Mike Kaufman & Ken Levin, Amherst ’86

Sameer and I met Freshman year at Amherst, and was my roommate at Amherst for 3 years, sophomore through senior year, and in New York for a year after college. We also traveled a great deal together. We most recently saw each other in Chicago in January and at our 25th Amherst reunion in June 2011.

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

I am pasting below the In Memory tribute that Ken Levin and I wrote about Sameer for Amherst College, November 2011. Ken is a friend and classmate and was a roommate of Sameer’s and mine in New York.

Thoughts about Sameer. 

Sameer N. Shah, beloved friend and classmate, left us in a tragic accident shortly after our 25th reunion. It is a struggle to find words to properly convey the size of his life and spirit. Sameer’s wit, warmth and originality were contagious. His intelligence made tremendous success at Amherst, in his MBA program at Stanford and in his strategic and financial consulting career, appear easy. In recent years he reached new levels of happiness with his wonderful family.

We instantly recognized in Sameer broad intelligence and vigorous intellectual curiosity. It was visible in his classes, conversation and astute perceptions of the world. Many of us envied Sameer’s ability to set the curve in his economics classes after only a single night of study at the end of a semester. Sameer’s education at Amherst extended his breadth as well as an already deep and proficient expertise in business and economics. He went on to McKinsey & Co., and eventually became an expert among experts, advising Wall Street firms on investment strategy.

Beyond his obvious intellectual gifts, Sameer glowed in the presence of people. Wearing his signature khakis, a tailored button-down shirt and loafers, he lingered in conversation at Valentine meals, parties and the office of the Amherst Student. He drew people into his playful orbit by smiling, laughing, joking, dissecting the world and exposing irony everywhere. Sameer was a genuine friend, thoughtful, encouraging and steadfast.

Sameer discovered a new depth of contentment in his marriage to Surekha and in parenting their children, Sanjana and Arjun. Even when Sameer was apart from his children, he radiated an unmistakable paternal glow. Sameer always cherished the familial love and connection he shared with his parents, Naren and Neena, and his brother, Shalin. He was bringing these same gifts into his own family.

Sameer had an irrepressible love of Amherst, his friends and acquaintances, and the ideals and experiences we shared with him. In a conversation after our 25th reunion, he repeated how lucky he felt to have had this privilege. We will always remember Sameer as the brilliant, fun-loving, and gregarious rebel, the caring and devoted friend and classmate, the tender and devoted husband and father. He was an exuberant spirit that made our lives brighter. The privilege these past 29 years was ours.

-Mike Kaufman, Amherst ’86

-Ken Levin, Amherst ’86