President Joel Addresses Students, Faculty, and Staff; Discusses Graduate Leadership Fellowships

Rachel Levinson asks about funding for WYUR.

Feb 9, 2004 — Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel used his second series of Town Hall meetings to advance his ideas for Graduate Leadership Fellowships and enhanced Israel study, as well as a thorough review of capital projects and academic needs.

Before students, faculty, and staff who assembled for the Feb. 4 and 5 meetings on YU’s Beren and Wilf campuses, the president took a moment to remember Yeshiva College alum Mikey Butler, who recently passed away after a long battle with cystic fibrosis. The president lauded the courage and indomitable spirit of Mr. Butler, whom he said “lived an incredible long-short life, day by glorious day.”

President Joel said the high point of Mr. Butler’s life was “being part of the YU community,” and that joy was reciprocated by his fellow students who filled two buses and braved blizzard conditions to attend his funeral in Pittsburgh. Students also arranged a Wilf Campus memorial.

“Our sense of building community is a defining feature of who we are,” President Joel said.

In announcing a new Graduate Leadership Fellowship program that is set to begin in the fall, President Joel said seven to eight alumni from YC, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business will work in various university divisions for one year after graduation and receive a stipend of $18,000 plus benefits and housing.

As part of the graduate fellowship, Dr. Sheldon Gelman, dean of Wurzweiler School of Social Work, will teach a six-credit seminar on institutional leadership.

“You will be in a rigorous and challenging supportive environment in your first year out of school,” President Joel said.

In reviewing his recent trip to Israel, the president spoke of consultations with staff and students of YU’s S. Daniel Abraham program and leaders of various yeshivot and expressed his desire to expand the yearlong, pre-freshman program beyond Talmudic study.

While also in Israel, the president said he noted, with pride, the 150 candidates interviewed for Yeshiva University Distinguished Scholarships. President Joel said the number of applicants doubled from last year, and offers YU an important opportunity to attract top students.

Other issues discussed were:
• Financial support for WYUR
• Developing a center for Israel studies at YU
• Permission for women to use athletic/exercise facilities on the Wilf Campus
• Construction and renovation of YC biology labs
• Employee holidays
• Student government/activities funding
• Brown bag lunches with the president
• Screening of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion,” to be released later this month

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