Touro College Holds Dedication Ceremony
Director of Communications
Celebrates New Facility for Women’s College.
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Surrounded by handmade tapestries based on the original artwork by Marc Chagall in the windows of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, the Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School celebrated the opening of its new glass and concrete facility built on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Sunday, June 10th. A dedication ceremony attracted hundreds of students, faculty and other supporters of the school to recognize the contributions of the many individuals who worked to complete the College’s new home.
The Lander College for Women has been located in several different places since its founding in 1974. In November, the College moved to its beautiful, modern five-story structure at 227 W. 60th Street between Amsterdam and West End Avenues. The new facility is located in a cultural corridor blocks away from Lincoln Center, the Time Warner Center and several new parks being developed along the Hudson River, as well as in one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in New York.
Among those singled out for recognition at the ceremony were Touro’s founding President Bernard L. Lander; Dr. Mark Hasten, chairman of Touro College’s boards of trustees and overseers and his wife, Anna Ruth Hasten; and Akiva Kobre, senior vice president and administrative officer, who guided the design and construction of the complex. Custom-designed crystal mementos containing etchings of the new building were presented to Dr. Lander, the Hastens and Mr. Kobre.
“I am extremely proud of this beautiful edifice, which is an example of how we are trying to build Yiddishkeit wherever it exists,” said Dr. Lander. “Jewish life has to be saved, and I am extremely happy to rise to those opportunities that make it possible. I am confident we will continue successfully in this task.”
Dr. and Mrs. Hasten recently provided Touro with a generous $10 million leadership gift, for which the Lander College for Women was renamed in their honor. The couple was also honored along with Dr. Lander at a testimonial dinner in April celebrating Touro’s 36th anniversary.
The keynote speaker was Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union. Other speakers included Dr. Hasten; Dr. Lander; Dean Marian Stoltz-Loike; founding Dean Dr. David Luchins, chairman of the Department of Political Science at the women’s college; Rabbi Michael Hasten, Dr. Hasten’s son; Rabbi Tzvi Flaum; and Mr. Kobre. Presiding over the ceremony was Cynthia Darrison, an alumna of the Lander College for Women.
“The Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School fosters the intellectual, academic and personal growth of each of our students by providing academic excellence within a Torah environment,” Dean Stoltz-Loike told the audience. “Now, our students look at their enhanced environment and feel empowered. They are more confident that they can achieve. They appreciate the willingness of the College to invest in them.”
Over 250 students just completed their first full semester at the new facility, which consists of five floors of classrooms and labs with full audio/visual capabilities; a 4,000 square foot library; an exercise room and gymnasium that can be converted for use for events; and a cafeteria, art studio, student lounge, and large outdoor terrace.
Dr. Stoltz-Loike emphasized the building is not a product of a “faceless organization” but of the four individuals receiving recognition. “All they ever see is potential. You may see a building, but they think about their commitment to Jewish women’s education and Klal Yisrael. Each of the individuals we recognize today always sees the future – the homes, the lives, the opportunities – that each of our students will have because of their experience here.”
Dr. Hasten has been an essential partner in the growth, expansion and success of Touro during his lengthy tenure as chairman, and both Dr. and Mrs. Hasten have been a source of inspiration to their family, friends, colleagues, and the Touro College family. The Hastens are recognized as leading supporters of Jewish education all over the world, and in particular in Israel and the United States. Two of their children and four of their grandchildren attended or graduated from one of the undergraduate programs at Touro College.
Dr. Stoltz-Loike noted that while Dr. Lander created Touro College and Dr. and Mrs. Hasten provided “invaluable key support,” the “spiritual architect” of the project was Akiva Kobre. In his remarks, Mr. Kobre quoted from Psalms (Tehillim) and said " . . . unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor on it in vain . . .” which reflects his key role in facilitating and enabling the greater mission of the Lander College for Women to serve the Jewish community.
The Dean said that recent alumnae have been accepted to graduate programs at such outstanding schools as Columbia University, New York University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Southern California. This summer, students will be participating in prestigious internships in Congress, with national media, in business and industry and in medical research at Ivy League centers. She added she is working on creating new opportunities to enrich academic life through conferences and other programs with organizations involved in the arts, medical education, as well as with representatives of Germany, France, Israel and Austria.
In addition to students, faculty and staff of the women’s college and Touro College, also in attendance were New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan, as well as a representative from the office of Governor Eliot Spitzer.