Trustee Jai P. Nagarkatti, 63

Jai P. Nagarkatti, PhD, a member of the Washington University Board of Trustees since 2007 and chairman, president and CEO of Sigma-Aldrich Corp., died Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, in St. Louis, Mo., of a heart attack. He was 63.


Nagarkatti was elected to the WUSTL Board of Trustees in 2007 and has been a member of the board’s Research-Graduate Affairs Committee.

Nagarkatti also had served on the School of Engineering & Applied Science National Council since 2006.

“I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Jai Nagarkatti,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Jai was a good friend and my thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.

“He was an outstanding contributor to the Washington University Board of Trustees and a very successful leader of a major international business headquartered in St. Louis,” Wrighton says. “He will be deeply missed.”

Nagarkatti was elected president and chief operating officer at Sigma-Aldrich, a St. Louis-based life science and technology company, in 2004. He was elected to the additional roles of CEO in 2006 and chairman of the board in 2009. Nagarkatti had been a member of the Sigma-Aldrich board of directors since 2005.

Nagarkatti joined Aldrich Chemical Co. in 1976 as a bench chemist in Milwaukee and spent his entire career with the company. Through steady promotions, he held positions at Sigma-Aldrich ranging from research and development and manufacturing to operations, sales and marketing.

Nagarkatti was born Feb. 18, 1947, in Hyderabad, India. After earning a master’s degree in organic chemistry at Osmania University in Hyderabad, he earned a doctorate in organic chemistry at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1976 and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2004.

In addition to WUSTL’s board, he also served on the board for the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Saint Louis Science Center. Besides his family, Nagarkatti enjoyed travel, good food and movies.

A memorial visitation will be held from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, at Schrader Funeral Home, 14960 Manchester Road, in Ballwin, Mo.

Nagarkatti is survived by his wife, Susan, and daughter, Shanti. Memorial gifts may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice in memory of Jai Nagarkatti.