Fr. Leahy To Participate In Ford Foundation Event

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will participate today in a discussion on religious pluralism and American higher education, at a special meeting in New York City organized by the Ford Foundation.

Fr. Leahy will join a small group of university and college presidents, who will talk with Ford representatives about ways the foundation may help higher education institutions assess the educational implications and significance of religious diversity, according to a letter from Ford describing the event.

Setting the context for the meeting, the letter states, is "the marked increases both in student interest and enrollments in religion and in the degree of religious diversity on our country's campuses." In addition to Christians and Jews, the letter said, student bodies often include practicing Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and people from other religious traditions.

This diversity will likely require "more attention than institutions of higher education often give it," the letter said, and involve more facets of the institution than campus chaplains and their office.

At the meeting, the group will explore how the emergence of religious diversity has raised academic and non-academic issues on campus, and who addresses these issues besides the chaplaincy. The presidents also will talk about their leadership roles in relation to such issues and conflicts, and the potential contributions the Ford Foundation might make to the discussion.

- Sean Smith

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