On March 10, 2016, the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) honored our Rev. Dr. Alfred Bloom with the 2016 President’s Award. The President’s Award recognizes an individual’s support for the Institute since its founding in 1949. Previous recipients have been Prof. Taitetsu Unno (2014) and Prof. Lewis Lancaster (2015).
The IBS, which serves as a Jodo Shinshu seminary, is affiliated with of the Buddhist Churches of America and the Graduate Theological Union in California. The IBS has been providing graduate-level Buddhist, ministerial, chaplaincy, and other educational programs in Berkeley, California for more than fifty years. The current IBS President, Rev. Kodo Umezu is also the Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America. Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto, IBS Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Director of the Center for Contemporary Shin Buddhist Studies, presented this honor to Dr. Bloom at the Kailua Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, where Dr. Bloom still teaches through a “KO” discussion group several times a month.
In 1986, Dr. Bloom, a noted Shin Buddhist scholar, teacher and author, was appointed Dean and Head Professor of IBS after serving twenty-six years on the faculties of the University of Hawaii and the University of Oregon. During his tenure at University of Hawaii, Dr. Bloom was instrumental in establishing the Hawaii Buddhist Study Center (BSC) on University Avenue. In early 1972, Al informed then Bishop Kanmo Imamura about the sale of the two original properties where today’s BSC exists. Dr. Bloom retired in 1994. Rev. Bloom received Shin Buddhist Ordination in 1990 and Full Certification in 1994. Al has been a member of the Hawaii Betsuin since the 1970s.