Richard Lyman Bushman: To start at Claremont

A prominent Mormon historian and author has been hired to fill a new professorship in Mormon studies at Southern California's Claremont Graduate University. It is the second such academic program at a secular school nationwide, behind only Utah State University.

Richard Lyman Bushman, professor emeritus of early American history at Columbia University, is a devout Mormon who wrote a sprawling 2005 biography of the faith's prophet, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

His post at Claremont begins next fall and will last at least three years. The university has raised about $1 million, mainly in donations from Mormons, to establish the visiting professorship. The goal is $2.5 million for a permanently endowed chair and another $2.5 million for scholarships, conferences and library books.

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