Home | News |

UC Davis Economics Remembers Khaled Kheiravar

It was extremely sad to learn, just two weeks ago, that our recent PH.D. Student, Khaled Kheiravar, tragically passed away in early July at the age of 36. Khaled had received his Ph.D. in Economics from UC Davis in Spring 2019 and had been working at the California Air Resources Board since graduation. Khaled had battled severe health issues during much of his graduate career, and his battle to overcome those challenges and to persevere and complete his Ph.D. was extremely brave and inspiring to all who knew him.

Khaled originally enrolled in a, trial class of Ph.D. students in Economics at U.C. Merced, during the academic year 2011-12. Because UC Merced was just becoming established, their Ph.D. students attended first year graduate classes at UC Davis. Khaled, along with his cohort-mate Esra Kose, both ended up transferring to UC Davis. He and Esra became integral part of the UC Davis Economic graduate student group and many of his classmates remember him with great affection and esteem. “I have so much respect for him because he didn’t give up and didn’t take any opportunity that was given to him for granted” says Esra “he was a respected colleague, a truly wonderful and supportive friend, and an incredible human. He will be truly missed.”

A native of Iran, Khaled had an interest in both energy and environmental economics, and became a mainstay of the graduate community in the energy economics program at Davis. His research explored the dynamics of global oil markets and the impact of fuel subsidies on air quality in Tehran. “He was incredibly dedicated as both a researcher and as an instructor,” says Professor James Bushnell, one of his dissertation advisors, “there were times where you could clearly see how much he was struggling with his health but he always did everything he could to provide support for his colleagues, and his students. Rather than become bitter or give up, he was always optimistic and kind.” Professor Giovanni Peri, who was Chair at the time Khaled completed his dissertation remembers him at many meetings with graduate students. “I was always very impressed by his calm and positive attitude. I remember when he and other foreign students had to deal with significant challenges caused by the Executive Orders of the Trump administration, in 2017 and 2018, banning travel for students of several countries, including Iran. Khaled was able to stay focused, fight his illness and the unjust travel restrictions, and achieve graduation. That is really remarkable”.

At the California Air Resources Board, Khaled worked on California’s carbon cap-and-trade program. “He brought a positive attitude, and a sense of both humor and purpose into the office everyday. Everyone felt lucky to have him as a colleague and he has left a big hole.” Says his colleague John Blanchette who is also a UC Davis PH.D.

As a tribute to the spirit and dedication Khaled displayed during his time at UC Davis, the Economics Department will be naming, its annual prize, awarded to the Graduate Student achieving the best GPA in the first year to Khaled’s memory. It will be the Khaled Kheiravar’s Graduate Student award, starting with academic year 2020-2021. This way all the future cohorts of PH.D. students in the UC Davis department of economics will learn about and be inspired by his story. Farewell Khaled, you will live in our hearts and in our memories.