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Roy and Carol Christensen create Mormon Studies endowment with $500,000 gift

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Trustee Roy Christensen and his wife, Carol Christensen, have given $500,000 to establish an endowed fellowship in support of Claremont Graduate University (CGU's) Mormon Studies program.

The Robert L. Millet Fellowship will fund scholarships and research for CGU Mormon Studies students intending to pursue careers teaching religion and engaging in related research at either the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ institutes and seminaries or the campuses of Brigham Young University.

“The Mormon Studies program has already made groundbreaking contributions in religious studies research and graduate education, and with the support of Roy and Carol Christensen’s incredible gift for the Robert L. Millet Fellowship, the sky’s the limit,” said CGU President Deborah Freund. “I am so proud of the program’s success and eager to see what it will do next.”

The Mormon religion has grown to more than 13 million members worldwide, prompting a demand for serious academic scholarship alongside the world's other major religions. CGU’s Religion programs offers graduate and doctoral students both the widest Mormon Studies track in the United States and the only endowed chair in Mormon Studies outside of Utah.

The Christensens have supported the university's Mormon Studies program from its infancy. In addition to the establishment of the Robert L. Millet Fellowship, they were instrumental in the creation of a $3 million endowment in support of the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies.

Christensen, the chairman of the Ensign Group, has served on CGU's Board of Trustees since 2009. He was a member of President Richard Nixon's Healthcare Advisory Task Force on Medicare and Medicaid and spent four years as a member of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare's Advisory Task Force. He has served as a long-term care consultant to several European countries and in 1991 was invited by West Germany to consult on post-reunification development of its nursing home industry.

The fellowship is named in honor of prominent Mormon theologian Robert L. Millet, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.

The Robert L. Millet Fellowship will be administered by the Howard W. Hunter Foundation, which was established in 2006 to endow a chair and a center for Mormon Studies within Claremont Graduate University's School of Religion.

The Howard W. Hunter Foundation and the Mormon Studies Council at CGU are committed to raising additional funds to match the Christensens’ $500,000 initial endowment.

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