Skip Navigation
OU Public Affairs WebsiteOU homepagePublic Affairs homepage

OU to Establish Premier Center for Judaic and Israel Studies with Grant from Schusterman Family Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

4-25-14

Contact: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

NORMAN -- The University of Oklahoma has received a grant from the Schusterman Family Foundation to enhance and enrich its current Judaic and Israel studies programs and offerings. The grant will enable OU to elevate its existing Schusterman Program in Judaic and Israel Studies into a full-fledged center to be housed in the Department of History. The new center will promote exemplary teaching and scholarship about Jewish history, thought and culture as well as modern Israel.

OU currently offers a wide variety of courses in Jewish history in all periods and places, Hebrew language and literature at all levels, Yiddish, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), Bible, and Jewish literature in translation, as well as anthropological, sociological, and political perspectives on the Jewish and Israeli experience. The new center will expand undergraduate, graduate and doctoral study and help to train a new cadre of students and academics specializing in the research and teaching of Judaic and Israel studies. Through public programming and outreach, the new center will deepen awareness of Jewish studies and modern Israel on campus and become an important resource in the region for those looking to learn more about these rich and varied fields.

“The University greatly appreciates this generous and strategically important grant from the Schusterman Family,” said OU President David L. Boren. “In recognition of the grant, I will recommend to the OU Board of Regents that the program be named the Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israeli Studies. The grant continues a long partnership with the Schusterman family, including their gift for our Tulsa campus.”

Three fully endowed positions, the Schusterman Chair of Israel Studies, the Schusterman/Josey Chair in Judaic Studies and the Schusterman/Josey Professorship of Jewish Intellectual History, will allow the Center to attract and retain outstanding teachers. Also adding to the strength of the Center is the establishment of a tenure-track assistant professor position in American Jewish History and a permanent position for a visiting Israeli professor, who will alternate teaching in History and in International and Area Studies.

The University will also establish two graduate fellowships and scholarships for study in Israel, enhance the Hebrew Language Instructional Program and increase library acquisitions to support undergraduate and graduate research and study.

“We have long been committed to ensuring that OU can offer its students exceptional instruction in Jewish and Israel studies,” said Lynn Schusterman, Founder and Co-Chair of the Schusterman Family Foundation. “We are thrilled to help expand this program into a leading Center in our home state and hope it continues to attract students eager to learn more about the Jewish tradition and modern Israel.”

In September, OU will launch searches to fill the new Schusterman Chair in Israel Studies, which was established by a grant from the Schusterman Family Foundation in 2007 and became fully funded with the recent State Bond issue, and the Schusterman/Josey Chair in Judaic Studies, which is being vacated by the retirement of Norman (Noam) Stillman, director of the Judaic Studies Program at OU and an internationally noted authority on the history and culture of the Islamic world and Sephardi and Oriental Jewry.

“The establishment of the Schusterman Center of Judaic and Israel Studies at OU will guarantee and enhance the strength, creativity and dynamism of this program – which already enjoys an international reputation – well into the future,” Stillman said.

The Schusterman Family Foundation has long supported the expansion of Jewish and Israel Studies as part of its broader philanthropic investments at OU and elsewhere. The Foundation established the Schusterman/Josey Chair in Judaic Studies at OU in 1993, and this single endowed position has since grown into a robust program with approximately two dozen course offerings, attracting an enrollment of more than 650 students annually, as well as a well-attended brown-bag lunch series, an annual keynote lecture and a Jewish film festival. The Schusterman family has also established the Israel Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as centers of Jewish and Israel Studies at Brandeis University and the University of Texas. 

Recent News

OU Astrophysicist Predicts Detached Eclipsing White Dwarfs to Merge Into an "Exotic Star"

NORMAN – A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist, Mukremin Kilic, and his team have discovered two detached, eclipsing double white dwarf binaries with orbital periods of 40 and 46 minutes, respectively. White dwarfs are the remnants of Sun-like stars, many of which are found in pairs, or binaries. However, only a handful of white dwarf binaries are known with orbital periods less than one hour in the Milky Way—a galaxy made up of two hundred billion stars—and most have been discovered by Kilic and his colleagues. Read More

OU Board of Regents to Hold Special Meeting

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents will hold a special meeting on Friday, Aug. 11, in Oklahoma City. Read More

OU Biologist Receives $1.2 Million NSF Grant in Support of Ecological Research

NORMAN – A University of Oklahoma biology professor, Michael E. Kaspari, has been awarded a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant to study MacroSystems ecology—exploring how Earth’s temperature, precipitation and biogeochemistry govern the abundance, diversity and activity of ecological communities. Kaspari will test these models by generating the first standardized field data from entire communities of ground dwelling arthropods—an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a segmented body and paired jointed appendages. Read More

OU Named Among Architectural Digest's Top 18 Stunning Libraries Around the World

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma’s Bizzell Memorial Library has been named among 18 stunning university libraries around the world, according to Architectural Digest. OU is the only Big 12 University to be recognized, joining the ranks of other university libraries such as Duke Humfrey’s Library at Oxford University in England; Trinity College Library at the University of Dublin..  Read More

KGOU Wins Top Radio Award

NORMAN – KGOU-FM has won the radio sweepstakes award from the Arkansas-Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters Association for the sixth time in the past seven years. The honor is given for most awards won in the AOAPB’s annual journalism contest.  Read More

News Archives

2016  | 2015  | 2014  |  2013  |  2012


For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or publicaffairs@ou.edu.