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Foundation donates $2.5 million to establish Buddhist Studies chair

By Kurt Chirbas, Stanford Daily, October 5th, 2011

Palo Alto, California (USA) -- Hong Kong’s Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation announced a $2.5 million donation on Monday to establish an endowed Buddhist Studies chair at Stanford’s Robert Ho Center for Buddhist Studies.

With a matching gift from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the money will go toward funding the first permanent faculty post dedicated to Buddhism at the University.

The chair will work with the Office of Religious Life in an attempt to expand the outreach of the Ho Center, which was established in 2008, and improve the academic studies of Buddhism – particularly Chinese Buddhism – on campus. The gift will also fund Buddhist Studies graduate fellowships, visiting fellows, curriculum development and academic and public events.

“We at the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford are deeply grateful for the continued support of the Robert Ho Family Foundation,” Carl Bielefeldt, center co-director and religious studies professor, said in a statement to the press. “The Foundation’s endowment of a Chair in Buddhist Studies represents the first professorial chair dedicated to the study of Buddhism at Stanford. It ensures that the field of Buddhist Studies will continue to be represented at the University, and that the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies will continue to benefit from senior faculty leadership in the field.”

This is the Robert Ho Family Foundation’s second donation to Stanford. In 2008, the organization gave the University $5 million to establish the Ho Center, which is dedicated to promoting scholarly research and public awareness of Buddhism in the religious studies and general community.

The foundation also announced on Monday that it would donate $2.7 million to Harvard University to finance the Buddhist Ministry Initiative. The initiative will allow master’s students at the Harvard Divinity School to pursue studies in Buddhism.


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