Under the vigorous leadership of Dean Ellen Aitken the Faculty has continued its long tradition of taking seriously religion in its many forms and the ways in which these influence world history. Dean Aitken’s untimely death in June 2014 has left the Faculty and its community saddened, but all the more committed to the vision of studying the world’s most influential religions in their widest horizons. Professors and graduates of McGill’s Faculty of Religious Studies have been making history for the past 60 years. Through Campaign McGill, the Faculty seeks the private support it requires to maintain its leadership role as a magnet for teaching, research and intellectual discourse in the rich field of religious studies.
To fulfill its unique potential, the Faculty of Religious Studies needs support in the following areas:
Chair in Interfaith Studies ($3-million)
The political and social climates around the world underscore the importance of religion, the inevitability of interaction among peoples of different religious faiths ad the necessity of creating harmonious ways to direct these interactions. Through the creation of a Chair in Interfaith Studies, the Faculty of Religious Studies would become a focal point for this burgeoning and ongoing discourse.
The person appointed to this position of intellectual leadership would:
- Lead new initiatives in research, professional and post-professional education.
- Act as a catalyst by challenging colleagues to discuss their own ideas and explore new points of view.
- Attract talented potential students, fostering McGill’s next generation of academic leaders and practitioners.
- Provide a focus for intellectual life in this vital field by attracting new research grants and funds for teaching and research staff.
- Heighten international awareness of developments in his or her areas of expertise by making leading contributions to publications, seminars, conferences and lectures around the world.
The Faculty seeks to recruit a senior scholar, teacher, and researcher to hold the role of Chair in Interfaith Studies. A $3-million endowment would fund the position, allowing the Chair to develop, direct and administer an Interfaith Studies program.
Graduate student support ($1-million)
The Faculty of Religious Studies is home to over 80 students involved in graduate studies. Masters and PhD students explore a broad range of fields and conduct research into key topics in the study of the world’s religions – past and present – and prepare themselves for careers in all sectors of society, in particular university teaching.
A gift of $1-million would enable the Faculty to attract, support, and encourage bright, motivated students to pursue graduate studies at McGill.
Undergraduate student support ($170,000)
With $170,000 in support for undergraduate scholarships and needs-based bursaries, the Faculty of Religious Studies would be in a position to recruit the best and brightest students from around the globe, including Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. In addition to enhancing the diversity of the student body this would add to the Faculty’s cultural mix and to the existing global connection of the Faculty’s theological program.
Right: Dean Ellen Aitken (front row, second from right) with 2008 graduates from the PhD, MA, BTh and BA programs.
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