The family of University of Washington anthropology professor Sam Dubal, who has been missing since Oct. 9 when he embarked on an overnight hike on Mount Rainier in Washington, has established a memorial fund and fellowship at UC Berkeley and at the University of Washington to honor his legacy.
Dubal went missing exactly a month before his 34th birthday. He leaves behind his parents, Bharat and Saroj, and two sisters, Veena and Dena.
Mount Rainier National Park Service search and rescue teams conducted an intensive search for the missing Indian American researcher, who was hiking alone on the 17-mile loop trail. The search and rescue team, which at one point consisted of 50 people, used aerial drones, helicopters, canines, and other search mechanisms.
The search was called off Oct. 26 after inclement weather made it impossible for the team to continue. A portion of Dubal’s itinerary involved crossing the Carbon River, which washed out a day after Dubal was supposed to have travelled on it. Search and rescue teams only found Dubal’s water bottle on the trail, and his car in the parking lot.
Dubal was an avid hiker who had made similar journeys in the U.S. and in the Himalayas. Mount Rainier Ranger Kevin Bracher optimistically told India-West in an interview last month that the young man could have been capable of surviving the rough weather and probably had ample supplies of food and clothing. In a later interview, Bracher said weather conditions and the passing days left little hope for Dubal’s survival.
“This is a tribute to Sam, and his fierce pursuit and commitment to equality, justice, and revolutionizing medicine,” wrote Dena Dubal on the gofundme page, which can be viewed here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/sam-dubal-fellowship-fund. The fund has quickly raised almost $39,000 from 294 donors. The Dubal family said it would add $500,000 to the amount collected.
The Sam Dubal Fellowships will be established at UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. “This fellowship will support the training of individuals and projects that advance a collective mission toward an ethical world,” wrote Dena Dubal.
Tributes poured in for the young researcher both on the gofundme portal and over Twitter. A community kept watch daily for news from the Mount Rainier Ranger Station.
The Stanford graduate attended medical school at Harvard, and then received his Ph.D. in medical anthropology from UC Berkeley in 2018. He had started to teach at the University of Washington’s anthropology department in June.
In 2018, Dubal published a book, “Against Humanity: Lessons from the Lord’s Resistance Army,” which drew from his ethnographic research of the LRA in Northern Uganda.
“Sam, what is this world without you in it?” tweeted Veena Dubal on her brother’s birthday. “Dena and I will always honor you, your brilliant spirit, your kindness, your vision for structural equality, and a more just world.”