Dr. Scott Mitchell, a faculty member of the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) since 2008, has been appointed as the next president of IBS.
Dr. Mitchell will succeed Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto on July 1, 2024. Rev. Dr. Matsumoto previously announced his retirement this year.
Dr. Mitchell is the IBS Rev. Yoshitaka Tamai Professor of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Studies and Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs. He has been a member of the IBS and Graduate Theological Union (GTU) community in Berkeley, California, since he began his graduate work in 2000. His research interests include Buddhism in Western contexts, Buddhist modernity, Pure Land Buddhism, translocal religions, ritual studies, and media studies.
“Dr. Mitchell is well prepared and positioned to continue the strong leadership that IBS has had throughout its history and build upon the successes of his predecessors,” said Dr. Leroy Morishita, chair of the IBS Board of Trustees.
Dr. Morishita said Dr. Mitchell “has been an integral member of our IBS team for many years and has worked collaboratively and very effectively with President Matsumoto, the faculty and staff.”
“I am deeply grateful that the board has entrusted me with the position of IBS President,” Dr. Mitchell said. “Our work here at IBS is deeply important — our students go out into the world as teachers, chaplains, and ministers to be of support to sentient beings, to confront suffering. To support them, IBS grounds them deeply in the Dharma through our educational programs. And I’m humbled and honored to be continuing my work here at IBS, to provide this education for generations to come.”
Dr. Mitchell received his Ph.D. from GTU, his master’s degree from IBS and GTU, and his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University.
His most recent publication has been the critically acclaimed book “The Making of American Buddhism,” which was published this year by the Oxford University Press.
The book describes how the Nisei, the sons and daughters of Japanese immigrants, helped to create a place for Buddhism in America, through projects like the “Berkeley Bussei” magazine that was published from 1939 to 1960. The book also details the behind-the-scenes labor and figures like BCA icon Jane Imamura who helped spread modernist Buddhist ideas with their involvement in creating communities, publishing magazines and holding scholarly conventions and translation projects.
The Institute of Buddhist Studies is a graduate school in Berkeley, California, and the oldest Buddhist Seminary in the country. It began as the Buddhist Study Center in 1949 and has steadily grown, training ministers, chaplains, and scholars from diverse Buddhist traditions while being firmly rooted in the Jodo Shinshu community. IBS has been affiliated with the GTU since 1984, and became a full member school of GTU in 2021.