Sep 18, 2011

Claremont Lincoln University to Offer Jain Studies

By PARIMAL M. ROHIT

indiawest.com September 15, 2011 03:10:00 PM

CLAREMONT, Calif. — Over 300 people filled the Seeley G. Mudd Theater on the Claremont School of Theology campus here Sept. 6 to commemorate the official launch of the first multi-religious university in Claremont, Claremont Lincoln University, and its offering of academic studies in Jainism.

The university announced both the launch of Claremont Lincoln University and the “signing of a wide-ranging Letter of Understanding between the International School for Jain Studies and Claremont Lincoln” at the 2011 Fall Convocation event.

Known as “ISJS at Claremont Lincoln,” the academic program will integrate “the Jain community (to) become a vital member of this international consortium of religions” at what is considered “the world’s first fully inter-religious university.”

This first-ever formal academic program in Jainism by an institution of higher learning in the United States was made possible, in part, by a $40 million donation by D avid and Joan Lincoln, an Arizona couple who previously gave $10 million to the school.

With the donation and their association with the International School for Jain Studies, the Lincolns hope to bring greater academic awareness to the Jain faith as well as provide the university with enough resources to train clergy in other religions, such as Islam and Judaism.

“I was just interested in the religion,” Lincoln explained, adding that he was most attracted to the religion’s elements of peace, love and togetherness.

Speaking on behalf of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America and the Jain Center of Southern California, Rajen Dhami said every effort will be made to support Claremont Lincoln University’s endeavors in adding Jainism to its curriculum.

“We at JAINA and the JCSC are committed to support the Jain studies program at the CLU to ensure that it grows,” Dhami said, adding that the Jain Center has at its disposal thousands of books on the Indian faith available to the university. Dhami also presented Lincoln with gifts from the Buena Park-based Jain Center.

“The Jain partnership represents one of the most significant steps in applied religion that the university has taken so far. Not only is Jainism the first Eastern tradition represented in the university, but the ‘Jain way of life,’ which includes compassion to all life forms, beautifully intersects with and extends the university’s educational offerings,” Dr. Philip Clayton, the provost of Claremont Lincoln University, said.

With a curriculum in development, Claremont Lincoln University plans to offer classes as early as the Spring semester of 2012 and Jainism courses in India as early as the Summer of 2012.

In working with the university to become a permanent member of the Claremont Lincoln consortium, the International School for Jain Studies donated a collection of books on Jainism to the institution’s library.

The International School of Jainism Studies is the fourth association to be affiliated with Claremont Lincoln University. Three co-founders and affiliates established the university, including the Claremont School of Theology, the Academy for Jewish Religion (California) and the Islamic Center of Southern California.

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