FFRF benefactor endows groundbreaking secular chair at UT-Austin

Brian BoltonThe Freedom From Religion Foundation is hailing the setting up of a new secular studies professorship at Texas’ premier public university, which is being endowed by an FFRF member.

The professorship at the University of Texas at Austin will focus on the growing segment of the U.S. population that adheres to a secular worldview, thanks to a generous gift from Brian Bolton, a stalwart FFRF supporter. The Brian F. Bolton Distinguished Professorship in Secular Studies will be held by a senior faculty member whose research and scholarship specializes in secular studies.

There has been a significant recent increase in the United States of people with a secular perspective, especially among the youth. More than one-fourth of the U.S. population currently has no religious affiliation whatsoever; among Millennials, the “unaffiliated” figure jumps to 38 percent. This has prompted increased research in this realm, and the Bolton Distinguished Professorship is a capstone.

Brian Bolton is a longtime Life Member, for whom the executive wing of FFRF’s office, Freethought Hall, is named, due to his support of FFRF’s headquarters expansion. Bolton has also singlehandedly underwritten for a decade now FFRF’s essay contest for grad/older students, with up to $10,000 prize money in total. And he is financing a bible accountability project to call attention to the continuing harm of the bible to society that includes subsidization of the cost of mailing FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel’s recent book, The Founding Myth, to every member of Congress last fall. FFRF will be publishing Bolton’s new work, tentatively titled Why the Bible Is Not a Good Book, this year. Bolton, who lives in Texas, will be speaking briefly at FFRF’s annual convention in San Antonio in November.

“Now, the best public university in an immensely important state has a researcher focusing on a woefully neglected segment of the population,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “And it’s all thanks to Brian Bolton, who has been munificently boosting the secular movement.”

Bolton is a retired academic psychologist with a background in mathematics, statistics and psychometrics. His contributions in psychological measurement, personality assessment and rehabilitation psychology have been recognized by universities and psychological societies. His 10 edited and authored books include Handbook of Measurement and Evaluation in Rehabilitation, Psychosocial Adjustment to Disability, Rehabilitation Counseling: Theory and Practice, and Special Education and Rehabilitation Testing: Current Practices and Test Reviews. He is a licensed psychologist, Humanist minister, Karate black belt, and Distinguished Toastmaster.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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