$1.5 Million Gift to Support Religious Studies Initiatives at UT Austin

AUSTIN, Texas A $1.5 million gift from the Foundation for Biblical Studies will support graduate students and faculty research in the study of Christian origins and related fields at The University of Texas at Austin.

The gift will be used to create the Foundation for Biblical Studies Excellence Fund in the College of Liberal Arts for the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins (ISAC) and the Department of Religious Studies.

"The Foundation for Biblical Studies has a long history of supporting early Christian studies, both teaching and research, and it has been instrumental in helping establish the Department of Religious Studies and see it grow to include a graduate degree program," said Max Miller, foundation president. "The members of the foundation board feel that this excellence fund can ensure that religious studies will to be taught and researched for a long time at The University of Texas. We feel that we have succeeded beyond our hopes, and now establishing this excellence fund is the right thing for us to do."

The foundation's contributions to the study of Christian origins commenced with the late William Shive, professor of chemistry at UT Austin, who worked to establish the foundation and the religious studies program.

"Through its continued support, the Foundation for Biblical Studies has helped to ensure that UT Austin will long be a center of academic excellence for the study of the biblical world, early Judaism, and Christian origins," said L. Michael White, chair in Classics and Religious Studies and ISAC director.

He said the new gift specifically targets graduate education and research, and will thereby promote many areas of interdisciplinary study for undergraduates and graduates alike.

"It is nearly impossible to overstate how significant the financial support of the foundation has been for us in ISAC and Religious Studies," White said. "We are extremely grateful to the members of the foundation for their commitment both to UT and to this important area of scholarship and education."