Ravinder Singh, Ph.D., Shares His Story

Ravinder Singh, Ph.D., Director of the Mayo Clinic Endocrine Laboratory, in Rochester, Minnesota, shares his story about growing up in India and practicing Sikhism.

Ravinder Singh, Ph.D.

Early Life
Dr. Singh was born and raised in Ludhiana, Punjab, India. Located in the northern part of India, the state of Punjab is the birthplace of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion founded in the sixteenth century by Guru Nanak.

Dr. Singh smiles as he recalls some of his favorite memories from childhood. As a young boy, he grew up in a bustling, loud, and warm household filled with his extended family members. Typical weekends included cooking meals with his parents and helping around the house. Laundry was done by manually beating the clothes, sheets, or other items before hanging them outside to dry.

“Growing up, we spoke Punjabi at home, but now I speak Punjabi, Hindu, English, and, of course, the ‘Mayo language,’” laughs Dr. Singh.

He was an active child, as most are, and played cricket, badminton, and ground hockey. In elementary school, he can remember sitting on a tarp using black ink to write on a wood plate. He also enjoyed attending gurdwaras, or Sikh temples.

Sikhism

A Sikh playing hockey.

Dr. Singh is a practicing Sikh and recognizable by his distinctive turban. Although it’s the fifth largest religion in the world, it is still relatively unknown. Sikhs believe in one God, the importance of service to others, sharing, and hard work. Dr. Singh has always tried to implement these principles in his life and regularly volunteers at the temple and other organizations. A communal meal after each service is important and helps bonds the community together. “In Sikh culture, the turban plays a special role in our faith,” says Dr. Singh. “Head coverings are a sign of respect before God, who is everywhere.”

Practicing in a New Country
Dr. Singh obtained his Ph.D. at Guru Nanak Dev University located in Amritsar, India, famous for the Golden Temple, the most important Sikh Gurdwara. In the 1980s, the state of Punjab experienced widespread strife and bloodshed, leading many to leave. Dr. Singh traveled to the U.S. and eventually settled in Rochester, Minnesota, drawn to Mayo Clinic. In 1998, there were only a handful of Sikh families in Rochester. “Continuing the traditions that I grew up with in America was initially challenging due to lack of a gurdwara, or temple, and an understanding of the religion,” says Dr. Singh.

The Singh family.

Celebrating and Connecting with Others
While there are still less than twenty practicing families here in Rochester now, the Indian community has grown substantially and is culturally vibrant, affording more opportunities for connecting with others. The Sikh Society of Rochester organizes religious and cultural activities and brings close to one hundred people together at a time for services, sharing food, and telling stories.

Dr. Singh and his wife volunteering.

Giving back is an important aspect of Sikhism. Dr. Singh and his family spend much of their free time volunteering in the community at homeless shelters and at the local food bank. When they aren’t volunteering or working, they also spend time connecting and celebrating with others, and Dr. Singh’s favorite holiday to celebrate is Guru Nanak’s birthday, the founder of the Sikhism religion.

“By far, my favorite ‘celebration food’ is paneer, paneer, paneer,” laughs Dr. Singh when asked about his favorite foods. Paneer is a homemade cheese found in traditional Indian recipes. “That is then followed by my other favorite foods of mango and guava.”

suzannerferguson

suzannerferguson

Suzanne Ferguson is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories and has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2014. Outside of work, Suzanne can be found traveling, reading and spending time with her family.

Responses

Dr.Ravinder ji You have forgotten mentioning KHALSA COLLEGE Amritsar the Istitute of inspiration for all of us in the world.Although a big acheivement of urs.

I love this man and his family. He was my friend at Guru Nanak Dev University. We used to spend time together. I leaned a lot from him. I wish him and his family all the best. USA needs more people like him.

I know Dr. Ravinder Singh personally & He is a Great Human Being dedicated for the welfare of the humanity through the profession and as an individual personal capacity. Every Indian is firm beliver of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam” means “World is one Family”. There presence and work across the globe makes them unique from others.
ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु
मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Meaning:
1: Om, May All become Happy,
2: May All be Free from Illness.
3: May All See what is Auspicious,
4: May no one Suffer.
5: Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
Best wishes.

He is a great friend and an intelligent scientist. We are proud of his successful career.

Remembering the sewa in golden temple 1984

Me… Being one of his childhood friend along with other 2 Besties… Harinder Singh and Harmeet Singh were like a close knit family, having the Previledge to receive the warmth and love from his parents as he used to get. Nicknamed as “Raja”(A King) was truely like a King for all of us. May Almighty Bless him all the Hapiness and success in life.

He is a great Philanthropist.

Proud of you sir. Wahe Guru

I didn’t know Mr. Ravinder Singh personally but I know his brother Narinderjit Singh. I worked with him and he was very humble and kind. I heard lots of story regarding Mr. Ravinder Singh. I would like to say thanks to him regarding to present a better image of Sikh community to other communities.

Mr.Ravinder Singh Ji,
Sasriakal,
We are very proud of you, and happy for you,
We wish you may achieve highest success in your life, and make your parents and India happy, and will be inspiration for young generation.
Warm Regards.

I’ve been involved in the scientific community for over 30 years. Ravinder stands above the crowd as a scientist and human being. He is among the brightest, most honest and compassionate men on the planet. We are blessed to have him among us.

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