Graduating seniors at Touro’s Lander Colleges marched into Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall for the school’s 45th commencement. In all, 608 graduates were awarded baccalaureate degrees from Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush, Lander College for Women and Lander College for Men. Eighty received associate degrees from Machon L’Parnasa/The Institute for Professional Studies and The School for Lifelong Education.
Touro also awarded an honorary doctoral degree to Jonathan Halevy, co-director general of Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Valedictorians Moshe Baitelman, Sarit Hadi, Eric (Yitzy) Klipper and Rebecca (Rivka) Melka all looked beyond “adulting” to talk about becoming leaders and contributors to society.
Moshe Baitelman, valedictorian of Lander College of Arts and Sciences Men’s Division who will start medical school next year, thanked his biology professors who “took the spark of scientific curiosity in me and turned it into a roaring flame.” He was president of the science society and executive editor of the science journal.
Sarit Hadi, valedictorian of Lander College of Arts and Sciences Women’s Division in Flatbush, told her classmates, “our careers may identify what we do, but they do not identify who we are.” She is following in the footsteps of her mother and sister, who are both Touro alumnae, and plans to become a speech-language pathologist.
Eric (Yitzy) Klipper, valedictorian of Lander College for Men, quoted former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who said, “Leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” He will begin Rutgers School of Dental Medicine this fall. He is a native of Elizabeth, NJ.
Rebecca (Rivka) Melka, valedictorian of Lander College for Women, spoke about leadership and determination: “If we have a vision of who we want to be and what we want to accomplish, with determination and self-confidence, we can and will rise to the occasion.” She will enroll this fall in Columbia University Dental School.
Dr. Alan Kadish (pictured), president of Touro College and University System, told the students they had all made a series of choices as they began their academic journey. “One of these choices was to choose Touro’s Lander Colleges, where we work to build a university system that will help repair the world through education and Jewish values.
“My wish for each and every one of you is that you take the lessons that you learned here and truly apply them, that for the rest of your lives, you have the opportunity to bring a tikun to a society that truly needs healing.”