Scholarship launched to honour Andrew Rippin's legacy


When Shamma Boyarin came to the University of Victoria, he landed his first teaching job—an introductory course on Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The man who hired him, then-dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Andrew Rippin, (pictured above) would prove to have a profound influence on Boyarin’s career.

“He is the reason I am in Religious Studies today,” Boyarin says.

Boyarin would go to Rippin, who served as his mentor, with teaching-related questions. On one occasion, Boyarin asked for advice when a student admitted to sleeping through a mid-term because they worked late the previous night.

Rippin said no policy covered such an occurrence, but provided the following advice: "I always find that kindness works best. You can allow him to take the exam or do some other assignment," Boyarin recalls.

“‘Kindness works best’ has stuck with me ever since.”

Rippin died of cancer two years ago on Nov. 29, 2016. A professor of history and noted researcher on Islamic history and Qu’ranic studies, Rippin served as faculty dean for a decade until 2010.

Faculty members have been fundraising for a scholarship in Rippin’s memory that will support undergraduate students in fields related to the study of religion. They have raised just over $24,000 so far.

Boyarin says they are asking for help to raise the final $1000 to create an endowment, which means the scholarship will be available in perpetuity to students. If the fund reaches $25,000, it will receive matching funds through the faculty. 

“Any amount we raise to $50,000 will be automatically doubled,” Boyarin says. Donations can be made through UVic Giving.