The University of Notre Dame has announced a $3 million gift from alumna Susan Scribner Mirza to endow a professorship in Islamic studies.
The gift will establish the Mirza Family Professorship of Islamic Thought and Muslim Societies, the Catholic university's first endowed chair in Islamic studies and the first endowed chair in its Keough School of Global Affairs. The school previously received a gift from Donald and Marilyn Keough to establish the school and endow the deanship, which is held by R. Scott Appleby. Mirza, a member of the advisory council for Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, made the gift in honor of her late husband, Muzzafar "Muzzi" Mirza.
After graduating from Notre Dame, Susan Mirza earned an MBA from New York University and embarked on a career in banking and private equity. In 2010, she endowed a student exchange program in memory of her husband as a part of Contending Modernities, a cross-cultural research and educational initiative of the Kroc Institute. In addition, Mirza and her siblings established the university's Howard A. Scribner Jr. Scholarship in memory of their father, a Notre Dame alumnus, and supported the John Darby Memorial Fellowship and the Sorin Society. Mirza is co-founder of the Greenwich Leadership Council of Save the Children and serves on the board of trustees of the King School and on the Cancer Advisory Council of Columbia University Medical Center.
"As one of the leading interpreters of religion, Notre Dame has now positioned itself to bring to Islam the level of respect, scrutiny, and engagement we typically afford to Christianity," said Appleby. "I cannot imagine a more appropriate or exciting way to signal the Keough School's commitment to address the pressing need to get religion right — in diplomacy, foreign relations, public policy and, most of all, in our universities and classrooms. I am deeply grateful to Sue Mirza for her decision to establish this chair and thereby to help Notre Dame realize its bold aspiration to place the understanding of religion in the service of peace and justice."