Sept. 19, 2007
By Anita Martin
Chris Diltz, an Ohio University second-year applied physics and math major from Malta, Ohio, knew Abhishek Singh as both a teacher and a friend. So he is especially honored to benefit from the generosity of individuals who felt it important to celebrate Singh's life by establishing an undergraduate scholarship.
Friends and colleagues of Singh, who died after a June 30 traffic accident in Athens, already have collected $17,000 to create the Abhishek Singh Endowed Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship. The fund includes $1,000 in discretionary funds specifically designated so that the scholarship could be awarded this academic year.
To assist the effort
Click here to donate or pledge to the Singh Memorial Scholarship or contact Ellen Fultz, senior director for development, at 740-597-2145 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks made payable to The Ohio University Foundation, Abhishek Singh Scholarship, may be mailed to the foundation at P.O Box 869, Athens, OH, 45701-0869.
"It is just remarkable that through a grassroots effort, the university community raised that money in less than three months," said Jennifer Bowie, a director of development for University Advancement. "We give people two years to raise the $15,000 needed for an endowed scholarship, and it usually takes them that long. This speaks volumes about the impact Abhishek Singh had on the people he worked with here."
Singh, of Faizabad, India, was pursuing a doctorate in physics, and he served as Diltz' lab instructor. Impressed with Singh's knowledge of and passion for physics, Diltz struck up a conversation.
"After that we talked a lot," Diltz said, "about physics, our lives, dreams, goals and families. ... We both grew up in poor families."
Aware of Diltz' financial challenges, Singh had approached administrators in the Department of Physics and Astronomy to help find him a grant.
"I'm here basically on grants and scholarships, and this one is really special. I'm honored to have it," Diltz said. "Abhishek was a great influence on my life. He loved working with undergraduate students, and he tried to get a lot of people interested in physics."
Department Chair Joseph Shields said the scholarship honors Singh's dedication to undergraduate education and his role as teacher and mentor.
"Abhishek's death was a great loss to our department. He was passionate about physics and an original thinker," Shields said. "I am very grateful to the many individuals who have donated to this fund. Abhishek's passing is still fresh in our minds and a source of pain for those who knew him. I am glad that we are able to proceed without delay in making an award,in order to give visibility to this memorial."
Shields said the department hopes to raise $25,000 for the scholarship fund, allowing for an annual scholarship award of $1,000.
Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English and African American Studies, led the Abhishek Singh Memorial in July. He, too, has been calling for donations to the scholarship fund as well as advocating for safety measures at the Ohio 682-Richland Avenue intersection where the accident occurred.
"Members of the South Asian community in Athens are pleased that the physics department has awarded the first Abhishek Singh Memorial Scholarship for 2007-08 to Chris Diltz," said Amritjit Singh, who is not related to Abhishek Singh. "While we all wait for a judicial resolution of issues surrounding Abhishek's tragic death, we take satisfaction that Abhishek's untimely death is leading to some good things on and around the campus."