Reception to honor Prof. Thurston, donor of endowed chair

Publication Date
Prof. Donald Thurston

Prof. Donald Thurston, top right, leading the College's inaugural term in China in 1986

Members of the Union community are invited to a reception for Donald R. Thurston, professor emeritus of Asian Studies, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022 at 3:15 p.m. in Everest Lounge.

Professor Thurston is establishing the Donald R. Thurston and Robert Englebach Professorship in Asian Studies through a gift of $2.5 million, one of the largest gifts to the College from a faculty member..

A longstanding supporter of Union’s Asian Studies program, he taught at Union from 1966 to 1995 and led the College’s first terms to Japan and China.

Through his gift, Thurston envisions a faculty member who is engaged with the people of at least one Asian country, is fluent in their language and understands their culture from having lived with the people for a few years. The scholar would be based in a department ranging from music to history or anthropology, but with two-thirds of their courses each year in Asian Studies, which Union offers as a cross-disciplinary program.

Thurston said he hopes his gift to Union will help transform future students just as many alumni have been changed through Asian Studies. “Some of them say that their experiences in Japan and China were life altering.” he said.