Mission Statement: The Mormon Studies Council and Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon studies at Claremont Graduate University promote a robust and scholarly understanding of Mormon culture and religion through free and open dialogue, original scholarship, graduate education, and public outreach.
The Howard W. Hunter Foundation, a California non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, was formed on February 15, 2006 in support of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University.
Approval for the use of President Hunter’s name for this academic chair was granted by the Hunter family and by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 8, 2004.
After 35 years as an apostle, Howard W. Hunter became the 14th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 5, 1994, at age 86. Despite ill health, he maintained a busy schedule with extensive traveling and speaking. Only nine months later, on March 3, 1995, President Hunter’s earthly ministry came to an end.
During his years of service President Hunter emphasized the common humanity of all the children of God, and encouraged greater attention to the love of God and fellow humans:
“All men are invited to come unto [God] and all are alike unto him. Race makes no difference; color makes no difference; nationality makes no difference. The brotherhood of man is literal. We are all of one blood and the literal spirit offspring of our eternal Heavenly Father. Before we came to earth, we belonged to his eternal family. We associated and knew each other there. Our common paternity makes us not only literal sons and daughters of eternal parentage, but literal brothers and sisters as well. This is a fundamental teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Howard W. Hunter, “All Are Alike Unto God,” Address at Brigham Young University, 4 February 1979)
We have an exciting opportunity both to honor President Howard W. Hunter and to promote Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. This program will enable generations of students to learn about one of the world’s most dynamic religions and to help bring greater academic and public understanding of Mormonism.
The Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies was the first such position outside the state of Utah, and the first graduate-level program of its kind in the world. The program maintains the highest standards of academic rigor in respectfully examining Mormon history, theology, and culture.