Robert Nusbaum Center

Frequently the most contentious and polarizing moments in American civic life are related to issues in religion, politics, race, gender, and sexuality. In responding to those issues, the Robert Nusbaum Center (NC) is grounded in Virginia Wesleyan’s commitment to a rigorous liberal arts education and its United Methodist heritage, both of which have long recognized religious freedom as a basic human right, and diversity as the bedrock of a strong foundation.

The Robert Nusbaum Center aims to create a civil society through education, respectful dialogue, and mutual understanding. The NC equips and empowers students and community members to be leaders and citizens who value diversity and who understand how the reconciliation of our religious, racial, and ideological differences create meaningful opportunities for civil solutions to difficult and urgent problems.

Mr. Robert C. “Bob” Nusbaum was the visionary and driving force behind the founding of the Center in 1996. When Mr. Nusbaum spoke of the Virginia Statute and the First Amendment, he highlighted how their legacy has resulted in diversity, dialogue, faith, and freedom in our nation. At the same time, he recognized their fragility. If our nation doesn't see diversity and dialogue as important to its growth, it becomes something different than what the founders intended. It was his hope that students and citizens more deeply value those rights. I am grateful to be part of that mission for our commonwealth and country.

Dr. Craig Wansink, Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr., Director of the Robert Nusbaum Center

Celebrating Our Heritage

Established in 1996, the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom (CSRF) was renamed in the spring of 2020 to the Robert Nusbaum Center. The renaming reflects the Center’s expanded mission to more fully embrace the legacy of Robert “Bob” Nusbaum, a legendary humanitarian and champion of civil rights. The Robert Nusbaum Center remains grounded in the values of diversity, dialogue, and religious freedom as programming more broadly responds to the needs of the day by supporting education and civil dialogue on issues related to race, religion, gender and gender identity, sexuality, and ethnicity.

The Robert Nusbaum Center is pleased to share a series of video vignettes that both celebrate its heritage and highlight aspirations for the future.

America's First Freedom: CSRF Beginnings

Legacy of a Humanitarian: Bob Nusbaum

Standing Together: Strength of Diversity

Fighting Outrage: Power of Civil Dialogue

Protecting Rights: Value of Religious Freedom

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