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In Remembrance: Sidharth Ramakrishnan

On Wednesday September 21, Sidharth “Sid” Ramakrishnan ’19 died of an apparent suicide. He was 19 years old and from Boxborough, Massachusetts.

Friends of Mr. Ramakrishnan described him as a caring person who wanted to make the world a better place. He was known to touch others through deeply philosophical conversations that made his peers think critically and creatively. One friend, who wished to remain anonymous, admired his excitement for sharing and discussing ideas from religion to philanthropic ventures.

Mr. Ramakrishnan possessed an exceptional appreciation for irony and absurdity, which lent itself to a unique sense of humor. “He’d be intentionally contradictory,” and he tried to “defy people’s expectations,” said his friend. He was not stressed about appearances and privileged genuineness over conforming to societal norms.

He also loved science, particularly neuroscience. Both peers and Carleton staff alike have highlighted his brilliance in and out of the classroom. Before Carleton, Mr. Ramakrishnan was honored as a National Merit Scholar, and Chaplain Fure-Slocum said, “He was brilliant–maybe even in the genius category.”

Fure-Slocum will attend Mr. Ramakrishnan’s memorial service, which will be held in Acton, Massachusetts tomorrow. She will bring the paper cranes left here in the chapel as a “physical sign of his Carleton friends’ remembrance,” she said. The cranes were created by students and community members in the chapel to honor Mr. Ramakrishnan, who loved origami.

After the campus heard the news of Mr. Ramakrisnan’s death, the college organized a vigil to commemorate him and to mourn his loss. The vigil, which was held Wednesday, September 21 at 5 p.m., had over 500 people in attendance. Students and staff held a moment of silence and lit candles in Mr. Ramakrishnan’s memory, according to Fure-Slocum.

Alumni and the St. Olaf community gave flowers in two separate donations to all students in honor of Mr. Ramakrishnan and in support of students as they grieve. As a part of the campus’ memorial to Mr. Ramakrishnan, his name will be engraved on the new memorial that honors all students who have died while attending Carleton, according to Fure-Slocum.

To honor Mr. Ramakrishnan, his family set up a fund to support advances in neuroscience, a field he was passionate about. All money donated to the fund will go to The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness.

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