Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, NY, has received a gift to establish The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Professorship in Buddhist Studies.
The $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. Skidmore was selected for an award from a strong pool of candidates by an international panel of distinguished scholars in Buddhist studies.
Skidmore President Phil Glotzbach said, “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.”
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 will 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.”