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SFSU names Jewish history, ethics scholar Marc Dollinger to endowed
Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility


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June 27, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Jewish history and ethics scholar Marc Dollinger will fill the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University beginning Aug. 19.

Dollinger, an associate professor of history at Pasadena City College, recently accepted the position in the SFSU Jewish Studies Program. His appointment was made possible by a $1 million gift from the San Francisco-based Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund in 1997, at the time the largest donation in the University's history.

"I am delighted to announce that Marc Dollinger has accepted our offer to fill the endowed Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility," SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan said. "His appointment is a landmark for the Jewish Studies Program and, more broadly, the University. His expertise in various areas of Jewish studies will benefit students of all backgrounds for many years to come and make significant contributions to the overall life of our campus community."

Dollinger, 38 and a fifth-generation native San Franciscan, will focus on the teaching and research of Jewish social ethics and civic responsibility in health care, the environment, business, education and politics. He is also charged with developing a public lecture series on Jewish social ethics and responsibility.

"The Goldman Chair is the nation's first endowed chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. It creates a new academic field in a subject that is critical to understanding both the Jewish experience as well as many of the most important historical and ethical challenges of the larger world," Dollinger said. "With this appointment, I look forward to developing the chair and the Jewish Studies Program into a vibrant and exciting center for learning, teaching and community service."

He has developed, and will be teaching in the fall, a new upper-division course called Jewish Social Responsibility. His mission is to write new Jewish Studies courses to complement the modern Jewish Studies Program and, in the coming year, he will develop courses on American and California Jewish history.

The author of "Quest For Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern America," Dollinger has presented lectures across the country and published many articles in academic books and journals. He is co-editor of the book "California Jews," to be published next year, and is working on a book that explores the transformation of Jewish liberalism in the 1960s.

His areas of expertise are Jewish history of the United States and California, Jewish social responsibility, liberalism, modern Jewish identity, Jews and public policy, and separation of church and state.

"I enthusiastically look forward to working with Professor Dollinger," said SFSU Dean of Human Relations Kenneth Monteiro, who led the search committee for the endowed chair. "I find him to be a brilliant scholar. Moreover, I appreciate that he is an extremely principled individual. He clearly articulates his own position, yet is open to hear dissenting views with a conviction that he can find common ground."

Aside from his professorship at Pasadena City College, Dollinger served a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University in 2000 and was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and humanities lecturer at Bryn Mawr College in 1995. He has taught at a variety of institutions, including the Irwin Daniels Graduate School of Jewish Communal Service at the Los Angeles campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, UCLA, California State University Northridge and California State University Long Beach.

Dollinger earned a doctorate in history in 1993 and master's degree in history in 1989, both from UCLA. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986.

Dollinger, who will be a tenured professor, becomes SFSU's third endowed chair, a highly prestigious professorship created by a large donation to an institution.

Rhoda Goldman, who died in 1996, and her husband Richard established the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, which has given millions of dollars in grants to environmental causes. The Goldmans also created the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize to reward grass-roots environmentalists and the Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Fund at Human Rights Watch to help protect environmental activists. Richard Goldman received the honorary degree doctor of humane letters from SFSU last year.

A $375,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant, awarded in 1998, will create a second SFSU endowed chair in Jewish Studies when fully matched. It is the second NEH grant ever awarded to a Jewish Studies Program.

Founded in 1993, the SFSU Jewish Studies Program offers about 11 courses taken by nearly 250 students each semester. Course offerings include Good and Evil: Jewish Ethics, Yiddish Theatre, Modern Jewish History, Jewish Thought and Culture, and Israeli Democracy: Politics, Institutions and Society. A diverse group of SFSU students from many racial and ethnic backgrounds as well as others from the community, including participants in SFSU's elders programs, enroll each semester. The program offers a minor in Jewish Studies and a graduate certificate in Jewish Community Studies. A bachelor's degree will be offered soon.

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Last modified June 27, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs