Our History

In 1790, George Washington visited the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, and spoke eloquently of democracy, ethics, equal opportunity and the American ideal. Little did he know how far his words would carry.

Washington's vision inspired Isaac and Judah Touro, leaders in colonial America, to pioneer their family's efforts to enrich the lives of all people, regardless of creed or color, through educational opportunities, spiritual outreach, and vocational enterprise. The Touro family began providing major endowments for universities, the first free library in North America, independent health facilities across the United States, and communities in Israel.

In 1970, in the tradition established by the early Jewish-American leaders for whom it is named, Dr. Bernard Lander founded Touro College to strengthen the Judaic tradition and serve the broader community with compassion and dignity. Chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York, the College welcomed its first 35 students in the Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1971.

From humble beginnings, Dr. Lander built a flourishing institution that reaches across the country and the world. Now enrolling over 19,000 students a year in a broad range of disciplines, including business, law, social work, Jewish Studies and technology. Each decade has ushered in a wave of new academic and professional programs designed to give students an advantage in an increasingly competitive world:

The 1980s

The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and the School for Lifelong Education opened, as well as a college for recent immigrants. The latter would eventually evolve into the New York School of Career and Applied Sciences (NYSCAS).

The 1990s

Touro University California and the School of Health Sciences were established, introducing colleges of osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and health sciences. Touro expanded its undergraduate offerings with new campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The New Millennium

Since 2000, the Touro network has grown to include international sites in Paris and Berlin, as well as coastal campuses in Los Angeles and Miami. In 2004-5, the new Touro University Nevada launched programs in osteopathic medicine, nursing, occupational and physical therapy, and education. Between 2007-2009 the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Pharmacy opened in Harlem, Touro University Worldwide was formed to offer professional degree programs online and in 2011 New York Medical College, in Valhalla, NY, became part of the Touro family.

In 2010, when Dr. Alan Kadish took over as president of Touro following Dr. Lander’s esteemed tenure, he renewed our commitment to ensure that even as we grow, each campus, every program, and all of our students are held to the standard set for us over 220 years ago.