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Obituary for Prem S Paul
Dr. Prem Sagar Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, passed away Sept. 2 after a long and valiant battle with bladder cancer. Dr. Paul was 68 and had announced his retirement due to health reasons on Aug. 29.
Born Oct. 5, 1947, in a refugee camp in northern India, he was named Prem, meaning “love” in Hindi, for that is all his parents had after fleeing their home during the partition of India and Pakistan. Prem’s adventurous beginnings continued as he earned his doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in India. In 1969, he fulfilled his father’s dreams for him and came to the United States to study, earning a Ph.D. in microbiology and virology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota.
It was at an international dinner that he met his future wife, Missi, and he subsequently decided to call the United States his permanent home.
After earning his Ph.D, the couple moved to Ames, Iowa, where Prem worked as a veterinary medical officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Disease Center. He was recruited by Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and ultimately served as the associate vice provost for research.
His combined experience as a scientist and administrator led him to UNL, where he was appointed vice chancellor for research and economic development on July 1, 2001.
His accomplishments included ten patents, discovering a new virus in swine and developing a vaccine to treat it, and leading UNL to become well-known and respected for its research enterprise; in 2015, UNL boasted a record year attracting $147 million in external funding for research and creative activity.
Prem’s dreams for Nebraska were never small. “If we can win national championships in football and volleyball, why not in research?” Prem said in a 2010 interview. “Why not capitalize on research and convert that into jobs, grow our economy and keep our young people, our kids and grandkids, here in Nebraska?”
Prem will forever be remembered for inspiring people to “think big,” to always “be passionate and positive” and to “collaborate.” Prem bled Husker Red and he and Missi attended many sporting events together.
He leaves behind his beloved wife Missi; his daughter Neena Paul and her spouse, Steve Lubitz of New York; his son Ryan; and a granddaughter Ashland, both of Chicago.
He also leaves a host of grateful colleagues, friends and others at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Prem S Paul, please visit our
Services are private.
Prem S. Paul Fund for Research Excellence
Established at the University of Nebraska Foundation (1010 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68508 or 800-432-3216).