From the University of the West Web site:
ROSEMEAD, Calif. – Sept. 7, 2010 – UWest M.Div. in Buddhist Chaplaincy alum Somya Malasri (class of 2010) recently had his degree-work approved by the U.S. Army, allowing him to become the Army’s second active-duty Buddhist chaplain in its history.
“This is great news not just for Somya personally – he has been working toward this goal for many years now – but also for our program,” said Rev. Danny Fisher, Coordinator of UWest’s M.Div. “We’ve put together a very good, very professional program.”
Fisher’s program was launched in 2009 and so far Malasri (who transferred in from UWest’s M.A. in Buddhist Studies program) is its only graduate. Fisher worked closely with Malasri through his studies to his eventual placement as a chaplain serving the Army’s estimated 3,000 Buddhist soldiers.
“With Somya’s going active-duty, we’ve passed a huge test,” Fisher said. “The Department of Defense in particular has the most stringent educational requirements of all the organizations that certify chaplains – they are certainly the body that most narrowly defines what a chaplain's graduate education looks like, at least.”