"Make each day count": Learning commons dedicated to alumna, Rashmi Bale

Augustana's Bale Learning Commons was recently named to honour the life of late alumna, Rashmi Bale, whose parents gave a generous gift to Augustana Campus to name the commons and create a bursary in memory of their daughter.

Tia Lalani - 31 October 2018

By Sydney Tancowny

Augustana dedicated the Learning Commons to late alumna, Rashmi Bale, who passed away in a motor vehicle accident in the summer of 2017.

In late September, surrounded by rays of light and joined by students, staff, faculty and friends, Augustana Campus dedicated the learning commons to late alumna, Rashmi Bale.

With outward facing walls comprised almost entirely of glass, a spacious interior and high ceiling, Augustana's Learning Commons has always been a beautiful space. Previously, the space was unused by students, housing various office cubicles that blocked the beautiful view out onto a ravine. Now, space has been transformed into a one-stop student service centre and has been given a name that matches the beauty inside.

The Rashmi Bale Learning Commons is named in memory of late alumna, Rashmi Bale, who spent some of the most enjoyable years of her short life on the U of A's Augustana Campus. Graduating from Augustana with her Bachelor of Management in 2015, Rashmi went on to earn her law degree from the University of Leicester. Rashmi had dreams of becoming a professional human rights advocate in the effort of protecting the innocent. Unfortunately, Rashmi and her brother, Ritvik, passed away in a motor vehicle accident in the summer of 2017 in Calgary, AB.

Ravi Bale speaks about his daughter and the new space dedicated to her.

Wanting to provide a permanent place for Rashmi's memory to reside, her parents, Ravi and Rajni Bale, gave a generous gift to Augustana Campus to name the learning commons and create a bursary in honour of their daughter.

"Rashmi showed immense commitment to friends, campus activities and her role with the Augustana Student's Association due to an eagerness to support, sometimes beyond her capabilities. The Learning Commons embodies her personality in that it fosters interaction and seeks to provide assistance, just as Rashmi did." - Ravi Bale

The dedication event saw speakers not only reflect upon the space and how it will impact students, but also on what it means to name that space after Rashmi. Augustana professor, Varghese Manaloor, said, "Rashmi is a Sanskrit word which means "ray of light". Today, Rashmi is not with us. However, the rays of light in this space will help us remember and honour her."

Fellow Augustana alumnus and friend of Rashmi, Geordie Nelson spoke and thanked Ravi and Rajni for naming the space after her: "I didn't realize how much of an impact Rashmi made on myself and others until she was gone. This space means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to her other friends as well."

Speaking to those present, Ravi Bale touched upon the inscribing on Rashmi's memorial plaque now hanging at the entrance of the Learning Commons, "Make each day count", which was a motto of Rashmi's. "I plan to live Rashmi's saying for the rest of my days for her," Ravi said. During his speech, Ravi called on those present to consider living in the way Rashmi would have-defending the innocent, adopting children and making a commitment to becoming an organ donor.

"As the years pass and students enter and graduate from Augustana," Augustana's Dean Allen Berger explained, "Rashmi's energy and spirit will remain. The Bale family's generous donation to establish the Rashmi Bale Learning Commons will ensure future students will benefit from the supports that allowed Rashmi to flourish on this campus for generations to come."

Ravi and Rajini Bale pose in front of their late daughter's plaque in front of the newly named Rashmi Bale Learning Commons.