Loeb Institute Director Named

Professor Samuel Goldman will lead the institute’s work on religious understanding.

Samuel Goldman
New Loeb Institute Director Samuel Goldman.
April 21, 2016

Samuel Goldman, an assistant professor of political science and scholar of the theological sources of political ideas, has been named the inaugural director of the Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom at GW.

Dr. Goldman will work with Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ben Vinson III to advance the institute’s work in fostering dialogue on religious understanding, the separation of church and state and serving as a center for academic collaboration in religion, peace studies, history, political science and other programs for scholars, students, educators and the public.

“I am honored to be appointed director of the Loeb Institute,” Dr. Goldman said. “As controversies about religious freedom proliferate in the United States and around the world, it is imperative to remember what George Washington called ‘inherent natural rights’ to liberty of conscience and equality under the law.

“GW’s unique location provides an extraordinary opportunity to apply insights from many scholarly disciplines to controversial issues, while drawing on the firsthand experience of politicians, civil servants, advocates and other practitioners,” he said.

The Loeb Institute was established at GW through a $2.5 million gift from the John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation and the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom.

Since 2009, GW’s New York City-based Institute for Religious Freedom, which former Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. founded, has offered educational programs and partnered with national civic education organizations to reach thousands of teachers and students in the United States and abroad.

Those educational programs will be transferred to GW, while the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom will continue to operate the Loeb Visitors Center at the Touro Synagogue National Historic Site in Newport, R.I.

At GW, the Loeb Institute will focus on creating greater awareness of the nation’s historic roots of religious freedom, the separation of church and state and the continuing relevance of the American tradition of religious diversity.

“We envision that the Loeb Institute will be transformational for our students and faculty as they address the pressing issues of religious diversity and freedom in contemporary society,” Dr. Vinson said.