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Vadodara, January 2, 2015
Dr Mrunalini Devi Puar, the Chancellor of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and a member of the Gaekwad family, the erstwhile rulers of Baroda State, passed away at a hospital here late last night after a brief illness, university sources said today.
She 83. Her funeral will be held at Kirti Mandir here this afternoon, the sources said.
The Baroda University is the only one in Gujarat whose Chancellor is not the Governor of the state but a member of the former royal family because of its rule in establishing and nurturing the institution.
Dr Puar, a dietician by training, succeeded her brother Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad, the former Maharaja of Baroda, as the Chancellor of the university upon his death in 1988.
Born on June 25, 1931, Dr Puar had a B.Sc. Home from the Baroda University and did her M.S. (Food & Nutrition) from Iowa State University of Science and Technology in the United States. She later completed her Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.
Dr Puar was the first woman Chancellor of a recognized Indian University with more than 35000 students. She taught at Baroda University for about 12 years before she became its Chancellor.
She served as a member of the Commission on Education and Training, the International Union for Conservation of Nature & Natural Resources (IUCNNR), Switzerland and as Chairperson, Food & Nutrition Programme Committee, International Federation For Home Economics (IFHM), France.
She was also a member of the steering group on Nutrition, Planning Commission, Government of India and of the Governing Body, Institute Of Home Economics, New Delhi.
She was a member of the Advisory Committee for Rajiv Gandhi Institute For Contemporary Studies, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, New Delhi and a variety of other organisations.
She had published several research and popular articles in national and International Journals of repute.