Over 2,000 Touro College Students from Division of Graduate Studies Celebrate Annual Commencement at Lincoln Center

Date: June 05, 2012
Judge Judith Kaye (Photo credit: Michael Paras Photography)
Judge Judith Kaye (Photo credit: Michael Paras Photography)
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Judge Judith Kaye Delivers Keynote Address.

New York, N.Y. – More than 2,000 degree candidates from six of Touro’s graduate schools that are part of the Division of Graduate Studies celebrated at commencement ceremonies held Monday, June 4, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

The students were candidates for master’s degrees or advanced certificates from Touro’s graduate schools of business, Jewish studies, education, psychology, social work, and technology.

Judge Judith Kaye, former Chief Judge of the State of New York, delivered an inspirational keynote address to the jam-packed hall of nearly 3,000 people, which included the degree candidates as well as parents, well-wishers, and Touro administration, faculty and staff. Following her remarks Judge Kaye received an award for her “visionary leadership and dedication to justice for all.”

In addition to Judge Kaye, the program included an invocation by Dr. George Cohen, a professor of education and the first dean of Touro College; welcoming remarks from Dr. Anthony J. Polemeni, vice president of the Division of Graduate Studies; and a speech from Joshua Pollack, a student at the Graduate School of Business chosen to represent the Class of 2011-12.

Judge Kaye told the audience that she was proud to share the stage with Dr. Cohen, who is her cousin and whom she said she reveres. Judge Kaye said she, Dr. Cohen, and the graduates all share an essential core quality of focusing on the positive and persevering to achieve their dreams.

“Our family – George’s and mine – came as immigrants to this country from Eastern Europe. And, like many of you in the audience, they faced great hardship and struggle,” Judge Kaye said.

“That is a lesson that has been constantly affirmed by this great college,” she said. “In this amazingly diverse student body, you have learned to empower one another, take confidence from one another and be there for one another. These are the most important lessons of all. Whatever it is we do [or] have done,always there is opportunity for sunlight and optimism and creativity, and ....to make this world a better place.”

Currently Of Counsel to the prestigious New York-based law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Judge Kaye served in the New York State Judiciary for more than 25 years, appointed in 1983 by Governor Mario Cuomo as Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, and then beginning in 1993 as Chief Judge. She is the first woman to be appointed to either position. During her tenure, she gained a national reputation for both her groundbreaking decisions and her innovative reforms of the state’s court system.

In closing, Judge Kaye told the graduates they can achieve their life goals and help those in need if they remain committed and confident. “Believe in yourselves and others will believe in you, too.”