Soni, a member of the Hindu faith, spent part of his academic career in
, his native country. India
Soni holds a bachelor’s degree in religion from
Tufts University, a master’s degree in theological studies from , a master’s degree in comparative religion from UC Santa Barbara and a juris doctor degree from UCLA. He is currently completing a Ph.D. degree in religious studies from the Harvard University and is a member of the State Bar of California. Universityof Cape Town
“I feel deeply honored and humbled to be the next dean of religious life at USC. The Office of Religious Life at USC has the extraordinary opportunity to facilitate interfaith dialogue and sponsor events that support religious and spiritual life on campus while also utilizing the many resources in
, the world’s most religiously diverse city,” Soni said. Los Angeles
Soni’s interest in world religions is long-standing: As an undergraduate, he spent a semester living as a Buddhist monk in a Burmese monastery in
Bodh Gaya, India, through the Buddhist Studies Program at . As a graduate student, he spent months doing field research in South Asia through UC Santa Barbara’s Center for Sikh and Punjab Studies. A native of Antioch University India, he was raised in Southern California.
USC enrolls the largest community of international students at an American university, with more than 7,000 scholars from more than 100 nations studying at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.
Varun Soni, scholar and the first Hindu spiritual leader on a
U.S. campus, has been named dean of religious life at , marking the first appointment of a member of the Hindu faith as primary spiritual leader of an American university. University of Southern California