Dr. Guarav Gopalan was found dead September 10 at 5:20 AM in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC. On September 20, the DC Medical Examiner ruled Dr. Gopalan’s death a homicide. He was 35. He was wearing women’s clothing at the time of the homicide, linking his death to a harrowing pattern of violence against trans women in DC.
Dr. Gopalan graduated from the University of Maryland with a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 2004. At the time of his death, he was employed as an Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He worked with Professor Fredric Schmitz.
Many on campus may have known Dr. Gopalan from contexts outside of Engineering. He participated with the Graduate Lambda Coalition while he was a graduate student. He also adored Shakespeare and asked to sit in on classes about Shakespeare taught by Professor Maynard Mack of the Department of English. See the comments section of an article in the Washington Post on September 13. They reported on his death being ruled as a homicide on September 20. Additionally, see the Post’s article about Dr. Gopalan’s work in the Theatre, especially with the company WSC Avant Bard on September 14. Some have reported that Dr. Gopalan was preparing to play a female role in one of Shakespeare’s comedies.
“There is no judgment… only light and dark, only truth and ignorance. What is true is good; evil is quite simply ignorance.”
– Gaurav Gopalan, program notes for Constellation Theatre’s THE RAMAYAN
When: Tuesday, September 27, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Where: West Chapel of Memorial Chapel, UMD