Yeshiva University’s 2014 Commencement

Dr. John Ruskay to Keynote May 22 Commencement; Joshua Gortler, Dorothy Schachne and Dr. Morton Lowengrub to be Honored

Dr. John S. Ruskay, executive vice president and CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York, will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary doctorate at Yeshiva University’s 83rd Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ. YU President Richard M. Joel will also confer honorary doctorates upon Joshua Gortler, president of The Kline Galland Center Foundation and alumnus of YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and YU Benefactor Dorothy Schachne. Dr. Morton Lowengrub, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, will receive the Presidential Medallion.

John Ruskay
UJA CEO Dr. John Ruskay will keynote YU’s commencement

Ruskay has served as the executive vice president and CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York since 1999. He has served as the educational director of the 92ndStreet Y; vice chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; senior consultant to the Wexner Foundation and the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies; and chaired the Publication Committee of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service and the Professional Advisory Committee of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. Ruskay has written extensively and speaks nationally on how the American Jewish community can most effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of living in an open society, the critical role of Jewish philanthropy, and the central role of community.

Gortler is also the former CEO of Kline Galland, a Seattle-based healthcare provider. Born in Poland, he and his family fled Nazi persecution, residing in Siberia and then Uzbekistan, until the end of World War II. In 1951, the family settled in Arizona and, with the guidance of a YU-trained rabbi, decided to send their son to pursue his studies at Yeshiva University High School for Boys, tuition-free. He continued his education at Yeshiva College and then Wurzweiler School of Social Work where he met his wife, Sarah Barash, a 1961 alumna of Stern College for Women. Gortler, along with his wife, established the Joshua H. Gortler and Sarah B. Gortler Scholarship in Geriatric Social Work at Wurzweiler, to recognize the institution for having such a profound influence on his life and to express gratitude for the scholarship assistance that was afforded to him as a student.

A YU benefactor, Dorothy Schachne holds a deep commitment to communal service, Jewish causes, and to organizations and institutions dedicated to improving people’s lives. She and her late husband, David, have contributed more than $3 million to Yeshiva University. The Schachnes support and service has focused on the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, where they have endowed the David I. and Dorothy Schachne and created several scholarship funds. Other beneficiaries of her generous and impactful philanthropy have included CancerCare, where she has served for many years as a member of the Board of Trustees; Gurwin Jewish Geriatric Center; and Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center.

Lowengrub has served as leader of the Yeshiva University academic team since 1999. A professor of mathematics, he was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in 2007. He has previously served at Indiana University, where he was chairman of the mathematics department, dean for research and graduate development, director of the Institute of Advanced Study, and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He has written or co-authored several books and monographs and a number of scholarly articles in the field of applied mathematics. He has also held several prestigious fellowships and won a series of awards for excellence in teaching and research.

“John Ruskay personifies all of our award recipients as an individual of stature, commitment, warmth, goodness, Jewish ideas and Jewish ideals,” said President Joel. “In this way, all four recipients through their personal example serve as the final undergraduate lesson for our graduates.”

In all, some 600 students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business, will be awarded degrees from Yeshiva University during its commencement season.

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