Chair in Judaic Studies

The College of Idaho is establishing an endowed faculty Chair in Judaic Studies. This effort underscores a traditional strength of the College in religious and historical studies, long a part of our humanities curriculum.

The Chair in Judaic Studies

The Chair in Judaic Studies, the first of its kind in Idaho and the Intermountain West, promises to have a dramatic positive impact on discussions of tolerance, human rights and interfaith awareness far beyond our campus. In keeping with the College’s rich tradition in religious, historical and cultural studies, the Chair in Judaic Studies will be filled by a distinguished scholar of Jewish history and Judaism who will guide curricular development and serve as cultural mediator and voice of progressive dialogue.

The strategic plan for the Chair envisions an interdisciplinary Judaic Studies curriculum that links courses currently taught by the departments of History and Religion with new courses highlighting areas of expertise of the Chair. Also the Chair will coordinate a public lecture series that addresses contemporary issues, promotes openness and tolerance, and fosters greater understanding and appreciation of Jewish traditions, culture, and philosophy throughout the Intermountain West.

Matching Funds

The College of Idaho has received $500,000 in matching grant funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). These funds, matched by $1.5 million raised by the C of I, will be used to establish the Chair in Judaic Studies and support the lecture series and associated programming.

the howard berger - ray neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies

In just three years we have built this endowment to more than $2 million to support the Chair’s salary and benefits. The Chair in Judaic Studies is part of The College of Idaho's Advance The Legacy campaign, which will raise $175 million in gifts and pledges by 2016, the College's 125th anniversary. The Chair is named in honor of Dr. Howard Berger, one of the College's most beloved professors, and alumnus Ray Neilsen ('88) whose generous contributions have helped the College exceed its fundraising goal well ahead of schedule.

Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Lectureship in Judaic Studies

Gifts totaling $400,000 from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation have helped create an endowment fund to promote greater understanding of Jewish traditions, culture and philosophy.

Programming has already begun. Guest speakers include Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor, Professor Richard Freund (University of Hartford), Sid Lapidus, past President of the American Jewish Historical Society, Gil Hoffman, correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Although the lecture series is supported through a challenge grant from the NEH, any views, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this series do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To Make a Gift

Commitments to the Chair may be made as an outright gift of cash, securities or other property; through your estate; through a charitable remainder trust; or as a pledge. Gifts and pledges paid by July 2015 count toward the NEH matching grant.

The College always has relied on friends and alumni to maintain the tradition of excellence and achievement that Dr. Boone envisioned.  We invite you to consider being part of this legacy of exceptional education, service, and community involvement through the Chair in Judaic Studies.