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Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh will deliver this year’s baccalaureate address at the University of Southern California on May 15 in Bovard Auditorium in Los Angeles. Singh was named the Crawford Family Professor of Religion at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, beginning in the 2002-03 academic year and is chair of the religious studies department at Colby. She is an internationally recognized author and authority on Sikhism, feminist issues and poetics of the Sikh Gurus.
In April Singh gave two other important lectures in California: on Sikh theological principles at Stanford University, and on sacred Sikh aesthetics at the opening of a new permanent gallery dedicated to Sikh art at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The gallery is the first of its kind in North America, and as part of the opening ceremonies Singh received a plaque presented by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on behalf of the Sikh Foundation in recognition of her distinguished achievements.
Singh was born in India and graduated from Stuart Hall, a girls’ preparatory school in Staunton, Va. She received her B.A. in religion and philosophy from Wellesley College in 1978, her M.A. in religion from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 and her Ph.D. from Temple University in 1987. Over the years she has received awards including Phi Beta Kappa, Durant Scholar Award, Meiling Soong Award, Daughters of the American Revolution Award, Outstanding Young Women of America Award and Senior Fellow at Harvard University. She has been a member of Colby’s faculty since 1986.
Singh’s academic interests focus on poetics and feminist issues. She has published extensively in the field of Sikhism, and her books include The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent (Cambridge University Press), The Name of My Beloved: Verses of the Sikh Gurus (HarperCollins and Penguin), Metaphysics and Physics of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sterling) and Sikhism (Facts on File). She recently finished a book manuscript titled A Feminist Re-Memory of Sikh Identity. She has contributed more than 50 articles to journals, books and encyclopedias, and has given more than 100 public lectures in America and overseas. She has done broadcast commentary on television and radio in America, Great Britain, Canada and India. Her program on eastern religions and sexuality has frequently been broadcast on the History Channel. She lives in central Maine with her husband and 9-year old daughter. Information about Singh is online at www.colby.edu/profile/nksingh.