Former ambassador donates $12.5 million to religious freedom institute

Former U.S. Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. will donate $12.5 million to GW’s religious freedom institute that bears his name, officials announced in a press release Thursday.

Loeb’s gift to the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom, a center housed in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences dedicated to promoting religious freedom and the separation of church and state, comes about four years after he donated $2.5 million to create the institute. Officials said the donation will allow the institute to develop new programs and fellowships and become a leader in the study of religious freedom, according to the release.

“We are grateful to Ambassador Loeb for his generous philanthropy to GW, which is rooted in the strong belief that we must move beyond mere toleration of religious differences to develop sincere respect for each other’s beliefs and observances,” University President Thomas LeBlanc said in the release.

Loeb founded the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom – an independent nonprofit dedicated to promoting discussion about religious liberties – in 2009. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Poland from 1981 to 1983 and as a delegate to the 38th session of the UN General Assembly.

“Ambassador Loeb’s generosity has already had a major impact, enabling the institute to educate, train and teach George Washington’s unique and historic concepts to students and introduce a select group of undergraduates to the world of diplomacy,” said professor Samuel Goldman, the founding executive director of  the Loeb Institute.

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