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UNR to have “interfaith prayer-room” in new student center


(Photo): Rajan Zed (right) with UNR President Marc A. Johnson, following the meeting discussing the interfaith prayer-room.

UNIVERSAL SOCIETY OF HINDUISM NEWS RELEASE – The University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) has reportedly included an interfaith prayer-room in the design of its planned Student Achievement Center, expected to open in Fall 2015.

Religious statesman Rajan Zed, one of the leaders of the group advocating for the interfaith prayer-room since 2011, met UNR President Marc A. Johnson recently, and presented a memorandum in this regard.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, was told by Johnson that until the Student Achievement Center containing the interfaith prayer-room was ready; UNR would provide temporary accommodations for the interfaith prayer room on campus in the Raggio Building.

Rajan Zed commended UNR for accepting the longstanding need of students for an interfaith prayer-room, and thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. It is a step in the right direction, Zed added. Many universities in the United States and Canada already have a “prayer-meditation room-chapel” for quiet reflection and spiritual exercise.

Zed stressed that with the presence of a prayer room, UNR students will have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success after they graduate. The prayer room will be another feather in UNR’s cap in making it a world class educational institution, Zed pointed out.

Northern Nevada clergy belonging to various religious denominations  have welcomed the UNR’s initiative for an interfaith prayer-room. They include the following: Sparks Summit Christian Church Senior Pastor Stephen Bond, Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno Chancellor Matthew Cunningham, Northern Nevada Muslim Community President Sherif A. Elfass, Reno Buddhist Center Priest Jikai’ Phil Bryan, Temple Beth Or Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer, Bahá’í teacher Bradley S. Corbin, St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church Priest Stephen Karcher, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Area Public Affairs Director Nicholas F. Frey, and Reno First Congregational Church Pastor Rich Smith.

UNR, founded in 1874 and which has over 18,000 students, is known for helping to create the world’s most accurate atomic clock, earthquake expertise, highly ranked MBA program, several Pulitzer Prize winners and for “study of the behavior of matter at extremely high temperatures and densities”.  About half-a-dozen Hollywood films were shot here and it is home to one of the largest earthquake-simulation labs.

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