Milledgeville, GA: Georgia College and State University has announced the establishment of the “S & R Palvia Endowed Veetraag Vigyaan Professorship in Jain Studies.”
“Thanks to a generous gift of $250,000 from Dr. Shailendra Palvia and Rajkumari Palvia, the endowed professorship will allow the Georgia College Department of Philosophy, Religion and Liberal Studies (PALS) to facilitate the infusion of Jain perspectives in courses like philosophy, religion, literature, history and art. GCSU plans to hire the Endowed Professor in Jain Studies — who will teach courses incorporating Jain perspectives — by Fall 2023,” the statement from the university said.
According to Dr. Eric Tenbus, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, “The gift to endow a professorship in Jain Studies is a wonderful opportunity for Georgia College students to further explore the diverse religious cultures of the wider world and to learn about the similarities and differences between various religious traditions, all with the understanding that the world is becoming a smaller place and that we in higher education have an obligation to encourage our students to seek out knowledge and understanding from across the vastness of human civilization. That is at the core of a liberal arts education.”
Jainism is an ancient religion, originating in India. Its three core pillars are “Ahimsa,” meaning non-violence towards all living beings; “Anekantwad,” invoking respect for all perspectives on any issue; and “Aparigraha,” seeking satisfaction with limited possessions.
“PALS already embodies the core tenets of Jainism in its courses. Anekantwad is the basis of our liberal arts commitment to embrace the study of various perspectives – domestic and global, contemporary and historic. Courses in Animal Ethics and Social Justice embody the philosophy of Ahimsa, as it applies to human and non-human animals. And, Aparigraha is the foundation of courses in Environmental Ethics, Food Ethics and Climate Change,” Dr. Sunita Manian, Chair of PALS said.
The gift will enable PALS to build on the commitments of this endowment through the application of Jain principles. This adds a new dimension to the study of contemporary challenges facing humanity and the world. The initial gift from the Palvia family is complemented by the commitment of an annual gift of $10,000 from the Jain Community of America.