Published : Thursday, January 22, 2015 | 11:58 AM
Located in the city of Rosemead is a global university with strong Buddhist roots. The University of the West, a private non-profit WASC accredited university, was founded by Grand Master Hsing Yun, the founding master of Fo Guang Shan, one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the world. It has a strong business program and fosters an international community of students representing over 30 countries. Dr. Stephen Morgan told us more about this unique Southern California university.
Pasadena Now: Can you give us a broad overview of the University of the West?
Dr. Morgan: University of the West was founded in 1991 by the Grandmaster of Fo Guang Shan. It’s one of the five universities he founded around the world: two in Taiwan, one in Australia, one in the Philippines, and the University of the West here in Rosemead, CA. We now have 400 students enrolled. We have graduate and undergraduate programs—about 40 percent of our students are undergraduates and about 60 percent are graduates. Our largest program is our business program. We are unique in that we have a Buddhist chaplaincy program that certifies students to become chaplains in the military and other organizations that utilize chaplains in their work.
Pasadena Now: What makes University of the West stand out, and what unique characteristics can you offer the students?
Dr. Morgan: One is our Buddhist tradition. We’re based on Buddhist values, although we’re an ‘all faith’ school— you will find students at University of the West to represent all the major faces of the world today. But Buddhist values do guide what we do and their values are what all of us could embrace.
Another unique characteristic is the diversity of our student body. Half of our students are international students, many of them from Asian countries. We truly do bring the East and the West together in a single community, and [students] have an opportunity to study other cultures. This makes us unique and distinct as a university.
Pasadena Now: For the non-Buddhist students, what are the hallmarks of the Buddhist tradition that they should subscribe to?
Dr. Morgan: One is character and I don’t think many people could argue with the fact that character is very important. We look at integrity as an important characteristic and we talk about compassion and community and embrace them as our university values. Pasadena Now: The business program here is strong. What are the aspects of that program that makes it strong and attractive? Dr. Morgan: The majority of the students in the MBA program and many at the undergraduate level are interested in international business which fits perfectly with our diverse communityIn our business program, along with our other programs, UWest students receive personalized attention. Classroom sizes are small and students interact directly with their professors. This makes for a great personal connection and allows us to know our students and assist in their professional development.
Pasadena Now: Could you expound on the financial aid that you offer here?
Dr. Morgan: We have affordable tuition rates.. We’ve kept our tuition low because of the contributions of the founding Buddhist organization Fo Guang Shan. But we also provide scholarships and financial aid to individual students who have a financial need.
The Lotus Scholarship offers $5,000 and $10,000 to students who meet the GPA requirement and maintain a full-time status. Students interested in financial aid are encouraged to apply for federal, state, and institutional funding. At UWest we do not want money be a deterrent for students in reaching their goals.
Pasadena Now: What else do you want to say about University of the West?
Dr. Morgan: I believe Asian countries are becoming more influential in the world, and bringing Asian students to the United States and Americans studying alongside Asian students is a unique opportunity. To study international business, religious studies, English literature, or psychology in that kind of a setting, I think, gives people an opportunity to better understand multiculturalism and the kind of pluralistic society that we live in, particularly in Southern California. We invite the community to take a tour of University of the West and learn more about our programs and services.
University of the West is located at 1409 Walnut Grove, Rosemead, CA 91770. If you would like more information or to schedule a tour please call (626) 571-8811 or visit www.uwest.edu.