Source: Hindu Press International
DARTMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS, February 20, 2007: In one of the unique events that took place in the history of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Swami Yogatmananda was installed as the Hindu Chaplain of the University, amongst the invocations to the beholder of the universe, chanting of peace mantra for the planet and echoes of conch blowing. The installation ceremony was graced by Dr. Anthony Garro, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. David MiIlstone, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Sr. Madelene Chaplain from Catholic Campus Ministries, Nate Manberson, Pastor from the First Baptist church, and Reverend Ann C. Fox, the Minister at Unitarian Church at Fairhaven. Dr. Susan Costa, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, appointed Swami Yogatmananda of Providence Vedanta Society as the Hindu Chaplain for UMass Dartmouth in late 2006. Speaking on the occasion, Reverend Ann C. Fox welcomed the Hindu Chaplain and appreciated the coming together of different religions at Campus for a humanitarian cause of serving the student community.
The initiative to appoint a Hindu Chaplain was taken following a suicide by an Indian student two years ago, so that Indian students can get some counseling and spiritual support. The need for counseling and support is further reinforced by the large number of Indian students at University of Massachusetts, whose numbers have steadily risen over the last 3 years, currently 175 strong, mostly belonging to the Hindu religion. Further, there are over 5,000 Indian Americans living in Providence and Southeastern Massachusetts, who join many UMass Dartmouth events. Swami Yogatmananda is the Minister at the Providence Vedanta Society, holds a Master's degree in mathematics, and has been ordained the title of a Swami under the Ramakrishna Mission order. He is also currently a University Chaplain at Brown University. Born in 1953 in Karnataka, India, Swami Yogatmananda joined Ramakrishna Order in 1976. He received his monastic vows in 1986. After being at Ramakrishna Math Center at Nagpur, India, for 20 years, he was posted as the Head of Ramakrishna Mission, Shillong, Meghalaya, India, before moving to the U.S.