Skidmore College Receives Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Grant for Buddhist Professorship
Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, New York, has received a gift to establish The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Professorship in Buddhist Studies.
The US$300,000 grant for the new tenure-track position addresses a priority at the college as it creates a new Religion Department and seeks to strengthen its interdisciplinary Asian Studies Program. The position will be a joint appointment between the two academic units.
In granting the award, the foundation cited its longstanding interest in promoting Buddhist studies and explained that 2016 is the inaugural year in which it is offering new professorship grants to institutions to establish teaching positions through an open, international competition administered by the American Council of Learned Societies. Skidmore was selected for an award from a strong pool of candidates by an international panel of distinguished scholars in Buddhist studies.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to hear of our selection by this prestigious foundation,” said Skidmore President Phil Glotzbach. “This professorship is a key building block in our quest to strengthen both our Religion and Asian Studies programs at a time when our students, and the world, need much deeper understanding about global faiths and cultures.”
Pauline Yu, president of the American Council of Learned Societies noted, “By encouraging universities and colleges worldwide to bolster their curricular offerings with new positions in Buddhist studies, the new professorships will bring the field closer to the center of academic attention.”
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation welcomes Skidmore College to its fast-growing global network of Buddhist learning. Ted Lipman, CEO of the Foundation said, “Seed-funding the establishment of the professorship meets the foundation’s fundamental objectives of advancing Buddhist studies and developing a network of scholarship that strives for excellence. We are encouraged by Skidmore’s long-term institutional commitment and trust that, as an outstanding liberal arts college, Skidmore provides a solid platform to achieve these meaningful goals.”
Skidmore has been involved in accelerating both programs over the past several years and recently added a major in Asian Studies to address a growing interest among the student body. The new professorship will expand both offerings and serve as a bridge between them. This will be Skidmore’s third full-time tenure-track faculty member in this core group. Once appointed, the new faculty member will teach three courses in Religion and two courses a year in Asian Studies. At least three of these courses will be specifically devoted to Buddhist Studies every year.
Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Beau Breslin said that the grant would strengthen Skidmore’s overall commitment to liberal education and contemporary world cultures as student and faculty interest in Buddhism continues to grow. “Our faculty members are deeply committed to drawing on the world’s literary, religious, philosophical, and artistic traditions, not only as points of contrast and comparison with the European canon, but as intrinsically valuable sources of insight into the universal questions at the heart of a liberal arts education,” he said. “A scholar of Buddhist Studies will contribute greatly to our institutional mission.”
Skidmore College is a leading American liberal arts college founded a century ago and considered to be one of the top institutions of higher education offering both a rigorous academics in the liberal arts and sciences along with pre-professional programs. With a diverse student body of 2,500 from more than 70 countries and 45 states and a faculty of 300 dedicated teacher-scholars (student-to-faculty ratio: 8 to 1), Skidmore offers more than 40 majors in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as well as in career-specific fields such as business, social work, education, and exercise science. Add to this the prominence of the performing and visual arts, which have long set Skidmore apart. Faculty have earned recognition from Guggenheim, Pulitzer, and Emmy awards to fellowships and grants from Fulbright, MacArthur, and the National Science Foundation, among others.
Seminar faculty take seriously their role as advisors and mentors, serving as each of their students’ advisors until they have selected a major. Students in each seminar are housed in rough proximity to each other in residence halls to cultivate richer learning-living communities in which lasting friendships are often formed. The college’s curriculum emphasizes foundations in the liberal arts and Skidmore is known for its interdisciplinary approach to learning, collaborative faculty-student research, and off-campus study program (60 per cent of students study abroad).
More information is available at skidmore.edu
About The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation
Established in Hong Kong in 2005, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation is a private philanthropic organisation that seeks to foster and support Chinese arts and culture, and to promote a deeper understanding of Buddhist teachings. In pursuit of that mission, the foundation engages in strategic, long-term projects around the world to support efforts that make traditional Chinese arts accessible and relevant to contemporary audiences. It also supports the creation of new works that bring innovative perspectives to the history of Chinese art and improves the quality and accessibility of scholarship on Chinese art. Guided by a belief that the insights of Buddhism have a vital role to play in approaching the challenges facing contemporary society, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation has committed resources to expanding the understanding, interpretation, and application of Buddhism.
The Foundation’s Buddhist art and studies programs include the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School, a center and an endowed professorship in Buddhist studies at Stanford University, a Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, an endowed chair and programme in Buddhism and Contemporary Society at the University of British Columbia, a series of Buddhist Studies grants administered by the American Council of Learned Societies, a Centre for Buddhist art and conservation and a MA programme in Buddhist art history and conservation at The Courtauld Institute of Art, the Galleries of Buddhist Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and exhibitions around the world.
To learn more about The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, visit: www.rhfamilyfoundation.org