The Mormon Studies Council works closely with the Religion Department and School of Arts and Humanities to advance Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. The Council seeks to foster interest in the study of the traditions descended from Joseph Smith in an academic context in which many religious traditions are studied alongside one another.
In partnership with the Mormon Studies Council, the Religion Department has established continuing relationships with the Latter Day Saints (LDS) community in our area. The Council advises the department on the needs and interests of the LDS community, consults with the department on the development of the Mormon Studies program, and works with it to sponsor lectures and conferences. The Council also directs fundraising efforts to support Mormon Studies at the university. The Council established the Howard W. Hunter Foundation to raise $5 million to endow a permanent Mormon Studies program at CGU. The first stage of that effort was achieved in April 2008, with the endowment of the Howard W. Hunter Chair in Mormon Studies. The first occupant of the chair was Richard Bushman and its current occupant is Patrick Mason.
The Council actively seeks donations to support Mason and the activities of Claremont Mormon Studies. This includes providing financial support for lectures and conferences and for fellowships to current and incoming students in order to attract the best and brightest to Claremont. For more information on activities and upcoming events, please visit the Claremont Mormon Studies website.
The Mormon Studies Council consists of local LDS church leaders, academics, and interested lay members. It meets regularly with university administrators, including the dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. The roots of Mormon Studies at Claremont date back to 2002. Now, after more than a decade of dedicated effort from Bushman and Mason, the Mormon Studies Council, and the Hunter Foundation, the framework has been established for a vital Mormon Studies program at Claremont. This historic effort has also provided the template for developing Mormon Studies programs at other leading universities in the United States and beyond.