U. Va. will launch new Contemplative Sciences Center this fall

The University of Virginia has received a $12 million gift to create a new Contemplative Sciences Center. David Germano, a professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, will help lead the center.

The center, expected to launch in October, will foster exploration of the practices, ideas, and modern applications of contemplation, building on existing strands of related research and activity around the university, Germano said.

The type of research expected to be conducted at the center includes looking into whether meditation, yoga or mindfulness training can help nurses and teachers be more effective and resilient in stressful situations, as well as whether contemplative practices can be part of a more effective treatment regimen for major depression, or for alcoholics in recovery, etc.

At its heart, the center will be a series of collaborations among the College, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Curry School of Education, fostering partnerships among humanities scholars, medical and nursing practitioners, clinical researchers, education researchers, and contemplative practitioners, among others. 

Sonia and Paul Jones of Greenwich, Conn. donated the money for the project. Their initial inspiration for funding the center came as a result of their devotion to their Ashtanga yoga teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and a desire to honor his life and legacy. Paul Tudor Jones is a 1976 graduate of the college. 

The Joneses say that, in the next five to 10 years, they would like to see U.Va. emerge as the world's center of thinking about how higher education, and society at large, can be transformed by contemplative and yogic practices, ideas and values.

A national search for the center’s coordinating director is ongoing. 

Click here for more information. To watch a one-minute YouTube video of Germano explaining what the new center hopes to achieve at U.Va, see below.

For more, see stories about mindfulness in education and mindfulness in science here on Mindful.org.