A new department of Jewish studies will be established at San Francisco State University following a $3.75 million grant from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, it was announced.
The endowment enables the university to elevate its existing Jewish studies program to department status and establish an endowed chair in Israel studies.
"As conflicts in the Middle East continue, it is vitally important to provide students with a deeper and more fully developed understanding of Israel," Richard Goldman, founder and president of the fund, said it a statement released by San Francisco State.
The university said the gift was the largest ever received to endow an academic chair in the history of the California State University system.
The new professor, expected to join the faculty next year, will concentrate on Jewish literature and history and contribute to inter-department dialogue with colleagues in political science, history, Middle East and Islamic studies disciplines.
The gift "will put us on the cutting edge of a new and exciting area of scholarship (and) strengthen our commitment to keeping SF State a place where all ideas and points of view can be frankly and openly discusses and where discourse remains civil," university President Robert Corrigan said in a statement.
The new department of Jewish studies will be the only such academic department in the state university system and the only one in the Bay Area offering undergraduate study, according to San Francisco State officials.