March 6, 2000
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Sir John Templeton graduated from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford university. He is universally regarded as a pioneer in the development of high-yield globally diversified mutual funds, founding the highly successful Templeton Growth Fund and Templeton World Fund.
Born in rural Winchester, Tennessee, John Templeton once dreamed of a career in full time religious service. His first major philanthropic endeavor was in 1972 through the establishment of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. Today the Templeton Prize is the world's largest monetary award at roughly $1 million. The first Prize was given to the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Since then the Templeton Prize has been awarded each year recognizing a living individual who has shown extraordinary originality in advancing humanity's understanding of God/or spirituality. Other past recipients include the Reverend Billy Graham, author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and theoretical physicist, author Paul Davies.
In 1987, John Templeton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his philanthropic efforts, including his endowment of Templeton College, Oxford. After selling the Templeton Group of mutual funds in 1992, Sir John focused his talents on pioneering new ways to create value and stimulate progress through philanthropy. Since then, he has authored and edited over a dozen books. One of his most recent, World Wide Laws of Life, is a collection of 200 eternal spiritual principles drawn from the works of essayists and philosophers ranging from Socrates to Benjamin Franklin.
Now at 87, Sir John continues vigorously as a full-time philanthropist. Through the establishment of the John Templeton Foundation in 1987, Sir John utilizes his personal wealth to support over a hundred programs worldwide, which serve three chief purposes. The first is to stimulate serious, rigorous, progress-generating links between the sciences and all religions. Especially, the Foundation encourages development and scientific discovery in the spirit of a "humble approach," which recognizes the wisdom of the maxim "how little we know, how eager to learn." The second purpose is to promote appreciation for character-building as integral to a free democratic society. The third purpose is to encourage appreciation for the benefits of freedom, and free, fair and open competition as a basic principle of prudence and success in culture, religion, politics and economic life.