1,900 Graduates Across Yeshiva University Awarded Degrees
This commencement season, Yeshiva University celebrated the graduation of more than 1,900 students in its high schools, undergraduate colleges, and graduate schools in the fields of law, medicine, social work, education, Jewish studies and psychology.
On May 7, 62 graduates received their master’s degrees in Jewish education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration in a ceremony held in Weissburg Commons on the Wilf Campus. Four graduates received their doctorates in education, and two were awarded specialist certificates.
Rabbi Dr. Leonard Matanky, president of the Rabbinical Council of America and dean of the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address. He spoke about the importance of educators demonstrating their care for their students, being responsive and responsible. Neta Jansenson, whose husband and six children came to see her receive her master’s, said, “This is the best thing I can show my children—you never stop learning.”
On May 11, the Wurzweiler School of Social Work awarded 49 Master’s of Social Work degrees and three doctorates to its Class of 2015 in a ceremony held in Zysman Hall’s Lamport Auditorium. At the Commencement Exercises, four student speakers summed up their perspectives on their student experiences and on social work.
“We listen to people’s pain,” said graduate Ariel Mozenson. “We worry about them, we try to help them. We give, and some part of us feels deeply fulfilled by it. Thank you, Wurzweiler, for helping me along this journey and teaching me a million theories about how to help people.”
Hundreds of students from Yeshiva University’s undergraduate schools were presented with their degrees in front of thousands of proud family and friends at YU’s 84th Commencement exercises, held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Sunday, May 17. President Joel awarded the Presidential Medallion to Pearl Berger, dean of YU Libraries, and conferred honorary doctorates upon Peter Frates and Martin Greenfield.
Dr. Ruth Wisse, Yiddish scholar, author and literary and social critic, delivered the keynote address. “I’ve spent most of my life in universities, so I’d like to take the opportunity to tell you how very fortunate you are to be part of this academic community,” said Wisse, who was an awarded an honorary degree from Yeshiva in 2004. “You have been educated in the traditions of a people with an enviable record of moral and intellectual achievement. Unlike many in North America, you have enough knowledge both of your own traditions and of the world around you to see yourselves within a comparative framework.”
At the same ceremony, 33 graduates received a Master of Arts degree and two received doctorates from the Bernard Revel Graduate School for Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University’s 84th Annual Commencement Exercises at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. At the school’s year-end reception on May 20, the Class of 2015 was addressed by graduating member Shira Shiowitz, chair of the Tanakh department and co-director of professional development at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School.
On May 18, the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology awarded 47 Master of Arts, eight Masters of Science, 11 doctorate of philosophy and 21 doctorate of psychology degrees to its Class of 2015 at a ceremony held in Zysman Hall’s Lamport Auditorium. For the first time, Associate Dean Michael S. Gill also presented the Early Career Promise Award in Mental Health Counseling, an honor that recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated potential and ability in the field of mental health counseling. The first recipient of the annual award was Kimberly Epperson, who will be working as an adoption and couples counselor. Epperson was chosen by a unanimous vote of the school’s counseling faculty.
“My Ferkauf education undoubtedly gave me excellent clinical skills, which I am confident using to build my counseling career,” said Epperson. “However Ferkauf and its remarkable professors gave me so much more. Throughout my education I was encouraged to analyze my culture, my biases, and my worldview, and I was guided in the process of becoming a truly giving member of society, one who strives to cherish all people in the same light, and bring unity through the counseling work I do. I am eternally grateful for this insight and growth.”
On May 21, Stern College for Women’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies celebrated its 13th commencement, awarding 10 Master of Arts degrees to its new graduates in a ceremony held in the Lea and Leon Eisenberg Beit Midrash on the Israel Henry Beren Campus. At the event, President Richard M. Joel addressed the graduates, saying, “I am warmed by the light and potential of what you, small in number, but unbelievable in strength, can do.”
On May 28, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine awarded 218 degrees—including 185 MDs, six MD-PhDs, and 27 PhDs—to its Class of 2015 at a ceremony held in the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, delivered the evening’s keynote address, “Gifts Given and Promises Made,” which discussed the state of health care in America and a doctor’s ethical commitment to create a healthier and more just society.
“Growing up in a small town in rural Louisiana, I never dreamed I’d have the chance to fly airplanes, reach nine Gs in a centrifuge, or go to medical school,” said former Air Force officer and new graduate Mary A. Gomez in a blog post reflecting on her journey to Einstein. “I just knew I was curious about the world. To those pursuing their goals—be tenacious.”
On June 2, the Sy Syms School of Business Graduate Programs—the Executive Master of Business Administration, Master of Quantitative Economics and Master of Science in Accounting cohorts—celebrated their commencement exercises in a ceremony at Weissburg Commons. Six students graduated from the EMBA program, 12 from the MS in Economics and 25 from the MS in Accounting program.
“When I enrolled in the Sy Syms EMBA program, I was hoping to fine-tune my leadership and management skills, as well as broaden my business knowledge,” said new graduate Melanie Winer. “What I ended up getting out of the program was that and so much more: I was quickly promoted to manager of my team, I interviewed and hired my first employee, and I oversaw some very high-profile projects for the Chief Revenue Officer of the Bloomberg Media Group. I’m very grateful for everything that I have already been able to accomplish because of my EMBA education and I am excited to see what the future holds for me and for my career, as the possibilities are now so much greater than they were before.”
On June 4, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law awarded 365 JDs and 50 masters degrees to its graduates in a ceremony held at the Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center. Keynote speaker Judge Denny Chin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, urged students to go forward and prosper, to not forget about those who came before and helped them, those who need their help now, and those who will need their help in the future. “Be a good person, and you’ll be a better lawyer for it,” he said.
At the ceremony, Alexander Reinert received an award for Best First-Year Professor, Richard Bierschbach was awarded Best Professor, and Associate Dean Lynn Wishart, Professor Toby Golick and Registrar Isabel Balson received special awards for 30 years of service. Dean Matthew Diller received the Monrad Paulsen Award.
On June 9 and June 11, Yeshiva University’s Samuel H. Wang High School for Girls and Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy will celebrate, respectively, 51 and 59 graduates in a ceremony held at the Lamport Auditorium in Zysman Hall.