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Distinguished American scholar Richard Bushman joins School of Religion; Featured in Salt Lake City Tribune

Monday, October 22, 2007

Salt Lake City Tribune article

Claremont Graduate University has named distinguished American scholar Richard Lyman Bushman as the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in its School of Religion.

Bushman, emeritus from the Gouverneur Morris Chair of American History at Columbia University, is among the most widely known and highly regarded historians of Mormonism, and in particular the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to his career at Columbia, Bushman has taught at Harvard University, Brown University, Boston University, the University of Delaware, and Brigham Young University. He is the author of 11 books, including From Puritan to Yankee: Character and the Social Order in Connecticut, 1690-1765 (Harvard University Press, 1967), for which he won the Bancroft Prize in American History. His most recent book is Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Knopf, 2005), the bestselling biography of the founder of Mormonism.

"At the School of Religion, we are committed to studying the full breadth of religious experiences," said Dean Karen Torjesen. "With his broad background in American cultural and religious history, Professor Bushman will make a vitally important contribution to our mission."

“I am hopeful that with this position at Claremont that Mormonism will be understood as a religion of substance that deserves the kind of scholarly attention that we believe it does,” Dr. Bushman said. “Claremont Graduate University has answered affirmatively to that question.”

Claremont's School of Religion is dedicated to studying religions’ interdependence, cultural exchange, and unique contribution to civilization. Currently, eight faith advisory councils -- including the Mormon Studies Council -- facilitate this process. Bushman’s experience and scholarship adds significant depth and strength to the Mormon studies program in the school.

Program activities have included courses taught by Armand Mauss, Mormon Studies Council member and prominent scholar in Mormon studies in his own right. "The Claremont program is excellent," Mauss commented. "No other scholar in the field can match Bushman’s stature and accomplishment."

For the academic year beginning in fall 2007, Bushman will also hold a research fellowship at the Huntington Library at nearby San Marino. His presence in Southern California and in the School of Religion will allow him to be involved in the further develop of this groundbreaking program in Mormon Studies at Claremont.

Bushman’s spouse, Claudia Lauper Bushman, herself a distinguished scholar in American history at Columbia, will also teach courses at Claremont as an adjunct professor.

A further enhancement of the Mormon studies program was announced in May 2006 when the university and the school’s Mormon Studies Council initiated a multi-million dollar endowment campaign to fund the Howard W. Hunter Chair and Mormon Studies Program. Named for the late Howard W. Hunter, 14th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only church president from California, the chair will be the first of its kind at a secular university in the United States.

CGU President Robert Klitgaard observed that the Claremont School of Religion is tackling one of the biggest problems in the world today, noting that the Hunter Chair in Mormon Studies is “absolutely pivotal” to the school’s mission. “God willing, we will be a world leader in creating religious tolerance and understanding.”


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