I just got home from a memorial service for Dr. Manbir Singh, who was the professor of my medical imaging class last semester, which you may remember as the class I gave my favorite class award to in the fall. Sadly, Dr. Singh passed away while visiting his family in India over winter break. I recommend reading this Daily Trojan article about Dr. Singh’s life and accomplishments.
Dr. Nikias, the president of the University, spoke during the memorial, along with Dr. Norberto Gryzwacz, the Biomedical Engineering Department Chair and the chairs of both the Neurology and Radiology departments. The graduate students who were completing their Ph. D’s in his lab did most of the work in organizing the memorial, and their words in his honor were beautiful and moving. It was amazing to hear about how great and supportive a mentor he was to them. It was a night filled with amusing and inspiring anecdotes about his life.
It was impressive to learn about his accomplishments as well. Dr. Singh was a pioneer in SPECT imaging, and developed countless breakthroughs in Magnetic Resonance technology and image processing. Dr. Singh did so much to move the medical imaging field forward that it’s hard to imagine where the field might be today without him. Learning this made me feel even luckier to have had the chance to take his class. With so many accomplishments under his belt, he still loved teaching and took the time to get new students excited about medical imaging as well.
I know it might sound corny, but believe me, the Trojan Family is not just something USC talks about having, and it’s not just a fancy name for an alumni network: the Trojan Family is very much a real, supportive network, and this memorial proves it. People from all parts of the university and every level of educational background gathered for a few hours of our busy night to remember the impact of one man, and you really can’t describe the feeling of the memorial as anything other than that of a family grieving for the loss of one of its members. Maybe you can’t really see it until you’re here, but please take my word for it: the Trojan Family is honestly my favorite part about USC.
When I arrived at the memorial, I was struck by just how many students (undergrad and graduate), professors (from multiple departments and universities), and even employees and volunteers from many of Dr. Singh’s philanthropic efforts, were in attendance. I saw most of my BME professors, several TAs, and even our academic advisers. Some students in attendance had never even met Dr. Singh or taken his class. Every single person waited in line for up to an hour to sign the memorial guest book as well.
I’m really glad I attended this memorial. Not only to pay my respects to Dr. Singh and his family, but also because it has made me value my relationships with the rest of my professors even more, and did a lot to remind me what I love so much about being a part of the Trojan Family.