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.
For Rabbi Joseph Schreiber of Los Angeles, California, who delivered the invocation, and his wife, Robin, this year’s commencement carried special significance: their triplets and two of the triplets’ spouses were among the graduating class. “There is so much that makes YU such an important part of our lives,” said Rabbi Schreiber. “Suffice it to say that our family will always have a tremendous amount of hakarat hatov and gratitude to YU and all of the YU family.”
President Richard M. Joel urged graduates to use their YU education and experiences to “matter and continue to matter” in the world: “Torah charts your direction to shape hearts and minds. There is a sacred mission to go forth with. Bring that to who you are, wherever you go. Build whole communities of integrity based on Torah Umadda. The Jewish story is a story of being worthy, of being partners with God, advancing creation, and sharing that notion with those around you. You can do that, and you must do that.”
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.”
President Joel awarded the Presidential Medallion to Pearl Berger, dean of YU Libraries, and conferred honorary doctorates upon Peter Frates and Martin Greenfield.
Berger, who will retire at the end of the academic year, has served as the dean of libraries at Yeshiva University since 1985. She is the former president of the Association of Jewish Libraries and has authored numerous articles related to library services and Judaic library collections.