Former UA Prof Funds Endowment for Archaeology in Central, Inner Asia

UA News Services
Dec. 2, 2004


A. Richard Diebold Jr. and his Salus Mundi Foundation have donated $1,020,000 to the department of anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Approximately $830,000 of the funds will be used to establish the Je Tsongkhapa Endowment for Central and Inner Asian Archaeology. The remaining money will be used to initiate two new UA professorships in medical anthropology and in sociocultural anthropology.

At present, the Je Tsongkhapa Endowment exclusively supports UA archaeological research activities in the region, including the Joint Mongolian-Russian-American Archaeological Expeditions (http://www.ic.arizona.edu/~mongolia/ ) and other ongoing multinational archaeological projects in Qinghai, Tibet, Xinjiang and Siberia. In time, the endowment will support an increasingly broad geographical and interdisciplinary range of archaeological research activities.

As the endowment grows, it will generate a University of Arizona Je Tsongkhapa Fellowship program to support post-baccalaureate (including post-doctoral) students and scholars in the social and behavioral sciences who study the peoples and cultures of Central and Inner Asia.The endowment honors the 14th-century Tibetan Buddhist scholar, teacher and reformer whose ordained name, Lobzang Dragpa, is less well-known than his honorific titles, Je Tsongkhapa or simply Je Rinpoche.

"Our anthropology department is currently ranked fifth in the country, and our archaeology program is second in the country. This gift will allow us to continue to maintain those rankings. We are thrilled and extremely grateful to Richard Diebold and the Salus Mundi Foundation for this generous gift," said Edward Donnerstein, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Richard Diebold, a professor emeritus who taught at the UA from 1974 to 1992, previously made the largest individual donation to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with his $2 million gift to anthropology in October of 2002. The name of his foundation, Salus Mundi, means the "well-being of humanity."

"Professor Diebold's unsurpassed generosity will make it possible for University of Arizona archaeologists to strategically explore one of the most fascinating cultural and geographical regions on Earth. Ranging from the Caspian Sea to Mongolia and Siberia to Tibet, Central and Inner Asia have traditionally been among the world's poorest-known archaeological provinces. We offer our sincere thanks to Professor Diebold and the Salus Mundi Foundation for creating this unparalleled opportunity," said John Olsen, head of the UA department of anthropology.

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John W. Olsen
520-621-6298
olsenj@email.arizona.edu