Amid a festive mood, Dr. Jerry Campbell, President of Claremont Lincoln University, and Dr. Deepak Shimkhada, President of Indic Foundation, signed a memorandum of understanding in the Cooper Board Room of Claremont Lincoln University. Present were students, high ranking administrative staff of Claremont Lincoln University, members of the executive committee of the Indic Foundation, eminent scholars and community leaders. The program started with Vedic prayers chanted by Dr. Shukavak Dasa, the head priest of theLakshmi-NarayanTempleinRiverside,California. Dr. Shimkhada welcomed the guests and introduced Dr. Philip Clayton, Provost of Claremont Lincoln, who after welcoming the guests introduced President Campbell. Dr. Campbell outlined the vision of Claremont Lincoln University and the need for understanding world religions in today’s troubled world.
Dr. Shimkhada then introduced Indic Foundation Board Members Sushma Lal and Bina Bhatia—whom he described as two main pillar of the organization. He then introduced Dr. Gerald Larson, holder of the Swami Vivekananda Chair in Hindu Studies at theUniversityofCaliforniainIrvine. Prof. Larson briefly spoke about the right step taken by the Indic Foundation to establish a school of Hindu studies under the auspices of Claremont Lincoln. Anandrao Lingayat, poet, journalist and scholar of Kabir, compared the event with the “Churning of the Sea of Milk.” He hoped that nectar will come out from this churning.
Present also were Rev. Jan Chase, Minister of Unity of Pomona Church, Prof. Daniel Michon ofClaremontMcKennaCollege, and a few members of the Jaina community ofSouthern California.
The signing ceremony is the culmination of long-term discussions between the Indic Foundation leadership andClaremontLincolnUniversity. The Indic Foundation joins the Nalanda Confluence Institute (NCI), which signed an agreement with Claremont Lincoln on August 24, 2012, and leaders of both organizations have pledged to support the mission of the school of Hindu studies at Claremont Lincoln University. Future plans call for offering the following degrees and concentrations:
- M.A. in Hindu Studies
- M.A. in Hindu Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy
- M.A. in Hindu Theology/Philosophy
- Concentrations in Hindu Contemplative, Yogic, and Consciousness Studies, Applied Dharma, and other initiatives in partnership with Hindu spiritual institutions and community organizations.
“At the heart of Claremont Lincoln’s mission lies the ideal of building bridges of understanding with the goal of improving and repairing our shared society, environment, and world,” said Provost Clayton. “We appreciate the trusted relationship that has grown up with the Indic Foundation, and we are excited that our long process of planning is now coming to fruition. The new partnership with the Indic Foundation reaffirms Claremont Lincoln’s place as one of the most dynamic and collaborative centers for religious education in the country.”
“The Indic Foundation is equally excited about the agreement,” said Dr. Deepak Shimkhada, President of the Indic Foundation. “Endowed Hindu professorships atClaremontLincolnUniversitywill integrate the dharma-based traditions with Claremont Lincoln’s groundbreaking new model for religious and ethical higher education for the benefit of the world.”
Particularly important are the core values that Claremont Lincoln and the Indic Foundation share. Both believe that when the world’s religious leaders work together they are much better equipped to address the most urgent global issues that we face today. Using their combined wisdom, infused with the best of modern thinking, they have a unique potential to transform the world.