorate in mathematics education from Indiana University and one in applied mathematics from Moscow State University.

Terry Kiser, mathematics department chair, has this remembrance of Berkaliev:

“I can readily recall how excited the department was to be getting such an outstanding scholar, and the morale boost [that came with] helping us fill a critical shortage in mathematics education. Zaur had a quiet demeanor but conveyed a strong sense of caring and warmth. He was not one to say no, and became easily engaged in activities within the department and with other faculty. He was dedicated to his students, and I especially remember being very impressed with his serious reflections on student feedback and the effort he put into providing the most effective learning environment. It didn't take Zaur long to have an impact on our department, and we all are going to dearly miss him both personally and professionally.” 

Berkaliev is survived by his wife, Lilia, and two daughters, Kamila and Asem. A memorial event was held at professor Jorgen Berglund’s home in Chico, on Wednesday, June 12. In lieu of flowers, the mathematics department is collecting donations to assist Berkaliev’s family.

For more information, please contact the mathematics department at 898-6111. The University flag was lowered Thursday, June 6, in Berkaliev’s memory.