Dr. Veena Howard, associate professor of religious studies in the Department of Philosophy, was named the first Endowed Chair in Jain and Hindu Dharma at Fresno State.

Howard specializes in Asian religious traditions including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. She is also the coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Fresno State.

Over two dozen families, individuals and foundations in the Jain and Hindu communities came together to create the endowed chair in a mutual commitment to educate current and future generations of students about the principles of nonviolence, dharma (virtue, duty), justice pluralist philosophy, the interconnectedness of all beings and care of the environment through Hindu-Jain texts, philosophies and traditions. 

As endowed chair, Howard will teach Hinduism and Jainism along with other Asian religions, and support Jain and Hindu scholarly endeavors for students, including scholarships, stipends and research funds.