Shatz Appointed Stanton Chair

David Shatz Named Ronald P. Stanton University Professor in Philosophy, Ethics, and Religious Thought

Upon the recommendation of Dr. Selma Botman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Karen Bacon, The Mordecai D. and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences, President Richard M. Joel has named David Shatz the Ronald P. Stanton University Professor in Philosophy, Ethics, and Religious Thought, effective July 1. Shatz is currently university professor of philosophy, ethics and religious thought at Yeshiva University and co-chair of the philosophy department. In addition, he served for many years as chair of the executive committee of the Humanities Division. He will be succeeding Dr. Adam Zachary Newton, who had held the Ronald P. Stanton Chair of Literature and the Humanities.

Dr. David Shatz

The Stanton Chair is named after Ronald P. Stanton, who in 2006 gave $100 million to Yeshiva University to establish the Ronald P. Stanton Legacy, from which funds are used to enhance undergraduate and Jewish education. At the time, the Stanton gift was the largest single gift ever given in North America to support Jewish education and Jewish life.

President Joel was delighted to make this announcement. “Ronald Stanton brought me to Yeshiva, led Yeshiva at a critical time of transition, and had a vision of Yeshiva as an inspiring place that would resonate with students.  So it was unquestionably logical that as the chair became available, it be awarded to David Shatz, a gifted academic, teacher and scholar; a human being of sensitivity and warmth; and a critical component of philosophy at Yeshiva University as well as to the Jewish people and to the thought of philosophy everywhere.”

Botman concurs, calling Shatz “a world-class scholar, a dedicated teacher and a consummate YU citizen. He is profoundly worthy of this distinction as Stanton Chair. We take great pride in his accomplishments and in his deep commitment to his students, his discipline and this University.”

Shatz has built a lifelong connection to YU. He graduated from YU High School for Boys in 1965 and from Yeshiva College in 1969 (where he was valedictorian). He continued his education at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, graduating from both in 1973, and obtained his PhD in general philosophy with distinction from Columbia University in 1977.

As a scholar, Shatz has edited, co-edited or authored 15 books and over 80 articles and reviews on general and Jewish philosophy. For many years he has served as editor of The Torah u-Madda Journal and the series Me-Otzar HoRav, which publishes the works of the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, a pre-eminent figure at YU. He is currently part of a two-year project sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation and the University of Chicago that brings together philosophers, religious thinkers and empirical psychologists to examine questions about virtue, self-transcendence and meaning. A book concerning his life and thought will appear in The Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers, a series that “showcases outstanding Jewish thinkers who have made lasting contributions to constructive Jewish philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century.”

As a YU professor, he has been chosen as “outstanding professor” numerous times by the senior class at Stern College of Women, where he is based, and in 2009 he was awarded the Presidential Medallion in recognition of his achievements as a scholar and teacher. “From the moment David Shatz was recruited to the faculty of Yeshiva University and Stern College,” said Bacon, “his reputation as teacher/scholar has steadily climbed to where he is widely acknowledged as a master teacher and a scholar’s scholar. I join in celebrating this additional recognition which reflects so splendidly on our University.”

Shatz is both moved and excited at the appointment. “I’ve long been aware of Ronald Stanton’s immense generosity and service to YU. His philanthropy, as expressed through the Stanton Legacy and many other outstanding gifts, such as the annual support of two Ronald P. Stanton Presidential Fellows and the naming of Stanton Hall at Stern College, has made a genuine difference in the quality of education at YU. Holding this chair is deeply meaningful and opens up new opportunities for research and writing.”