Baruch mourns the loss of its beloved lab technician, Dalchand ‘Neil’ Rampaul

Amanda Salazar

The Baruch College Department of Natural Sciences’ Chief Lab Technician died on Sept. 7 in the hospital at the age of 62.

Dalchand Rampaul — called Neil by his friends — is remembered by his coworkers and friends as a happy, caring person, always ready with a joke and fiercely loyal and dedicated to Baruch.

“He always has a joke. Not just for me, but for all the colleagues, even the professors, for the students,” said Natural Sciences Office Assistant Sonia Donaldson. “He always has a joke, he always tried to cheer people up. Always.” 

He died of a complication with his heart while at a hospital, though people close to him within the school also noted that he had diabetes. It is not clear what the exact cause of his death was.

Due to the sudden nature of the situation, Baruch staff who spoke with The Ticker remarked at how unbelievable it was when they heard the sad news.

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Dalchand Rampaul is remembered by his coworkers and friends as a happy, caring person, always ready with a joke

“It’s so sad,” said College Lab Technician Yelena Skidelsky, who worked with Rampaul and considered him a friend. “I still can’t believe it. It’s impossible, I talked with him on that week, like, Wednesday? He passed away on Saturday morning.”

As chief lab technician, Rampaul was in charge of setting up the science labs so that they were completely prepared for the classes when students walked in. He would set out the materials and arrange them to be beneficial for each individual lab that would be going on.

Being that science is a requirement to graduate from Baruch, regardless of the school or major a person is in, it is a large department with many labs happening throughout the day. 

Rampaul worked mainly with the biology and chemistry sub-departments. He often worked late nights, setting up the labs for the following morning, all on his own, doing a large volume of work without complaint or hesitation.

“Nobody could do it like him,” said Donaldson. “Nobody. Because if somebody tries to help, he always goes like, ‘No, that’s not how,” and he’d go and change it. He had his own style of doing his job.”

In addition to organizing the labs and preparing them for classes, the chief lab technician is the lab tech in charge of ordering more supplies and materials.

If the department is out of a certain chemical or equipment, Rampaul was the one to order them. Even when it should have been difficult for him to get a certain order placed and shipped in a timely manner, he often managed to get it done, and done well.

It is through his ordering of supplies that he became good friends with Queenie Mallon, an accountant in the Controller’s Office. According to Mallon, Rampaul was a graduate of Baruch himself, as she herself is.

Mallon “paid his bills,” as she put it, paying for all the supplies he ordered for the labs.

“On his deathbed, Sonia went to see him . . . he asked her, ‘Did you make sure the lab is ready?’ So, I don’t know how much more dedication kids can have than that,” said Mallon. “That he loved his job, he loved his coworkers, his colleagues, his accountants.”

“The only thing that I think Neil ever did wrong — well, not wrong — is that he was like a one-man show, so when he died, we were all like, ‘What do we do now,’” she continued.

Baruch doesn’t automatically write obituaries for staff members that die, unless they are tenured faculty or part of the administration. 

To get an obituary for a staff member, such as a lab technician, the department chair has to reach out to the dean of the school directly to ask for one to be written — a highly underpublicized bureaucratic requirement — so the college has yet to create one for Rampaul.

Online however, condolences for Rampaul can be found on a website called ObitTree and on the Guarino Funeral Home website.

“He was the indispensable man in Natural Sciences at Baruch. We all depended on his advice and assistance. I really cannot imagine the department without Neil. He will be sorely missed,” someone by the name of Mary Jean Holland posted on the memorial page.

Rampaul left behind a wife and many friends. The Baruch community will miss him dearly.