Photo by Nathan Tyree, Daily Bruin Assistant Photo Editor. Taken during a lecture at UCLA in 2012. Robert Thurman is the president of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. Time magazine named Thurman as one of the 25 most influential Americans, and he was ordained by the Dalai Lama as the first American Tibetan Buddhist monk. He is currently a professor of Buddhist studies at Columbia University. He is also the father of American actress Uma Thurman, who also practices Buddhism.