Religious freedom institute started on campus with $2.5 million gift

Updated: Jan. 27, 2016 at 12:52 p.m.

The John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation and the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom donated $2.5 million to start a religious freedom institute at GW, the University announced Wednesday.

The institute will be housed within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, according to a release. The institute will officially start this spring and will serve as a hub for religion, peace studies, political science and history.

“George Washington’s ringing defense of religious freedom continues to inspire our nation to this day,” University President Steven Knapp said in a release. “The university that bears his name is proud to become the new home of a distinguished institute dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of that legacy.”

Loeb founded the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom in 2009. He was a trustee of American University and served on several committees at Harvard University. He was the U.S. ambassador to Denmark from 1981 to 1983 and a delegate to the 38th session of the United Nations General Assembly, according to a brief biography on the Loeb Institute site.

CCAS Dean Ben Vinson said in the release that Loeb’s gift “will be transformational for students and faculty across academic disciplines as they address the pressing issues of religious diversity and freedom in contemporary society.”

Officials will appoint an executive director to lead the institute, according to the release.

Alumnus Gilbert Cisneros and his wife Jacki Cisneros started another institute within CCAS, the Cisneros Leadership Institute, with a $7 million gift last May.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.