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David & Joan Lincoln pledge $10 million to the Claremont University Project

Claremont University
February 10, 2010

Claremont School of Theology (CST) has received a $10 million pledge from David and Joan Lincoln to begin implementing the Claremont University Project, a project to develop a consortium of graduate schools representing different religious traditions anchored by an interreligious university. The Lincolns’ pledge represents the single largest gift since the School was founded in 1885.

“Joan and I are particularly pleased with the idea of creating a multi-faith university that reflects the power and potential of the 'Golden Rule', which the many faith communities have in common,” said David Lincoln. “We believe the outcome of this kind of education will be tolerance and respect among religions and the ability to better address global problems where religious collaboration and cooperation are needed to reach solutions and repair the world.”

“We are overwhelmed by this generous gift from Joan and David,” said Jerry D. Campbell, president of the School. “Moreover, they have been extremely generous with their time as well as their finances. David, a dedicated United Methodist layman, has been a trustee of Claremont School of Theology since 2003. He has been instrumental in visualizing how Claremont School of Theology might introduce a new, model of theological education that will not be segregated by religious tradition.”

In developing this new model, Claremont School of Theology will continue to offer high quality ministerial education in the Christian tradition and maintain its current affiliation with The United Methodist Church. The University model will invite new religious partners to create affiliated schools and centers to offer professional religious education in their respective traditions while contributing to an interreligious curriculum to be offered by the University.

The graduate-level University will include other masters and doctoral programs in key academic areas such as ethics, scriptures and practical fields such as spiritual counseling and interreligious education.

As members of Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, near Scottsdale, Ariz., the Lincolns have a strong interest in putting their faith into practice for the betterment of the world.

“United Methodists should be proud to have their flagship seminary on the West Coast inaugurate this unique educational model, thanks to the leadership and generosity of laypeople like the Lincolns,” Campbell added. “We expect Claremont School of Theology’s University Project to become a light for the world in terms of intercultural understanding, ethical integrity, and religious intelligence in education.”

A noteworthy ceramic artist, Joan R. Lincoln graduated from Scripps College and received her MFA from Arizona State University (ASU), which honored her as a Distinguished Alumna in 2005. An artist, writer, and arts advocate, Joan Lincoln has served as an officer of the National Society of Arts and Letters and has been a member of the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts. She has contributed to Ceramics Monthly and has been a board member of the Heard Museum in Phoenix. She has also served as councilwoman, vice mayor, and mayor of Paradise Valley, Arizona, where she and David reside.

An entrepreneur in both the profit and non-profit sectors, David L. Lincoln graduated from California Institute of Technology with Honors, and also received his M.S. in electrical engineering there. He worked in aerospace for a number of years and then became involved in a number of entrepreneurial companies in the mining, high technology, light manufacturing, and real estate sectors. His positions over the years have included: President of Bagdad Copper Corp., Founder and Chairman of Lincoln Laser Company, and President of JDL & Co. Real Estate. He has also served on several corporate boards, including Lincoln Electric Co., which built his family fortune through arc welding and electric motor inventions in the early 1900s.

Currently he is active in a number of entrepreneurial companies involved in limestone, decorative rock, dust control, water treatment, ethics education, and real estate. He is also involved with many non-profits in addition to Claremont, in the areas of ethics, land policy, global management and the John C. Lincoln Hospital.

His awards are many, including honorary doctorates from Soochow University, ASU, and Thunderbird School of Global Management, as well as two Orders of the Brilliant Star from Taiwan, Republic of China, and a Distinguished Citizens Award from ASU.