Geoffrey Claussen honored as Sklut Emerging Scholar

The assistant professor of religious studies was formally introduced April 3 during the 2012 Convocation for Honors ceremony.

From left: Eric Sklut, Assistant Professor Geoffrey Claussen, Lori Sklut and Barbara Sklut, Eric’s mother.


Geoffrey Claussen, an assistant professor of religious studies, was formally introduced as the Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies on April 3, 2012, as part of Convocation for Honors in Alumni Gym.

Claussen’s position is supported by the generosity of Eric and Lori Sklut of Charlotte, N.C. The couple made a $250,000 gift through the Levine-Sklut Family Foundation to endow the Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies, which will significantly expand and enrich Elon’s Jewish Studies program.

The Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies is tasked with bringing outstanding research and expertise to the discipline. As the program grows, earnings from the endowment could support opportunities for visiting scholars, guest lecturers, course development and other initiatives that enrich the program.

The couple’s son, Mason, is an Elon student who has been active in the university’s Hillel organization.

“I am deeply honored by this appointment, and I am deeply grateful to you and your family,” Claussen said to the Skluts, seated in front of him as he was presented to the community by Alison Morrison-Shetlar, dean of the Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences.

Claussen teaches courses on the whole history of the Jewish tradition, from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary Judaism. His primary research interests are in Jewish ethics, with a focus on the legacy of the 19th century Musar movement. Before arriving at Elon, he served as a visiting instructor at Oberlin College and as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.

Claussen earned his doctorate and in Jewish Thought last year from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He had previously earned a master’s degree in Jewish philosophy and was ordained as a rabbi by the same institution. He is a 2001 graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota.

He is a member of the Society of Jewish Ethics, the Association for Jewish Studies, the American Academy of Religion and the Rabbinical Assembly.