For Immediate Release
October 30, 2014, Berkeley, CA — At its meeting on October 29, 2014, the Board of Trustees of the Graduate Theological Union reviewed a series of recommendations from a consulting firm regarding the school’s current and future programming. The board has announced several key decisions that will strengthen the GTU’s status as a premier center for the study of the world’s major religious traditions.
The Board strongly endorsed a plan presented by President Riess Potterveld that includes eight different initiatives to expand the academic centers and programs of the GTU. These initiatives include measures to create endowed faculty positions and programs focused on the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain religious traditions, Mormon Studies, and Buddhist traditions outside of Japan. These new directions will complement the hallmark GTU programs and degree offerings in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Studies. On Monday, October 27, an agreement between the GTU and the Dharma Civilization Foundation was signed that will bring a full-time faculty member in Dharma Studies to the GTU in Spring 2015.
Recognizing the significance and uniqueness of the GTU’s academic programs, the Board unanimously affirmed its enthusiastic ongoing commitment to a robust doctoral program that is ecumenical, interreligious, and interdisciplinary. The GTU will explore the expansion of the existing MA area of concentration in Interreligious Studies for students whose interests focus on study of multiple traditions. The Board also reaffirmed its commitment to maintain a world-class research library for GTU students and faculty.
In addition, the Board celebrated last year’s stellar performance of the school’s investments, which added $4 million to the endowment, while directing the administration to take steps necessary to narrow the operating deficit for the current year and to propose a balanced budget for next year.
During the meeting, members of the board viewed for the first time works of sacred art that were given to the GTU by the Lanier Graham family this past summer. The GTU will soon make this art available for viewing by its students and the wider public, beginning with an exhibition of Tibetan Buddhist sculptures in February 2015.
About the GTU
The Graduate Theological Union, located in Berkeley, CA, is a theological consortium offering education for academic and religious leadership within a unique ecumenical and interreligious context. Founded in 1962, the consortium is the largest and most diverse partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States, dedicated to building bridges within and across different religious traditions by educating students for teaching, research, ministry, and service. The GTU works collaboratively with the University of California, Berkeley, and is the home of the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, one of the largest theological libraries in the country.