Hindu Professor Named Chair of Religion Department at St. Olaf Hindu American Foundation Celebrates Achievement

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (June 2, 2007) – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) enthusiastically welcomed today the news that Prof. Anantanand Rambachan will lead the St. Olaf College Religion Department beginning this fall. Prof. Rambachan becomes the first non-Christian in 133 years to be appointed chair of the religion department at St. Olaf’s, a prestigious Lutheran liberal arts college located in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

An advisor to HAF on several projects, Prof. Rambachan most recently provided scholarly input to the Foundation’s submission of proposed changes to the presentation of Hinduism in textbooks being considered for sixth grade students in California. He also provided critical editorial assistance in preparing background material on the essential teachings of Hinduism in several of the Foundation’s amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice John Paul Stevens cited one such brief in a dissenting opinion in Van Orden vs. Perry.

“Prof. Rambachan richly deserves his appointment at St. Olaf’s, and we congratulate the college for demonstrating the pluralistic and tolerant ethos of that institution so widely regarded in the Midwest,” said Aseem Shukla, M.D., member of the HAF Board of Directors. “At HAF, we have always held that religious studies in academe benefit enormously when a practitioner of the faith teaches it with scholarly and spiritual insight, as opposed to someone who has merely studied it as a social science.”

Prof. Rambachan was born and raised in Trinidad where he completed his undergraduate studies. He then spent three years in Vedic studies and contemplation at the Chinmaya Mission’s Sandeepany Sadhnalaya monastery in Mumbai, India. After obtaining his doctorate at the University of Leeds in the U.K., Prof. Rambachan has been at St. Olaf’s since 1985.

A short interview with Prof. Rambachan is available at http://www.stolaf.edu/news/interview/rambachan/